Friday, 24 April 2009


Time. Where does it all go? Yesterday was Monday, and today is Friday. It is a common complaint everywhere that we are too busy, overworked, overtired and so on.

M put me onto a great idea this week - an E-Free week. This is not something that we have formally implemented in our household - mainly because it would drive the adults insane - but I have resolved to have E-Free time so long as the kids are awake. This is not as hard as it sounds, as we are a one TV family. The only time we will ever buy another TV is if the current one goes end of life.

So if I get up before everyone else and sit down at the bloguputer to do some reading of the intranets, that is fine. But if the Monkey arises and walks in and says good morning, then the bloguputer goes off and we spend the time between the Arising of the Monkey and Work: Departure for the Purpose of, doing puzzles and colouring in drawings and writing words and letters and building train tracks and watching Gordon make a jammy mess (you have to watch Thomas the Tank Engine a lot to get that).

I am getting better at drawing a dog, and then helping Monkey write the letters for D-O-G underneath it 10 times. I can also draw cats, hats, pigs, milk cartons (don't ask), monkeys, reindeer and ducks; houses, flowers, cars, boats, trees and planes. And then there is the ninky-nonk, Iggle Piggle, Upsy-Daisy, the Tombliboos and the pinky-ponk - all of which I can now passably sketch.

When he comes home from daycare (Children, management for the use of), the bloguputer and the Box of Rapidly Moving Idiotic Images stay firmly in the off position and we ensure that Buzz Lightyear saves the universe from the Evil Zurgg, and he learns how to write a few more letters. Junior is back at school next week, so there will be homework to do as well. Electronic entertainment can commence after dinner, giving us a bit of downtime between feeding them and getting the kids to start snoring.

This is all much more fun that watching some mindless bit of regurgitated pap on the brain-sucker. I can't understand how anyone could not get pleasure from teaching a youngster how to sing the alphabet song (the one that goes A B C D E F G, H I J K etc etc), and then showing them how the letters in that song relate to stick symbols that you can draw, and how you can then put those symbols together to make words that he understands. I am very thankful for the invention of the car. It is the only place where I can sing with Monkey without feeling like an out of tune prat. He doesn't seem to mind if I am off-key.

I really did flush with pride last week when we were sitting at the dining table and he pointed at the carton of soy milk and said, "Daddy, is that an 'S'?"

"Yes Monkey"

"And is that an 'O'?"

"Yes Monkey"

"And is that a 'G'?"

Yes Monkey"

He went on to spell out 'so good', and has been doing since everytime we sit down to have a glass of milk. Letters now hold an interest for him, and everywhere we walk, he wants to stop and point to the letters and say them to me.

And so their education begins, an hour at a time at the dining table, with blessed silence from the lounge room, and no flickering screens in the office. I can see this E-Free week idea lasting about a decade.


M said...

All power to you.

Our E-Free Week has been amazing. There is a calmness in our house and the children are showing interest in the world outside Nickolodeon. I'll be sorry when the detox ends.

You are right about the bloguputer. I need to rethink how I use it.

Boy on a bike said...

We must be the only household in christendom with a teenager and no x-box or pay TV. Junior shows no signs of missing either.

bingbing said...

Well, no kids of my own yet (still in practice mode) but you should hear the Korean kids try to pronounce "l m n o p" when they sing the alphabet song!