Monday, August 30, 2010

When I Was YOUR Age...

When I became parent, I never saw myself becoming one of those parents who talks about the hardships from my own childhood. You know the stories-

"When I was a kid we had to walk two miles to school. In the SNOW. With NO winter coat! You kids should consider yourselves LUCKY to have transportation!"

Well, first of all we hardly lived anyplace that got that much snow, and secondly we always had buses. So I never considered what I would possibly tell my own kids that would be hard for them to imagine. Maybe lack of cell phones? I suppose, but they're not old enough to care about those yet. Then last weekend when we went away I realized what it was that is soooo much better now. The thing that they take for granted that we parents had to suffer through.

The way they watch TV.

My girls never have to wait for a show to be on. They can watch whatever show whenever they want, for the most part. The only thing keeping them from doing so is me. They have no idea how good they have it!! And in turn how bad/good it is for me.

Last weekend when we were at the hotel, we decided to take it a bit easy. Even though we wanted to get to the beach, we weren't going to wake up early and rush to get there. The girls, however, woke up early and I decided to put something on for them to watch so I could go back to bed. Immediately, Lana yelled,

"I wanna watch Mickey!"

"There's no Mickey here, Lana," I told her.

"WHY?" she asked.

"Because you can only watch whatever shows are on TV right now. Nothing is recorded here."

They all looked at me like I had five heads. What on earth could I be talking about? They could always watch whatever they wanted whenever, as long as I agreed. As far as they could tell, I was agreeing. What was the problem here?

I proceeded to find the kid friendly channels and give them three options. PBS, HBO Family, or Disney Channel. They agreed on one of the shows on at that time, and I went to lay back down. It was only 6:45 for cryin' out loud! After that show was over, they called for me to come put something else on for them. I explained to them that something else would come on all by itself and Sonya said,

"But this is going to stop in a minute."

For those of you with TiVOs or DVRs or whatever, which at this point in time I assume everyone has something, at the end of your show it will stop and ask if you want to delete or keep it. Sonya kept waiting for this question at the end of EVERY SHOW SHE WATCHED. Finally I tried to clarify to them that this is the way things used to be when I was a kid. We didn't get to just pick what we wanted to watch whenever, AND we didn't even have entire channels dedicated to just entertaining us. Well, maybe MTV, but that didn't really pique my interest until I was older then they are now.

When we were kids, if you wanted to watch Tom and Jerry, or Scooby Doo, you sure as hell better have your homework done and your butt in front of the TV by 3:30. If you missed it, too bad. You either waited for the next day, or for the day of all days. SATURDAY . That day by which the cartoons came on one after another for FIVE ... STRAIGHT ... HOURS!! Unfortunately, a show would come on that you hated and you'd have to find something else to do for a bit. Eventually, though, Smurfs would show up, or Looney Tunes and you'd be all set for another thirty minutes. Then the beloved cartoon fest would end and all of a sudden tennis, or even worse golf, would show up on your screen and you knew the good times were over until next week. Now you actually had to find something to DO! Some way to play and use your imagination. THAT was a chore after all that mindless cartoon watching.

On the one hand this was good, because my parents didn't really have to limit our TV watching too much. Kids shows weren't on 24/7 like they are now, either by channel or by DVR. On the other hand, if your kids were really starting to get on your last nerve you could never call out-"Who wants to watch something?!", in a last desperate attempt to get them to settle down for fifteen minutes so you can shower, or poop in peace.

So, there I was in a hotel room in Newport Beach, telling my kids how good they have it now, because they can watch whatever show they want, whenever. Not when I was little though, nope. I had to WAIT for shows to come on! And when they did, I had to walk a mile through the snow, in flip-flops, just to get to a TV with good reception. Okay, maybe I went a little overboard with that one.

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