Monday, April 25, 2011

sanity saver

Shortly after Emry was born and our various familial helpers went home, I became afraid of the amount of television Elan was likely to consume now that we had a baby in the mix. Since Elan is such an early riser and Mikhail and I are barely functional before 7 a.m., morning TV and videos have long been a survival tactic for us. When he started dropping his nap around age 3, I was determined not to resort to videos to help him have a little recharge time. I thought it would be quite reasonable for him to have quiet time in his room for an hour or so. I imagined him laying out elaborate train tracks, building block cities, and then rampaging his stuffed animals through them.


Or I guess I imagined some kid doing that.

Some kid who was not my kid.


My kid thought "quiet time" actually meant "stand in your doorway screaming for Mama" time.

It was his will against my will.


And we are some strong-willed folks.


It was not relaxing in the slightest bit.

Eventually I decided I had created a lose-lose situation and retreated away from my edict that he had to stay in his room for an official quiet time. I had friends whose kids did this, but trying to force it on my social, super-interactive guy just made us both miserable.

So I let him hang out on the couch after nursery school. We read stories, but that didn't give either of us the break from interaction that we both needed. Often I would let him watch TV and zone out for a while. But then he started saying "I wanna see what's on TV" it seemed like every time we walked in the door. I'm okay with an hour of TV a day (and, admittedly, sometimes more), but I didn't want watching TV to be an automatic part of being home.

And then I had a flash: story tapes! I went on iTunes that very day and found a treasure trove of children's stories. Frog and Toad stories are big hits, with Frog and Toad All Year as Elan's current favorite. I have been told that you can download audio stories for free online from the public library, but I haven't figured that out yet. Instead, I just insist on doing the cheap stories on iTunes. $1.95 makes for a pretty cheap thrill. Listening to the stories seems to be very soothing for Elan, and if we're traveling or I'm not in the mood to listen to Frog and Toad for the 100th time, he can listen with earphones.

It's a sanity saver, I tell you.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I have the same problem--sometimes I just need a break and all of my child-raising morals go out the window. I'm definitely looking into this for Sophie! (BTW, if you ever let him have computer time, Zoodles is a great site!)