Saturday, September 6, 2008

Broken Record Routine

We have a TV in our living room that rarely gets used. It was probably a waste of money. When the boys watch PBS or library movies, they use a small TV in the playroom. Close to a year ago we changed our cable to just basic, for about $16.00 month. We didn't (and don't) have time to watch anything, with our growing family being still so young and needy (except for Don's college football in the fall). Well, the cable company never got around to changing the service, despite our calling three times to remind them that we downgraded our service, and that our bills were already reflecting that. Ohio family told us they had similar things happen, and that the company was probably backed up and working on essential calls only. So we just let it go.

Fast forward all this time, and it's college football season again. Guess who is perusing through the channels, looking for his beloved Penn State and UCLA football games? Yeah, my honey. I'm having a conscience problem over this, and really want to try again to call the company and remind them that we ordered a change in service. But my honey's conscience? It seems fine. I asked how long college football lasts, and he's telling me until about mid December. That seems like a long time to get free college football, no? He doesn't watch any pro-football, thank goodness.

Don't worry. I'm not going to make the call. I decided this is one of those spiritual leader kind of things, which means Don is responsible before God, not me. If God is bothered, he will let Don know, and I shouldn't intervene.

Well, a funny thing happened today. Maybe it indicates God is bothered, maybe not. See, Rosy is not used to seeing this TV cabinet open, or having the TV on. She studied it in her toddler kind of way, discovered how to turn it off and on, and proceeded to keep turning off Daddy's team. Boy, was she proud! She kept beaming at me, as if asking for praise for her genius. We both kept telling her no. After several go rounds, we warned her that she would have to go in her playpen if she turned it off again. The playpen isn't used for anything but timeouts, which thus far she has only needed for repeatedly getting on top of the dining room table. Just warnings have been working for some time on that issue.

She definitely knew what was expected of her, but apparently needed to explore this cause and effect relationship anyway. Immediately following the warning, she turned it off again, with a smile on her face. We put her in the playpen for a one-minute time out. She fussed a little, was soon let out, and then I distracted her by reading a board book. When the board book was done, she went back to the TV, looked Daddy in the eye, and turned off his team again. We said no again and put her back in the playpen. She fussed, was let out after a minute, had another board book, and then turned off Daddy's team again.

Can you guess how many times she explored this cause and effect? Seven. I'm not kidding you. Seven consecutive times! We're a little alarmed, a bit amused, but not worried. Parenting is, in part, about breaking wills, without breaking spirits. God does the same with us, repeatedly. The boys' wills have been broken, for the most part. We don't have to do these broken record routines with them anymore. That's not to say they don't sometimes have meltdowns. They do, but it's more about frustration over having to comply, then it is about attempting to change our minds.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the cable, and on Emily's efforts to set Daddy right on this. LOL

My last post contained a comment I made about men who don't help their wives with either the childcare, the shopping, or the chores. I indicated that men who didn't bother to help were immature and selfish. I want to apologize, since this may very well have offended some of you. I was only looking at it from my perspective, and not that of women who have husbands in the corporate world who are stuck at the office until late. Obviously, if they are gone most of the time, they can't help much, if at all. Sorry to have made such a judgmental comment.

I wonder how many more apologies I'll have to make? Hopefully, not many. I'm still learning to find my writing voice. I think part of that means trying harder to look at things from many perspectives.

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