At this moment, my 2 adorable kids are sitting together on the couch, snuggled up together. They are "reading" books together, which mostly consists of Ben describing all the pictures to Molly, with Molly making supportive comments back after each page.
Ex: Ben: "See Molly, the train is running down the track so fast and it's brakes aren't working so the driver is trying to get it to slow down."
Molly: "Yea Ben, choo choo fast!"
Ben: "Now the train fell off the tracks, and the driver is calling for the break down train so they can put the train back up on the tracks."
Molly: "Oh, I see!"
Ben: "Look, Molly, Olivia has her mouth open."
Molly: "Mouse (mouth) open Ben!"
But the best part of this moment is that...they are completely entertaining each other, without ANY help from me at all! Heavenly!!! They are playing well and constructively, and I am blogging:) Amazing!!
They have finally gotten to the stage where, at times, they will really play well together for sustained periods of time. It's not often, and it's not usually long, but it is finally every day.
They mostly like to play "babies" and pretend to be infants, play running/dancing games, and occasionally will get out an actual game, and play their own version of it.
It has been so delightful to see them reach this stage, and it is SO wonderful to see their relationship develop.
But, as a random parenting thought, I also have to add that I believe the only reason these moments are popping up every day for us now is that we don't do t.v. here for children under 2. Since Molly isn't 2 yet, this means that the television is never on the the day time...ever.
We aren't a t.v.-free house, Ben watches a show most days while Molly naps, and Aaron and I definitely watch when the kids are in bed. But our "family" hours are all t.v. free.
This was a commitment I made to myself when I was deciding who I wanted to be as a parent, over 4 years ago. And, to be honest, I didn't know if I could do it. It seemed unbelievably difficult. I knew LOTS of amazing mothers, and none of them had done it. My own childhood had plenty of t.v. in it. I didn't think that it would be hard to have it off in general play time, but I wondered how would I ever get ANYTHING done in the day with a toddler in the house. How would I shower? How would I get a random, but necessary chore done?
Well, now that Molly is only 7 weeks from the 2-yr mark, and we have no infants in the house, or planned for that matter:), I can officially announce that it has been WAY WAY easier than I ever expected!!!
Honestly! I think it is as simple as: it was never a part of my routine, or a tool in my arsenal to use with crabby kids, so I just never missed it. And, instead, I feel so much pride in knowing that I stuck to my parenting philosophy on this one, and so my joy each time I see them playing independently with each other, or even playing well alone.
The only time they need to play independently is when I am busy...cooking, doing dishes, on the phone, whatever. But these are the exact times that I would think to use t.v. if it were an option. So, while there are PLENTY of times that I am pulling my hair out trying to get them to play well together and also get a chore done, I think that, by keeping the "boob tube" off, I have been inadvertntly forcing them to use that time constructively without my help. It has been a WONDERFUL pay off!
It has definitely had it's moments of frustration, and showering is always a crap shoot, but I have loved it, and strongly encouraqe anyone wishing to unplug from the t.v. a bit to go for it. Our grandmothers got by just fine without it...we can too!! You don't have to go cold turkey...just back off one regular time, and leave the rest. Your kids will come around because, well, they will have to, and you will all survive:)
*And, come Feb 24th, when Molly is 2-years and 1-day old, I will still try to keep it off in general, because we just aren't used to having it on, so why start??! But I also will be showering in peace!!!! :)