Then Davan was born. All that changed. I went to the movie theater all of maybe three times the first year after she was born. We didn't watch at much TV at home, as she was pretty darn demanding of our attention. I felt bereft. Truly. It was sad. We'd drive by a movie theater and I'd look with longing at all the cars, wishing I was going to a movie.
Then a funny thing happened, though. We started getting time to maybe watch a movie in the evening after Davan went to bed, rather than me needing to crash the moment she did. And...many of them weren't that good. I had, gasp, outgrown most movies. And TV was worse. And Davan, unlike most preschoolers, wasn't interested in watching TV/videos/movies/playing video games. While I still nursed a strong computer habit and we would watch something from time to time, we were pretty TV free for a while.
Next, though, Davan got interested in movies. I think she was about 4 or 5 when this happened. We entered our Disney stage. Sure, other animated kid movies, too, but you know what I mean. Screen time picked up quite a bit. Davan enjoyed whiling away an afternoon with movies, if allowed.
It got to the point where I wanted to make a change. We did manage to ween back off of so much screen time. However, we've fluctuated a lot in the years since. There was probably a whole year that we only watched a movie once a week and that was literally it as far as using the TV was concerned. Other times, well, there was Survivor on Thursdays, Amazing Race on Sundays, a video in the afternoon here and there for Davan and maybe a couple of movie nights. We did seem to find a balance with winters being more screen heavy and summers being less so...
Lately, though, the TV monster has reared it's ugly head. We've been streaming from Netflix. We've been getting movies from the library. And TV shows from the library. And even renting sometimes from a local video store. I'm not totally sure when this all started, but it was before we moved. Saturday and Sunday evening dinner/movie nights have turned into most nights that Davan isn't at Do Jump or we're not having company. I even found a TV show that I was watching on my own when Anthony and Davan weren't around. I won't even fess up to what that one was, as it embarrasses me
One of our biggest family draws lately, though, I will fess up to. We have become total Glee junkies. We just discovered Glee this summer, really after the move, and we're all hooked. In fact, we are so hooked that we caught up by finishing up season two in mid September in time to start season three with it's broadcast.
Now, there are a couple of problems with just watching it as broadcast. I'm not even sure we get Fox here with our, basically, rabbit ears, for one. But, it's also broadcast on Tuesdays when Davan is at Do Jump. And there are commercials. Hello? Commercials? That's just painful.
We did some looking around and decided that we'd watch the show the following Wednesday. It's available for streaming on Fox's website 8 days after broadcast, for the general public. The show premiered. We waited with bated breath for the following Wednesday and, on the given night, excitedly (seriously) settled down to watch.
It sucked big time. There were still commercials and, worse, they didn't cut them well, so they would come on just before a scene ended and, after the commercial, we'd see the last two seconds of the scene. Seriously? And the whole world seemed to be trying to stream it that night, as well, because the picture quality sucked big time. It was very choppy and would just stop for 10 seconds at a time every now and then. We tried pausing to let it buffer, but there was no buffering and it was worse trying to start it back up.
We discussed options. Just waiting until it came out on DVD, while I did bring it up, was quickly shot down. So, now, we are subscribers on Amazon to Glee season 3. On the up side, we get to watch it the very next evening (the first time post broadcast that we're all together), there are no commercials and the streaming is decent. We can even download if we want to, which helps, as we don't have the fastest connection in the world.
The down side? We're subscribing to a TV show - paying to watch it and waiting with bated breath each week. That's kind of fun, but it's also sad for a family who once prided themselves on being pretty darn near TV free.
Factor in the fact that we watched the whole season of The Glee Project in one day on a recent Sunday (okay - Davan had a cold and Anthony had an injury, so it was going to be a down day anyway) and the fact that most nights are movie night and it's pretty pathetic.
We're a pretty in touch family. Davan and I spend all day together, after all, and the child, tells me everything (even if I don't really want to know the finer details of her "conversation" about cats with her best Do Jump buds - I say conversation loosely, as it really seems to consist of suddenly surprising each other with the word "cats" throughout practice) so it's not that we so much need to reconnect over dinner. Of course, we don't spend all that time with Anthony, but, well, the man, when asked about his day, usually says "fine". "Fine" does not a dinner conversation make, I have to say. And we do spend a lot of family time together on weekends and often all walking Ranger in the evening together, which seems to be an easier way for us to have a conversation.
All this is justification, though. Justification for just popping in a video and plopping on the couch every evening.
We may be coming to a natural end to such a push of screen time, actually. Netflix streaming is new to us - we've only been doing it a few months now - and we're coming to the end of things that are drawing us in. We just had a run of movies off a list I stumbled across. We're about done with those and, the last several we've either only watched the first 10 minutes before going, "Nope, none of us want to watch this," or, as with last night's movie, leaving Anthony to it when only he was interested. We've caught up with Glee, so it's a once a week sort of thing now...other than episode rewatching, which, yes, is happening, too. Still, the point is that we probably are getting to the point where there aren't so many movies/episodes of shows clamoring to be watched.
So, we've had a run of couch potato-ism. That's okay. But, it's time to dust off our games and other hobbies and, maybe, conversational skills and put them all to use. We can do it. We're strong. Not addicts at all. We can stop anytime we want.