Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Crazy Experiment Gone Horribly Right

For those of you who follow me on The Next Family, you will remember that I wrote an article last week about the need to unplug and reconnect as a family. I have an ugly confession to make. I wrote that article with the full intention of NOT unplugging. Not reconnecting. Yes, it sounds wonderful in theory. But I love my laptop entirely too much to just set it aside. And the Wii is the greatest babysitter I ever had. When it is on, my children do not move. They do not take their eyes off the screen. I depend on it. I realize these are the words of a horrible mother. But it's the truth. When I need to get something done, the Wii is my very best friend. So yes, it is true. Not only am I a bad mother, but I am a hypocritical blogger. I am a proponent of the "do as I say, not as I do" school of thought. And yes, I feel guilty about it.

Today, I gave into the guilt. It's Wednesday, so Lucas had his after-school tutoring program. It was just the twins and I at home from 1:00pm until 4:45pm when we picked Lucas up. Normally, I am tired when I get home from work and I take full advantage of having only two children. I will typically turn on some cartoons for the kids and plant myself in my favorite living room chair with my laptop and a Diet Pepsi and spend the afternoon writing, reading articles on the web, playing Scrabble, and otherwise paying homage to the love of my life--my laptop.

Today, however, I was feeling the weight of my hypocrisy. I wrote a lovely piece about unplugging, but had not put forth even minimal effort to do so. So....I decided this afternoon would be different than our typical Wednesday afternoon. I walked in the door and walked right past my laptop without so much as a longing glance. I fixed myself a quick lunch. Then I informed the kids that we were going to bake cookies. I fully expected the cookie-baking experiment to go horribly wrong and, therefore, vindicate me. I fully anticipated that the children would argue and fight and spread flour and sugar all over every inch of my kitchen floor. I expected utter chaos. At the end of the day, I expected to be able to smugly say, "I tried unplugging and it was a horrible failure." I expected to be logging onto my laptop by 2:00pm--at the latest.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, my children managed to prove me wrong...yet again. Their excitement over baking cookies was contagious. We decided to make granola cookies and banana chocolate chip biscotti. We had limited ingredients, so we chose these recipe by process of elimination. Sophie and Nicky had a blast pouring the ingredients in the bowl. They mashed the bananas with complete abandon. They giggled with glee as they rolled the dough into small balls and placed them on the cookie sheets. They stood peering into the dark oven trying to catch a glimpse of the exact moment when the balls of dough turned into delicious cookies. They taste-tested and oohed and aahed over our creations. They were nothing short of delightful. We had an incredibly enjoyable time baking cookies. And there was not a screen anywhere in sight. No television. No computer. No video games. Just the three of us turning a handful of ingredients into fresh-baked bliss.

So what is a technology-dependent mom to surmise from the afternoon I just experienced? I was not vindicated. As a matter of fact, the whole crazy experiment went horribly right. Apparently, I can survive without technology. Apparently, I am capable of unplugging and actually enjoying the company of my children. As they grow up, they just might remember the afternoon we spent making granola cookies and biscotti. Will they remember the days spent in front the television watching cartoons? I highly doubt it.


Jessica said...

Love it! As an added bonus, you have material for a new article on TNF. ;)

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