Screen free week #screenfreeweek

Recently Miss Manners visited. She is a very well-read parent (on parenting books) and she brought her kid plus her kid’s friend (all my kids except Cousin It were away). The kids were awesome. They didn’t ask for screen time. They entertained themselves. They didn’t complain of boredom.

I was amazed.

I asked what she had drugged them with. Nothing.

I told her that my kids have gotten into the habit of expecting screen time almost constantly. Now, there are 24 hours in a day, and I think that allows for a little screen time but it had become habit. And once the screen was on, it was difficult (for me) to turn off.

Read magazines, you say?

Miss Manners suggested a two week break on screen time. I said, “what if they complain or say they’re bored?”

She said, “If they say that, I would give then something to do. Like sweep the kitchen…”

Not bored.

So I started on Tuesday. I laid out the expectations: they can’t have screen time for a week. If they say they’re bored or complain, I have a 3500sf house that is difficult to keep “clean.” Otherwise, they do not have to go above and beyond re: chores/cleaning.


I did pull out as many games as I could find and told them where they could find said games and cards. But I’m trying not to run around like a cruise director. And I get screen time (duh), although I’m staying off the tv when they’re awake.

They seem to be having a good time, and they’re playing well together. I asked Mineral’s psychiatrist what she thinks is appropriate for daily screen time and she said 1-2 hours/day. Maybe I’ll implement that when the week ends.


A stranger babysat my children

Recently I ran into a woman who babysat my children on what I thought was one of the worst days of my life. She was a total stranger at the time — and still is, basically. I think I’ve only seen her once or twice since then.

It was a few months after my weight loss surgery. Animal and Mineral were in kindergarten, and I think The Informant was in preschool. (OMG, I must have had so much free time!) I had a hemorrhoid. Not just any hemorrhoid, a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

A thrombosed hemorrhoid is like a regular hemorrhoid except it hurts like a motherfucker. Oh, and it bleeds, and it’s huge and purple.

This was before Jugs existed, before I was doing a lot of birth work and had regular babysitters for my kids. So at the time, I toted all or some of them with me, or I just didn’t go to the doctor. But this — the pain was really awful, and I read online that I needed to have the hemorrhoid treated within 48 hours or otherwise it would heal on its own, which meant two more weeks of pain. So I had to get to the doctor, like, post-haste.

I was — still am — a member of an online local mommies board. I didn’t know any of the members personally, but I’d seen posts looking for sitters in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, I’d noticed that most of the posts went un-replied-to, but I absolutely had to get to the colorectal surgeon, and I absolutely could not take my children with me.

I decided to post. I think the title was, “Desperately ISO babysitter RIGHT NOW” (iso = in search of.)

“I’m going to be honest with you ladies,” I wrote. “I have a hemorrhoid. Not just any hemorrhoid, a thrombosed hemorrhoid.” (And then I added my explanation.) “I have to get to the doctor or I’m going to perform my own ass-ectomy with cuervo gold tequila as an anesthetic. Please can ANYONE watch my children for a couple hours?”

This lovely woman who lived in my neighborhood replied. Actually I have no idea if she’s lovely. Like I said, I’ve run into her once or twice since then, and she seems lovely, and always asks about my ass. But I got her address, drove my kids the 2 minutes to her house, asked her if she was a child molester, and drove off.

The doctor excised my thrombosed hemorrhoid, I felt relief, and my children did not appear to have been mistreated in any way. Nowadays I have babysitters for doctor appointments, and I know that an anal fissure — and then an anal fistula — is much more painful than a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

The Great Plague of 2011

One day Wii and I were doing errands. She needed a key made, and instead of going to Home De*pot she wanted to support local workers — like this man who apparently had a key-making machine in his house. It was raining, so she said she’d run in while I sat in the car. (Looking back, I’m thinking, She wanted to run into to a strange man’s home that had a key-making machine inside, while I waited in her car like an idiot?!?!? This is the beginning of a horror movie.) I waited, and she came back a few seconds later, cracking up. She was laughing so hard she couldn’t talk, and she pointed at the door to the house. I got out and ran up to the house. On the front door was a sign




A few weeks later I drove by the house again and there was a FOR SALE sign out front. So I can only imagine he didn’t survive.

I’ve thought a lot about this man over the last week as every member of my family has been hit with this plague of fever-induced misery of exhaustion and pain. We gots the flew.

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