I was seriously questioning my parenting skills yesterday. I was seriously questioning my decision to get cable. I thought it could be a nice little addition to our household, something to round out our busy lives in controlled doses of educational programming. But really, it's one more thing to power struggle over with my kids. I am sick of the arguing and whining, and worst of all, the glassy-eyed stares of my little media junkies. If there was a parrot in the house, this is what it would have learned to shriek by now, "Turn it OFF!!"
I had banned video games from this household, but recently let my kids buy a Wii with their own money. The Wii is pretty cool, at least it involves moving around and there are no shooting games with it. But Evan had borrowed a controller and a Mario Kart game and we've been fighting over that, too. The game is fine, but when it's time to switch it off, you'd think that I'd told Luka it was time to cut off a limb. The crying, the carrying on. The fury.
It is ridiculous.
As usual, I was trying to get some cleaning done yesterday and trying to get my kids involved with that. Evan will help, but he typically does things half-assed and has to be told each individual task. You can't just say, "clean the living room". Never mind that there is visible litter that can be thrown in the trash. Speaking of trash, it's Evan's job to take the recycling and garbage out and the empty cans back in. I typically find the garbage can and recycling bin IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR BACKYARD. Why? Why not take it all the way to the garage? He must get halfway back there, and think that it would just be too thorough to keep going.
Luka resists every little thing, and I'm constantly issuing threats. Yesterday there was packaging from a cheese snack on our coffee table and I told him to throw it away. He refused. "That's not mine, that's Solstice's". Give me a break. I have to expend way too much energy to get these kids to do stuff. That's the problem with our cushy modern American society. Natural selection would have eliminated this gene pool years ago if it were up to hunting and gathering to keep us going.
There are times I just need a break from these kids. Just get out of my way, let me clean. I fantasize about stringing them up a pole for awhile, like those bear poles that are out in the forests where people camp so that they can suspend their food out of the way of bears. I would do it humanely, of course. They would have a nice comfortable jacket that would would hold the line, and it would be worthwhile because I would give them some reading to do. Maybe some Jane Austen, and maybe they'll grow up and put a bumper sticker on their car that says "I'd rather be strung up on a bear pole, reading Jane Austen"
After the stressful morning, we had Luka's soccer game and things started looking up. The kids were excited about going out to Dexter to see a barn show featuring Chris Buhalis and the Hummingbirds. Actually, they weren't so excited about the show, but they love playing out on the wooded property of the folks that own the barn. So Shannon and I took the kids out there. I love seeing shows there, I had seen Uncle Earl play there before. The sound quality is great, and I love the down-hominess of the barn. Toddlers wandering around, each matched with a dog staring them down waiting for them to drop food. One dog would meander around on stage during the show and then plop itself down. There were lots of people I know, but don't see very often.
Chris sounded great, he played with Dave Keeny on dobro and Dave Sharp on stand up bass. I particularly liked the song Whiskey Six which apparently will be on his next CD. The Hummingbirds played with John Latini on bass, Jim Latini on drums and a pedal steel guitar player that I don't know, but Shannon was familiar with. A fiddle player was up there for a few songs but I didn't catch her name. I bought the new EP by the Hummingbirds, so now there will be some new Ypsilanti music for the IPod.
My boys occupied themselves outside for most of the night, running around with sticks, until the last hour or so when Evan cozied up with a kitten and listened to the music. Luka knew a boy from school, and they entertained themselved by kicking a can around outside under some lanterns strung around the trees.
An interesting day, starting with some high tech frustrations and ending with good relaxing times with music, sticks, cans and kittens.
I don't think cable is going to last very long around here.