The Infirmary

Yup. That’s what my house is right now. The kids all have croup. School is on hold until tomorrow or Friday, or if the hacking and fevers don’t subside before tomorrow, until next week.

And so the first big test to how we handle life without an endless stream of entertainment via cable T.V. begins. We are managing this by watching videos and reading aloud instead! Normally when the whole lot of them is sick I usually just get them comfy in front of the t.v. and spend the day there. It’s what I grew up doing when I was sick. Sort of a nice treat and a break from reality for Mom! But yesterday we alternated between videos/movies and spending a good while reading aloud. Normally I am not the best Mom for reading aloud. It makes me very tired and my voice “goes” about 10 minutes into it.

But I have found that reading aloud is the one thing that will get my fairly hyperactive 5 year old to slow down and actually show that he really has an attention span. As I mentioned last week, we started with Gulliver’s Travels. (We are reading abridged versions of these classics, lest anyone think that my 5 year old would sit through chapter upon chapter of pictureless pages crammed full of Old English!) This week we started on the abridged version of Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I admit, I’ve never read the original version so I had no idea how scary the book was! But the kids are really enjoying it. My 5 year old hangs on every word and doesn’t want me to quit.

Knowing that I don’t have many other things that would keep him quiet and focused for such a time period, I am just going with it and pushing my read-aloud abilities to the max. Once I put the book down he goes back to his crazy loud normal setting so I figure it’s worth the effort! And of course, not only does it keep him quiet and focused but it is great for his language development, listening skills, etc… also.

Anyways, we are trying to just slow to a crawl here and get over this yucky bug. Sleeping in and going to bed early have been essential since we spend at least part of each night up with someone who is coughing or crying from a sore throat. Last night I spent a long while next to an opened window with my bundled up toddler since the cold air helps to reduce the swelling of the vocal chords, thus relieving some of those awful donkey sounds. Poor baby spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening just crying from the pain in his throat. It’s heartbreaking hearing the little guy say over and over, “Owie Mommy!” with that pathetic look on his face and the big tears rolling down his cheeks!

As for our giving up t.v. I hope that I did not send the message that I think that those who watch t.v. and manage to do so in moderation are in any way worse than those who don’t, that was not the message I intended to send at all. Some of us have a very hard time with moderation and so we need the temptation removed completely. My husband and I just realized that we had created a pattern for ourselves that we didn’t know how to get out of without cutting off the supply completely. We were needing to use those few precious child free hours in the evening relating with one another rather than zoning out in our respective worlds (I on the internet and he in T.V. Land.) and sadly we knew that just trying to make ourselves turn it off and do something else wasn’t working… our resolve was too weak. So this giving up of T.V. (and since there is no T.V. on I am on the internet less and we are already starting to spend more time together) has more to do with our own personal weaknesses as opposed to the inherent evil of T.V.

What will I do without “What Not to Wear?” or “How It’s Made” or “Rick Steve’s Europe”!?!? There is a lot of good stuff on T.V. And yes, there are even parts of T.V. that can actually enlarge your brain, rather than shrink it! But fortunately for us, most of it can either be rented and taken in moderation, found on the internet to some extent or when all else fails, recorded by a willing friend! So please understand, I am not decrying T.V. as the destroyer of mankind or a tool of the devil (though if I’m being honest, just about anything can be used as such!) It was just for us becoming an unhealthy alternative to relating on a personal level. And so saying goodbye to the parts of T.V. that we really do enjoy is a small price to pay for what we expect to reap in return. I’m happy to know that not all of us are as hopelessly addicted as we felt ourselves becoming. Our decision to rid ourselves of this temptation should not be seen as any kind of judgement on those who are able to manage their intake in a healthy way. As pointed out in my comments section, just about anything can become an idol or a time sucker — and I know that the internet with all of its endless depths of information and conversation can often be that for me which is why, along with saying goodbye to cable, I will be spending a lot less time on the computer. I have found that when I put my mind to it, I really can limit my intake (and/or output) online to a healthy amount and have been able to achieve balance in that way, so to join in the family effort at achieving a healthy balance I am going to do my part.

I just wanted to clarify that. I will certainly keep you all posted on the positives and negatives of being without T.V. (We would not actually be completely T.V. free if network T.V. actually came through as more than a snowstorm… as it is though, there is not much good on the one channel we would get so it’s not really worth all the effort.) We will still have movies, videos and (via the inspiration of a friend during a recent visit to their home) have made plans to get a Wii for the family for Christmas so we are not swearing off the beloved box entirely! Okay… I think I’m done with my disclaimer now. I hope I have made it clear through all of this that this decision was a very personal one, which I chose to share with you all, and not a cheesy Christian fundamentalist show of defiance against the T.V. industry or something. Nothing could be further from the truth. For heaven’s sake, I just recently Simpsonized my whole family! If that doesn’t say where I stand with T.V. in the general sense, I don’t know what does.

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16 thoughts on “The Infirmary”

  1. One word. Netflix. We have never had cable. Like you said, moderation can be difficult. Although we actually can pick up several network stations where we live now, we find that there really isn’t all that much worth watching on them–or because we don’t schedule our lives around tv, we miss so many episodes, the ones we do see don’t make much sense. We discovered we were spending quite a bit of money driving to the video store in the next town and on rentals, so when we found out about netflix (blockbuster has a similar program now), we fell in love. We love that you can get all sorts of old movies and documentaries that they would never have at the video store anyway. And we don’t have to waste gas driving around to find them.Kudos to you for seeing a weakness in your family’s life and taking action to change things.

  2. How’d all those germs make it from Canad to Florida? :-)Right before I visited here, I had just finished posting about the Infirmary at our house.

  3. Care to trade links? My site is http://jaysmoney.blogspot.com If would like to trade, post my link, then comment or email me and I will post yours on my site as a permanent link. Send what you want to your link to be called and your link please.I would appreciate the linkage, Thanks!

  4. So sorry that you have a house full of sickies there. I know how it feels though…everyone here has been sick and I am just getting over the flu. Lucky me. You can even rent movies to be played right on your computer at a click of a button..so you will find a way to see everything you want to in time. I hope the house gets well very soon. Hugs!

  5. croup. oh dear. heard that term- my mom used it. never sure what it was but a bad cough and cold???we hardly turn out TV on except for:DANCING WITH THE STARS we are just enamored with it.also Dirty jobs is a great show.I could entirely give up the restnow the internet is another matter. I’m afraid it’s an addiction.

  6. Too bad one must “back up” their decisions with disclaimers – I say bravo to you for making a decision about YOURSELVES. How nice if we could look at anothers decision and consider if they are making an applicable point for our own lives and then say yes or no and move forward – completely skipping the “get offended that everyone doesn’t think just like me” and appreciate the variety which makes this life interesting. Personally I am devoted to “So You Think You Can Dance” and I watch taped “WNTW” and that about does my TV – except for the other stuff I run across occasionally. haI miss reading aloud to my kids like anything. I remember one snowy morning we started reading “Ereth’s Birthday” (Avi) and we read all day – just stopping long enough to get fudgesicles and calling that lunch and looking up all surprised when Dad came in the door after work. A memorable day and book. Cherish these days – I think you do.

  7. We’ve not had TV for 6 years. Don’t miss it.There are about three shows I’ll watch on line. Abc, nbc, and cbs all have full episodes on line with maybe three commercials. And I can mute them. :-)Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that? ;-DWe also have blockbuster online. You can get all the great educational dvds, plus classic movies.I just refused to pay money each month for something I tried not to use all day!

  8. Aaahhh. Okay – better now.Seriously, reading to the kids is great … and I’m TOTALLY on board with a Wii! (It’s exercise you don’t even know you’re getting)

  9. One – I hope you all feel a thousand percent better soon, soon, soon.Two- I loved your television portion of this post. Although not all of us thought you’d gone off the deep end.

  10. I stumbled across your blog, and will be a reader in the future. I just wanted to say a few things about the TV issue.I am a college student, and have spent my entire life with out a TV. My family and church decided to not have TVs in our houses, because of the content. This was when they first came out. Now, as more and more studies are being done, I see the benefit. I don’t know what it is like to live with a TV, therefore I don’t miss it. As I’m writing this I see how radical I sound. I’m not at all. We do not object to seeing informative segments or things that stimulate the mind and thought process, but there are so many things that are not good on TV and the time, as you stated could be spent on better things. Like relationships, family, and spending time with God.

  11. Nan,I admire your courage regarding the TV….I’m pretty close to the same decision myself, though I haven’t mustered the courage quite yet.

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