I know, that title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But my husband and I have been laughing all morning.
We all know screentime is not inherently evil. We get a lot out of it. I’m here typing on one electronic device, and a day or so from now you’ll be reading these words on another, and that could certainly never have happened without these devices. Earlier this year I wrote about how hard it is to enforce screen limits when I myself am on them so often.
But everything in moderation, and our kids were out of moderation. The youngest was using two devices at once (both Mommy’s) to simultaneously draw memes and chat with the people she was sharing them with. The oldest had devolved into throwing fits whenever he was asked to do anything but play his game.
So their dad greeted them with a “No electronics until tonight” challenge the moment they were out of bed.
They started off by pouting. They really didn’t know what else to do with themselves. Then the extrovert came down and demanded someone play with her. “I’m getting ready to go to the store,” I said. “Maybe you can call one of your friends to play.” She looked horrified by the suggestion. I’m at a loss.
“Can I go to the store with you?” she asked. “Sure,” I said, figuring that would at least keep her occupied.
But before I could leave, the girl convinced her brother to play My Little Pony with her. Suddenly the silent pouting had been replaced with loud, goofy voices and giggling. I peeked into the room and asked, “Anyone want to come to the store with me?” “No,” came the instant replies, and they went back to playing.
At the store, I got a call on my cell phone, which I actually had with me for once because the girl wasn’t texting on it. It was the kids, continuing to giggle. “We thought of some things you need to buy!” And they listed practically every food they liked (which isn’t actually that long of a list). “You could have told me this before I left,” I pointed out.
“No, we just thought of it now. And now we’re going outside to play.”
“Is that Daddy’s idea?”
“Nope, we’re just going to. Bye.” It’s only 40 degrees out today. They barely noticed. The boy put some mittens on, though he wasn’t wearing a coat.
When I got home they were so busy playing with the neighbors’ cat that they both exclaimed that they hadn’t even heard the garage door open.
The girl has pestered me to play a few times, but manages to get distracted by something else moments later. When they discovered I’d bought grapes at the store, they threw a grape party for twenty minutes.
Now they are chasing each other around the house, she shouting, “You are bread! You are my bread friend! I’m going to eat you!” and he stubbornly plowing ahead, saying, “No! I have to go places! I am Toyota, ‘Let’s Go Places’!” “Come back, I have to gain your trust before I eat you, my Bread Friend!”
“We should probably return the electronics before they drive us crazy,” their dad finally muttered, shaking his head. “Now I know why they invented them.”
But we haven’t yet.
But now that I have finished typing this, I believe I am required to go play My Little Pony.