Here is our morning, spending time together in the studio.
Several weeks ago, I broke the TV. Or at least this is what I told Adelaide over breakfast one rainy monday morning. She listened to me intently, took it all in and then... her face broke, her shoulders slumped, and she cried and cried. Sobbed. Much to my amazement.. I was not really expecting this kind of reaction from her at all. How could the TV have become that important to my little two-year-old?
At one time, Addie had very little interest in ever watching television. She just seemed to prefer to do other things. But one of my goals is to (try to) have balance in life, and so I thought a little bit of watching together here and there would be fine. It is great fun to share some of my very favourite movie clips with her - Scenes from wonderful films such as Kiki's delivery service, My Neighbour Totoro, Mary Poppins, Bambi. Adelaide began to love the characters and songs from these films, and every so often we'd watch a little together. These times were such a treat.
But then... over the past few months, my work and store have been busy and busier. And all of us became very sick, one by one by one. More and more it became easier to stick Adelaide in front of the TV - just for a few moments. Sometimes, when I was sick and with no help available, I would collapse with exhaustion on the couch beside her and try to get a little rest. Sometimes I would bring work down and try to get things done. And then I would end up leaving her downstairs on her own while I worked upstairs. More and more this became familiar and then, routine. Somehow along the way, it became normal for Adelaide to watch television every day. Somehow, these most treasured times of my life became something so easily taken for granted.
What I didn't realise until later was that she was also growing into a miserable child. Much of the time she would be unhappy - whining, complaning, and disagreeable. Not fun to take places or be with like she used to be. Everything a fight. Often she would wake in the night, screaming, crazed, unconsolable - not letting me near her. It felt as though the connection that Adelaide and I have always had was fading, and I began to panic in my heart that I was doing something wrong. I began to fear that simply following my gut when it came to parenting was failing my daughter. I felt as though the person who I am closest to - her - was becoming a stranger to me, at only two years old. I wasn't ready for this distance now, and I'm not sure if I will ever be.
I considered it all a lot. And then I finally realised that, like most things, I have change myself first. In order to change her. I realised that I have been taking on too much, and that this is not what I want at this time in my life. I had forgotten that I will never have these days with her ever again, and how important this time with her is to me. And that I need to remember to treasure this time with her, not take it forgranted simply because our time together has become just part of an everyday routine. The norm. Not special.
And so I broke the TV. (or, unplugged it, and took the batteries out of the remote control)
The first days were hard. HARD. No TV for Adelaide means so much more work for me as a mother. Each day all day I am constantly playing, reading, singing, dancing, creating. Just being with her, teaching her, showing her the world. At the end of each day, I have been falling into bed exhausted and sleeping heavily all night long (for once in my life).
But all of this hard work is only for the short term, I have found out. The result of the no TV experiment is amazing! Both Charles and I are very much stunned and are constantly gawking at the results - for we absolutely have our wonderful sweet little daughter back again. Chatting, singing, dancing, dreaming up games and play-times which send my brain boggling. She is co-operative, fun and easy-going. She makes up and plays her funny little games on her own, independently. She once again is a joy to be around.
And she is back with me. We are connected, as we once were and always should be. Both of us now have little to no interest in the television. Being together is so much better than that!