The good news: Spring is here. The bad news: Spring break is here. Largely due to my growing sense of denial—by the time my kids are teenagers I should be fully inside reality—we are enjoying a stay-cation for two weeks. What was I thinking? Two weeks. Fourteen days. Three hundred and thirty-six hours of hearing the same sentence over and over and over again. There’s nothing to do.
Let’s peel the onion on that one, shall we? The weather is gorgeous. In the garage there is a scooter, three skateboards, two and a half (don’t ask) pairs of rollerblades, six bikes, a pogo stick, something called a rip stick, balls, bats, gloves, clubs and more balls. What I fail to realize is that my children have the attention span of a prairie dog. Go scooter, I calmly suggest. Already did…Already did when—last week? Last summer? I offer up suggestion after suggestion, which I might add was way more than my parents did. When the weather was warm we were released into the yard with instructions not to return until the street lights came on.
It’s a different world now and you can’t let your kids wander unsupervised for hours on end, at least not at this age. It’s sad, really, and the tragic side effect is that we are spawning a generation of ‘screenagers.’ It’s a phrase I just heard, and you can guess what it means. The typical American home averages more than two televisions. We have four computers, and depending on the age and number of children in your home there could be more. There are MP3 players, an iTouch, and cell phones. I think in a 16-hour non-school day, a child could spend virtually all of it, well, virtually.
The last straw for me happened after Whiny explained he didn’t feel like riding his scooter. I caught him sitting on the couch playing an app on his iTouch of virtual scootering! Camel’s back broken. I kicked them all out of the house for some time with three-dimensional people, and told them not to come back inside for one hour. Sure, they’re probably playing video games at the neighbor’s, but at least I can get the TV to myself for awhile.