Hip To The VHS Beat

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?".

...parenting fail.

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.


They call me mommy... May 16, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

Lovely! What a great friend to share the beauty of these wonderful movies with you and your family! How sweet! Who cares if they are VHS, I actually wanted to get a VCR the other day because they have a much better selection of movies at the library in VHS! If only I could get my hands on all of the tapes we had during my childhood! My kids already attempt to destroy DVDs (actually just the boy. lol.)I couldn't imagine a TV in their reach! I know all of the songs too!Julie has even memorized a few too! She LOVES Mermaid!!! I seriously love Disney as much as my kiddos do *maybe even more!* I would TOTALLY sing a Marry Poppins with you! LOL =D

P.S. WHAT? you get to shower when they are AWAKE??? Jealous!!!

beka May 16, 2010 at 10:49 PM  

VHS's are quite handy:)
And gosh--the one time I saw Lion King I sobbed my eyes out! *sigh* It traumatized me. I hate how the dad dies. :(
Ah, Little Mermaid. ;) Haven't seen that one either but if it let you wash your hair AND shave your legs, that's pretty sweet!

Christina May 16, 2010 at 11:02 PM  

haha. I like your post. I can relate in many ways. We still have a VCR, but it's under our dvd player. We also don't buy a lot of electronics. We got some as gifts, as hand me downs, OR our big older style TV for $30 on craigslist(I love craigslist, have gotten so much from there for the house). That is so great about getting all those movies to watch. Yay!! :) We got netflix about a year ago though, which we like and we have the 8.99/mo one.

Casey May 16, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

Tia, I was so happy to read what you had to say about the attitude in animation. My kids usually only watch PBS (Sesame Street)and Noggin. Sometimes they are allowed to watch Nick Jr but we don't allow Cartoon Network and nothing over G for the little ones.
I don't think it's right to let kids watch shows that are subversive & aimed at adults.
Why not let kids just be kids?
*gets off soapbox*
Our kids had a tv/dvd & 3 game systems in their room (which they are only allowed to play on weekends for 1 hr intervals) but they got destroyed. I haven't learned the trick to keeping electronics safe in a house full of wild animals....I mean kids :)

Brandi May 16, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

LOL! so funny. i was totally NOT into disney movies when i was a kid. i actually didn't care for cartoons much period. but my mom does have a few select disney movies also on VHS that she picked up over the years (after we were grown). i'm not sure if they even still have a VCR or not! anyway, i will be seeing MANY of the disney movies for the first time when we watch some with macy! :)

craftattacks May 16, 2010 at 11:22 PM  

*raises hand* We have a VCR and my husband has amassed quite a decent collection of VHS tapes. Yeah, he uses it, too. We have many of the Disney titles, but our most played is the original Land Before Time. Oh goodness. My oldest loved the heck out of that movie. I remember evenings when I was trying to nurse the littlest to sleep and he'd ask to watch a movie and he'd just slide that one in and by the time the baby was out, so was he. He's a big fan of Little Foot.

Megan May 16, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

I STILL have the TV/VCR combo that my parents got me for Christmas in 6th grade. We don't have any VHS tapes but I keep saying I want to get some of them from home. I know my mom kept all of them, she's convinced they'll be worth money some day, hehe.

Anonymous,  May 17, 2010 at 1:37 AM  

Growing up we loved Disney cartoons! We watched Aladdin at least once a day. They don't make cartoons like that anymore.

Mommy Elephant Sarah May 17, 2010 at 2:29 AM  

That was nice of her to send you all those. You know what is funny? I literally just had my husband a month ago take a box of 50 plus VHS video (and no lie all of those in your post were in the box) to our local thrift store. She didn't get them from a thrift store in So Cal did she? Hehe. Wow it's freaky how much those photos look like the ones we just got rid of!!

CourtneyKeb May 17, 2010 at 7:08 AM  

Those piles of VHS bring back some lovely Disney memories!
Except those look like they're in perfect condition. The edges on mine were all chewed up from my dog.
I'm totally with you on the limited TV. My daughter's only one, but I'm kind of big on the amount of TV I expose her to. Guess I've kind of been that way since the flock of sponge bob imitators in Walmart a few years ago.

Nen May 17, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

this made me laugh... i love your humor!

i still have my old VHS tapes.. but no vcr! my mom wanted to get rid of them... UMM.. NO. so they are stored in a box... waiting for my some-day vcr to appear!!

merelythemoon May 17, 2010 at 9:57 AM  

Heck yes! VHS is like the new vinyl!
And they're usually a dollor to 50 cents at thrift stores. You can't go wrong.

Colleen May 17, 2010 at 10:01 AM  

You should be able to find some awesome deals on VHS tapes at yard sales. Everyone is trying to get rid of them, but it seems like you already have all the good ones. I should go look at our stash and see if there are any I could pass on since our VCR has been broken for a long time.

Giggly May 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM  

We have the hugest collection of VHS Disney movies. My husband never let me buy any DVD's because we already owned every one on VHS, except new releases (new meaning: anything passed 2002)LOL My daughter also has (since she was 2) a TV/VCR combo. :) I like VHS better. Definitely more durable with toddlers.

The Girl Made From Color May 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

No VCR in this house, but I have to disagree, you can destroy a VHS. Sad, but true. My youngest sister destroyed most of her movies.


And my kids are not entertained enough by movies for me to get a shower. I can't wait until they get older.

Bombdigity May 17, 2010 at 9:08 PM  

LOVE!!!! I could sit and watch Disney movies all day =o)

Oh Mandie! May 18, 2010 at 8:50 AM  

oh we're totally VHS friendly over here. My boys love them because they can stick em in the vcr all by themselves. I'm pretty sure that we have the worlds bigest Thomas The Tank Engine VHS video collection.

But now I have a serious hankering for some Lady and the Tramp!

Shannon May 18, 2010 at 12:22 PM  

We have a VHS collection, and no kids. Haha! Every single time we go to thrift stores (which is frequently) we search the VHS area. We almost always find movies from our childhoods and we decided to start collecting them for a "nostalgic" themed office. :)

Johanna May 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

Just checkin' in~!
Life is CRAZY at the moment.
I got your beautiful mother's day card...THANK YOU! You are a dear! xox

Marie May 19, 2010 at 3:30 PM  

vhs is where it's at. :) they are *practically* indestructible. charlotte did manage to ruin her copy of "the rescuers", but i haven't seen a destroyed copy since she realized that now it is gone FOREVER.

Rachel Elizabeth May 24, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

Our VCR just recently broke. We've started buying select Disney movies on dvd.

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