Too Busy for TV

It’s Screen-Free Week at the girls’ school, and for the first time ever, it’s actually a breeze. Although our dinners together have suffered with all of our activities, another happier by-product is that the girls haven’t been watching tv on weekdays at all. Typically, if my kids watch tv during the week, it starts between about 5 & 6:30 pm and continues until I stop them for dinner at 6:30 or 7 pm. It works for me because it keeps them occupied and low-maintenance while I’m cooking. They know that they can’t watch tv until after they’ve finished homework and music practice, and usually when they ask me to watch a show, I tell them that they have to spend ten minutes doing something else (like tidying someplace up, or putting away their laundry) first. It’s a good system, because it makes them pretty efficient. When they were younger, they’d sometimes watch tv in the morning, but only after eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and generally being entirely ready to leave the house. This is pretty much impossible when you leave the house at 7:30 am, so the morning tv long ago died naturally and painlessly. Now nobody thinks to ask about it because we’re so busy in the late afternoon-early evening. And they like busy.

Actually, tonight J was at gymnastics and  I was sitting at the computer (because I am not going screen-free. I do it occasionally, but it requires some serious planning). Suddenly M was hovering near me, looking over my shoulder, and listlessly moving her soccer ball around. I realized her problem: there’s been a change to her schedule, and in the past, M was always at soccer practice on Tuesday nights. So we went outside and kicked the ball around. Which is a big deal, because generally she considers me unworthy of her playing time, since I have zero soccer skills. We had an excellent time, even if she is a dirty, shirt-grabbing cheater and I only know how to kick in one direction, which is away. After playing, we took another one of our walks.

Last night, J and I did Zumba again, and she was so cute: she even picked out a sparkly, Zumba-looking shirt to wear. Afterwards we went to the best soccer game we’ve watched in weeks. It was the first outdoor game where we weren’t freezing our butts off, both teams had some amazingly great and comically awful plays, our team won, but only by two points, so it was still interesting for everyone and not overly demoralizing for the other team, and M scored a goal. On the way home we were in separate cars (because J and I had zoomed over from Zumba), and Cute W managed to get in front of the girls and me. For the rest of the drive they kept urging me to pass unsafely, run into him, or do something else hazardous to assert our domination. I staunchly refused, turned up the music, and declared us the fun car. We were just behind him pulling into the driveway, so I stopped short and yelled to the girls, “Quick! GO! Beat him to the door!” And they popped out, shrieking wildly, and ran for it. Meanwhile I had to park, and with J’s scooter infringing on my parking turf,  I eased ever-so-slowly into the garage. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to beat Cute W, too. So when I finally came out of the garage, I saw J just inside the house guarding the door and M tackling Cute W on our back steps, trying to keep him from reaching the door (here’s a visual of the back steps). I vaulted over the shoulder-high railing beyond the stairway scrum and entered. At which point Cute W, no doubt for the good of everyone’s mood, conceded defeat while we girls high-fived each other. Which, if you include the ride, pretty much made the soccer game the Best Game Ever.

Tonight while Cute W and I were eating dinner at a table that hadn’t been cleared due to all of our activities and haphazard eating schedule, I noticed a little art project that M had been working on:

You can’t see it well, but the circular stickers on the top spell out soccer, with two quotations that M had added that she hears from her coach all the time: “Be a team. Trust your teamwork together.” and “You’ll never score if you don’t shoot.”

I nudged Cute W and passed it to him silently for his inspection. Which, if it didn’t make his day, it totally should have. Because of course the quotes were from Coach Cute W.

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