A post a friend made about an old TV show got me thinking When Lisha, my eldest, was around 4 or 5 I had been a single mom for about 4 or 5 years. (My husband left very soon after the death of my mother and that is a completely different post.) I had moved from the safety net of my sister's home to a one bedroom apartment. We were living on the high desert in California, the cockroach capital of California. Thus our apartment had a few unwanted guests, but at least I was on my own, paying my own way.
My friend of many years, Cathy, provided daycare for Lisha, my niece plus she had two girls of her own. I remember they had a play room and those girls thrived and their imaginations blossomed. Every payday I would go to Costco and pick up a couple of $5 VHS videos and that was what Lisha knew as TV. I couldn't afford any sort of cable so Lisha became best friends with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and the original Parent Trap. It was funny to me when I realized she thought she was looking in on their lives. Lisha was the kind of kid that could make something out of nothing. We felt blessed just to have a VCR.
I commuted about an hour to work and a little more at night, but there were no cell phones. The only person I knew with a cell phone paid major bucks for any minutes and it looked like a brick. (Knowing this person is also another post....not ready to pull that out of the suitcase yet.) My point being, that in 15 years technology has come along way. The internet was a thing of the future and we were just trying to get used to CDs. No one believed that movies would one day only come in a DVD and I would have to buy a new kind of player for that! As a single mother barely making it, my child made good use of her imagination. I used to tell her I was not her entertainment committee so go find something to do.
My husband is a genius! I love him so much but I don't get his engineering brain. He has the house hot wired for entertainment of all kinds and my 5 yr old Lucy has taken to all the gadgets very nicely. When she was barely 4 she sat down at the computer and I asked her what she was doing and she said, "I'm working on an email!" She gets the Wii, we had to change the password on the computer because she knew how to log on, logging into Netflix is like simply turning on the TV. Luckily she has inherited some of her father's brain and loves a good puzzle so her skills are still being used. We had a little gadget that we could record little shows onto a memory card and it was a little mini player that Spencer loved to watch Mickey Mouse Club on. It got dropped one too many times and it was dead. I asked Gary how much to pick up something like that and I decided we really didin't need to do that for a 2 year old. So my sweet, smart husband takes the GPS out of his car and programs some apps onto it so Spencer could have his portable shows back. The only problem we found was that touch screens and 2 yr olds don't really go together.
I guess I'm just of the opinion a child doesn't need to be entertained every second of the drive to the grocery or even 30 miles down the road. See what there is to see and talk about it with your kids. They do say the most interesting things. I was having one of those talks on a drive with Lisha once and I asked her if she thought I'd been too strict as a Mom. She said, yes, in some areas but she understood why. She said she always knew she could talk to me. She said many of her friends would come to her with problems she told them they should be talking to their mother about. They indicated they could never tell talk to their mom about those things. I'm grateful and blessed that she feels she can talk to me....in fact I just got a call from the dorm room tonight. It made my heart smile! Raising this second generation of babies who come with big spirits and big attitudes I hope I'm up for being at the crossroads when the Wii is turned off and the cell phone is put down so we can talk about whatever they see out the window..