Sunday, May 16, 2010
Now I'm not saying that I don't own a DVD or two, because I most certainly do, but- I'm also proudly boasting, that this Mama, is hip to the VHS beat.
Have you ever gone to somebodies house, a friend or neighbor, whoever, and seen a large (or small) TV/DVD player combo in their child's room, and wondered "how in the heck does that work?". Maybe its just my kids, but, if they had it their way, they'd have every DVD out of their cases, cracked and hanging from strings dangling from every possible surface in the room, and then they'd probably come crying to me, wondering why the broken DVDs aren't playing, after they've shoved 5 of the finger food coated broken disks in the machine at the same time.
That's just my kids though. Ahem.
When I was 10 or 11, my parents got me a TV/VCR combo as a birthday gift. To be fair, my mom worked for Panasonic, so I think she either got it from the company free (you work there for a certain amount of time, you get a free TV type thing), or got a crazy good discount on it. But, can I just tell you how jumping out of my pants excited I was? Who cares how I got it, the fact was- I had my very own TV. My very own VCR. And, they were combined (!!!), into one unit.
Holy moly, I could not possibly be any cooler.
Well when Eleanore turned 2 years old, we decided it was time that she inherit the magical movie playing machine. Or, more like, my parents got Christopher and I a bigger TV as a gift (we never buy ourselves electronics, its just not something we think is important), so it was time to pass on the wonder of videos to the little one.
Too bad the only VHS tape we had to give to her was The Little Mermaid.
She didn't seem too interested in The Karate Kid or The Lost Boys, believe me, we tried- so she started watching the one Disney movie that she did have, on a daily basis, over and over and over again. Every day. Sometimes twice.
I could put the video in, and she'd be totally and completely occupied while I took a shower. Yeah, I could actually wash my hair and shave my legs, both of those things taking place during the same shower, while Miss Eleanore was awake. Imagine that!
After a few months though, she got sick of it. Bored with Ariel, tired of Mommy always being clean- tired of it all.
I started letting her watch cartoons on cable instead (here is where I went wrong). The Little Mermaid was a thing of the past, buried somewhere in the back of her closet. Her TV started collecting dust, because as she got older and gained Independence, she started watching TV downstairs on the big TV. And the thing with cable cartoons, is they don't end. Its just one after another, after another, after another.
I'd get busy. I'd start a project. And while I knew it was time to turn off the TV, she had already been watching for an hour and a half- I just wanted 5 more minutes to myself. Well, 5 minutes turned into another half an hour, turned into another 3 cartoons, turned into "ohmygosh, I forgot to feed you lunch, its 1:00 and you're still wearing pajamas, and what have we done with our day?".
AND, not to mention, half of the cartoons on these days, have so much attitude squeezed into the animation that our little ones, almost overnight, turn from angels, into sugar demanding I-want-I-want monsters.
So, we quit TV altogether. I hated how it turned my little girl into a zombie. She was completely unresponsive while watching it, she had added so much back talking into her everyday vocabulary that we couldn't hold a decent conversation, and really- would it be so bad for us to go outside and walk around the neighborhood??
Things had to change.
And so they did.
After our long break from the lot of it- Cable, DVDs, and VHS, we slowly started letting movies make a comeback into our routine. We had gotten a few more VHS tapes from the Airman's Attic (as if I couldn't praise the place enough), and Eleanore was allowed to watch one a day. Also, we got a VCR for the downstairs TV, bought it from a guy moving out of the dorms here on base. Who cares how awful the picture on the Vizio would be, VHS tapes are virtually indestructible- and the kids don't care how blurry Pooh is.
Our collection grew from The Little Mermaid, to about 5 watchable movies. It wasn't much, but it was a start.
Recently, a wonderful lady friend of mine (Hi Tina, *waves*) had mentioned having some Disney tapes that she could possibly send us, seeing as how her son is all grown up now, and wasn't watching them anymore.
Yes, please! I had been keeping an eye out for some, but not getting out very often (you'd be disgusted as to how much time I spend here in my homemaker cave), I wasn't coming across very many.
I remember as a child, watching Disney movies constantly. I still know all the words to all of the songs (Eleanore has yet to get annoyed with my singing, thank goodness), I remember all of the character names, I can put a time and a place to the release of which movie and what best friend or relative I went to the theater with to watch it. I was raised on Disney.
I had no idea that Tina was going to send me an entire collection of mint condition, some not even opened, movies! It was like Christmas, for my kids (ok, and me). Eleanore still can't get over the selection she has. She stands in awe, looking over the titles, almost like she has video tunnel vision. And when she sees a preview for a movie that she thinks she might have seen a cover for earlier, she starts screaming "Mommy we have that movie too, don't we?! Mommy don't we?!", at which time I reply "...yes, Tina sent us that movie too".
This doesn't mean that I let my kids sit in front of the TV for hours upon hours (although sometimes I fantasize about the freedom it would bring me), its quite the opposite in our house actually. They get to watch one movie a day, and sometimes not even that. I usually let them choose between two that I've picked out (and by them, I mostly mean Eleanore), I lay out the biggest fluffiest blanket we have, I dim the lights, and I walk away. Voila- instant me time.
I do the dishes. I work on laundry. I drink a cup of coffee.
Charlie usually wanders away from the TV after a minute or two, unless we're watching a Pooh movie, either following me into the kitchen or floating to his toy trains- most likely ending up clinging to my leg as I attempt to prepare for later's lunch, but the oldest of the two, the trouble maker, shes kept nice and busy for at least an hour and a half.
Tina, you are a lifesaver. My kids and I, from the bottom of our Lion King lovin' hearts, we thank you. We'll be watching these movies together until the end of time. Or... until they all move out and leave me alone and bored out of my mind, that is, haha.
So while I'm not spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on DVDs that would probably end up scratched, lost, or broken- we're rockin' the heck out of our collection of clunky VHS tapes.
So Mama friends, raise your hand if you're hip to the VHS beat. I'd love to give you a high five, and maybe recite an entire song from Marry Poppins with you.