Dinner and a Show

24 Feb

It all started innocently enough...

I am no stranger to addiction. Certain substances have made themselves my constant companion in the past, including sugar, caffeine, and nicotine.  With each addiction came a horrible and all-too-powerful feeling that I should be able to stop using, but, well…just this once more.

That sense of guilt and powerlessness has arisen in my life once again in a manner I never could have expected.  Much as I’ve wanted to keep this new addiction to myself, it’s time to come clean.

I am addicted to “dinner and a show.”

Dinner and a show is our family’s term for the time when Seabass is strapped into his high chair, fed dinner, and entranced by a video for a half hour or so.  We do it every day around 5pm and I feel horrible about it.  Mostly.

Like all addictive substances, this one feels really, really good at first:

  1. He’s immobile, so I can whirl around the house picking up errant socks, toys, and God knows what else he has flung across the room throughout the course of the day.
  2. He’s entertained, so I’m not being asked to do much more than stay out of the way of the screen.
  3. He’s distracted, so he tends to eat more adventurously without realizing it, e.g. vegetables.

So what’s the problem?  you say.  Well, there’s the whole issue of not eating at the table as a family.  Seabass still goes to bed around 6pm (I know, crazy) which means dinner for him happens before Jake even gets home from work.  That isn’t a sufficient excuse for doing dinner and a show every night, but it does frame the situation.

There’s also the problem of screen time.  I SWORE I wouldn’t show my child videos as an easy out from the difficulty of parenting, but it all started innocently enough.  I wanted Seabass to learn a few signs so we picked up a sign language video at the library and tried it out over dinner one night.  The next thing I knew, Seabass was a signing fiend and started asking for it every afternoon. Well, it’s educational, right? I thought.  But very soon, the “show” portion of “dinner and a show” was infiltrated by tractors, trains, and construction videos, all of which have become my son’s particular weakness.  I am helpless to intervene.

This week, dinner and a show became especially trying as our DVD player went kaput.  Five o’clock P.M. found me running around like a lunatic trying to find similar (and similarly lengthy) YouTube clips to pacify a jonesing Seabass.  When I discovered how to create a playlist of train clips that runs on autoplay, Seabass stopped crying and started glazing over in that familiar dinner-and-a-show way.  It was a new low.

I’d like to say that I have a plan for how to stop the madness at our house, a plan to axe dinner and a show and begin living full evenings.  But I still need it.  Perhaps an intervention should be staged.

4 Responses to “Dinner and a Show”

  1. 9Months2Go February 24, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    He’s happy. You’re happy. Don’t stop the madness. This addiction will not break him.

  2. Rachael V. February 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Just wait until you are nursing or trying to put number 2 down fror a nap. You can’t feel guilty about it, just do your best at other times.

  3. Marta February 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I don’t think you need an intervention! He’s watching TV for 30 minutes a day its not going to kill him or stunt his development! Trust me, especially when your second comes you’re going to need those 30 minutes of the boob tube because your boobs are going to be busy elsewhere or hopefully just resting. =)

  4. Grandma L February 25, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    Yep,I think the grandparents need to come for an intervention so Seabass can learn to sign for better shows like “Jungle Book” or “Spaceballs”

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