Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 8: Turning off and Tuning in

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #8 - Unplug
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about unplugging. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of spending time outside.

I will confess that I have relied on media (TV and DVDs) to babysit my kids.  It first started when I was a new mother trying to get used to staying home after working in offices and restaurants for 20 years.  I would plunk my babies in their bouncy chairs and park them in front of the TV to watch a DVD of HBO Classical Baby. To this day, my children are still enraptured with this series. 

I have felt guilt to do so, but sometimes I have to get them "distracted" so that I can go get laundry done, or dishes, or dinner. 

Plus I have twins.   Yes, I know, having twins is not a valid excuse, but man, the amount of energy that I don't have....   

This week's exercise was about turning off the technology and things that distract us and learning to focus on "life" and in particular, our children and their world.  In this technology-centric world, it is easy to get distracted by the "machines" and to forget about the "people".  (Irony being of course that we try to use technology to connect with people when in fact all we are doing is focusing on the "virtual" person, rather than the one that is sitting in front of you, or the voice on the phone. That is a whole other blog entry to discuss. But does take me on the following tangent: 

During the year (non-summer), I attend a weekly parents' group at my church.  This has been a godsend as I had been isolated at home due to the fact that we moved at the end of last year and it is hard to make friends, in general.  Our group was focusing on a series about teaching our children about technology; how we use it, what is good and what is bad - policing their use of the internet, etc.  We all agree that some policing is necessary and that we tend to spend a lot of time texting, or emailing or whatever.  I am the anomaly of the group.  I do not use my phone for texting, nor do I own a tablet.  My children do not know how to use a gameboy, etc.  I have heard for years of parents who say that their 2 year old knows how to use the "computer, tablet" better than they do.  

Ew! Ew! Ew!  My hubby and I agree that we need to teach our children to be tech-saavy, especially since hubby is a computer techie for his job and I have cameras galore.  

Another comment that I remember from a parent was that their spouse is always wanting to capture the moment on camera to "share" on Facebook or email. It takes away from the enjoyment of the moment.)

So I have been trying to turn off the media, not be so distracted by Facebook or email, or TV, and to turn off the TV for my kids and let them play.  The other day baby boy sat on my lap with his blanket and cuddled. Then he would sit up and take his hat off of his head and put it on mine.  sit for a second and take it back.  We went back and forth with this and he laughed with just joy that his sister had to come and see what she was missing.  Today, I pulled out toys that they don't normally play with; the Fisher Price blocks. that my mother-in-law and I have wondered about the function of. You can't really build towers with them, and the kids aren't really adept at "playing" with the shapes in them, shake them, roll them, whatever.  The twins, however, prefer to dump them from the bin, build towers that fall over, and generally make a mess with them.  Then they climb in the bin and play.  

Today we also discovered that my daughter has learned a new skill and taught her brother.  They love to climb on things; windowsills, furniture, you name it.  Today, I went to check the laundry, passed through the kitchen and did a double take.  Usually she has tried to go between the wall and TV stand and hit the screen.  We took care of that by putting an old CD ROM tower there.  My double take was that she was sitting on the TV stand in front of the screen and banging on it of course.  In horror, I got her down and couldn't figure out how she got up there.  2 minutes later she was climbing back up on the computer and then to the TV stand.  After calling hubby to tell him of our "wonderful daughter's new skill", we decided that I needed to put something on top of the computer that she can't move.  *Sigh*  No wonder my mother said that you start to gain weight after you have to stop running around after the 2 year olds.   I love that the world is new and exciting, but mama is exhausted!!  While there are benefits to unplugging and reading books, etc.  one can only read Hippos Go Berserk! or Good Night Vancouver so many times in a row before they go crazy.

Because I have tried to focus more of them, even if for 5 or 20 minutes at a time, I have noticed that my children are less whiny than they have been.  Baby boy, sorry Toddler Boy has been a bit mopey but I think that is because he is getting a cold again, but Toddler Girl doesn't seem to have an many tantrums as she used to, doesn't seem to cry as much, and is finally sleeping through the nights. 

Despite the fact that I threw my back out this week and had 3 days of pain before it abated, I think that I did pretty well. Toddler world can change the agenda for me in an instance so I hope I didn't speak too soon. 

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Unplugging the easy way - Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting enjoyed four whole days of unplugged time this week.
Unplugged – Amy from The Connection We Share creates some rules for herself to keep her unplugging on track.
Unplugged – Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 8 - Katrina from Kalem Photography knows her family has been enjoying her being less connected to technology.
Week 8 - Unplug your screen and plug in to your kids - Amanda from Sticky Hands thinks the less screen time the more face time with her kids!

Unplugging from Technology - Ricky from Daddy Blogger almost missed the carnival this week because he was unplugged.

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