Inspired by another parenting article, I threw my kids outside today. Before you call Child Protection Services, let me explain.
As a work-at-home dad, there are times when I’m “home alone” with my full crew sans wife. They are generally well behaved, and know to leave me alone in my office. There is still the occasional interruption for a hug (I’ll take that) or to snitch on a sibling (don’t like that) or to bang on the kiddie drum set that lives in my workspace (I like that, but not when I’m on a conference call).
ELECTRONIC BABY SITTING FAILED
As happens with three kids, sometimes things get rowdy. That’s what went down today. I had work to get done, I was home alone, and they were being kids…which entitles them to be loud and obnoxious without fear of being fired (sounds fun, no?).
My immediate response was to call in electronic babysitting options, in this case the television and the iPad. I offered them a movie; the girls elected to watch episodes of the cartoon Puss and Boots. They gladly settled in for a binge watching session not unlike an adult who discovers House of Cards four seasons late, except that they have already watched each episode at least eight times. My son always chooses the iPad, and once again gladly relinquished his personal drive and soul to the device. Thanks Steve Jobs!
My son always chooses the iPad, and once again gladly relinquished his personal drive and soul to the device. Thanks Steve Jobs!
I became engrossed in my work, and realized after some time that I had not heard a peep from the den. When I went out to inspect, I found a sad, sad scene. Apparently having suffered digital lobotomies, in addition to my son morphing into Quasimodo, I immediately felt disappointed in my lazy parenting.
OUT WITH YOU!
As I considered potential ways to reverse the damage, I noticed that the sun was shining, and our extremely scary fenced in back yard was sitting empty (save for a collection of dog poop I knew resided in its midst). After several sweeps (gross) of my 1/658th of an acre property, I deemed it poop-free and child- safe. I then told them that TV time was over, and proceeded to put those darn kids outside!
Like heroin addicts at an intervention, they screamed and convulsed. I yelled back, told them I loved them, and used some muscle to prepare their unwelcoming bodies to venture into the great beyond.
WELL THAT WORKED QUICKLY
Once I put the kids outside, I set up shop at the kitchen table so that I might observe my wild animals at play. What I saw was nothing short of a metamorphosis. Their hunched shoulders became tall and straight as they ran around the yard. It appeared that they were inventing games? Holy imagination, I remember doing that too! Still loud and obnoxious, I no longer cared as I could barely hear it through the walls of the house.
Their hunched shoulders became tall and straight as they ran around the yard. It appeared that they were inventing games?
Soon the youngest appeared at the door. Snot was running down her face. Marvelous play snot! She asked for a snack. They were actually burning energy, and needed sustenance to continue their play! I gave them some cookies, pretzels and water, which they attacked like vultures on a carcass out of the feeding trough I had placed on the side of the lawn. Refreshed, they went back to play.
An hour and half later, they were ready to come back in. It was a different scene than the Zombie Nation I had encountered a short while ago in front of the television, evidenced by the smiling faces and peace sign.
THROW YOUR KIDS OUT!
When we were kids, most of us spent our afternoons outside. We live in a different world today, but it’s not that different. Furthermore, we didn’t have border fences around our yards that would make INS officials jealous. We were free range children. We survived.
Chances are your back yard is pretty darn safe. Throw your kids outside today and see what happens!