Friday, January 24, 2014

For the Last Time, This Isn't a Punishment!!!

My kids came to me with a video they had found on youtube to watch.

It was the dumbest video I have seen in my entire life.

It had to do with some naked Ken doll, made of clay, walking around. They couldn't stop giggling. I made it through 20 seconds before wanting to throw my computer against the wall.

Somewhere inside of me, I should have appreciated this video for its artistic qualities; molding the clay in each of those positions and still shotting it, for a total video time of 1 minute and 41 seconds.

But I couldn't appreciate any of it. In fact, I was angry I was never getting that 20 seconds of my life back, and I was completely convinced that I had burned several hundred brain cells by watching what I did. I could only image how many IQ points my kids had lost, as this was their 4th time watching it.

I went back to making dinner, and the kids ran off to go find more stupid videos to watch. As I sliced the pork for our meal, my brain was racing.

Dumbest. Video. Ever. And my kids loved it. Brain cells dead, and it wasn't even quality mindless entertainment, in my opinion. I'll watch a mama panda bear get scared when her baby panda sneezes all day long. Give me that kid, sitting in his car seat, that can make the serious face while eating his ice cream- priceless. Any video of a cat and a gate or a screen door- amazing. Sometimes your mind just needs a break, and that's okay. That's what these cutesy videos are for.

But not the garbage they brought me. I would have tolerated 3 more minutes of my life being stolen by trying to figure out what the damn fox is saying over that clay Ken waving his hands through the air as he walked naked down the street.

So, I did what any mom pissed off at the technological age would do.

I made my kids go read a book.

Gasp, I know.

I called my kids down into the kitchen.

Me: Well, I've been thinking about that little video y'all shared with me. It was horrible, one of the stupidest things I've ever seen in my life, and it made me realize something. When's the last time either of you read a book?
The Girl: Today.
Me: In school?
The Girl: Yeah.
Me: Doesn't count. I'm talking, read a book, outside of school, for pleasure?
The Girl: Oh. Umm....
(Blank stares from The Ginger)
Me: That's exactly what I thought. Throw your phones, gaming devices, whatever, on the kitchen island and
go read a book.
The Girl and The Ginger in unison: WHAT???
Me: That's right. Do it. I'm tired of you two rotting your brains with that crap on youtube. If you have time on your hands to watch videos, you have time to read a book, so go.
(They both just stand there, mouths dropped open.)
Me: Did you not hear me correctly? I said drop the electronic devices and go find a book. NOW!!
The Girl: But...
Me: NO BUTS!!! It pains me that y'all don't read for enjoyment. When I was your age, I was so engrossed in books, that each night it was like I was transported to a new place. I exercised my imagination. That's what books do. They are like movies and tv shows for your mind. So, go build some damn brain cells by reading instead of killing them by watching mindless crap on the internet. 

They both disappeared upstairs after trying to get another sentence or two in, stating their cases. Normally, I let them talk, but in this particular scenario, I didn't. I just pointed upstairs and gave them the Look of Death.

After a few minutes, The Girl reappeared with her book, and sat at the kitchen table.

Me: Thank you for getting a book. You don't have to read in front of me, I just wanted you to read, sweetheart.
The Girl: Okay. I just don't understand why we are being punished.

I dropped the spoon I was holding on the floor.
Pic Courtesy

Me: You aren't being punished. Reading is not punishment. There used to be a time when you and your brother loved reading.
The Girl: I know. But this feels like a punishment. You took away my phone and now you are making me read. That's a punishment.
Me: READING IS NOT A PUNISHMENT!! Not only am I helping you build brain cells, but it's like you are watching Pretty Little Liars right there at the kitchen table (she has the books that the series was based on).

The Ginger hops into the kitchen.

The Ginger: Mom, why are you punishing us? Just because you didn't like the video we showed you?
The Ginger: It sure feels like one.
Me: You two are not my kids. They must have switched you at the hospital. My kids love reading and don't think of reading as a punishment. Are you aliens? Did you abduct my kids and put alien clones in their places? Y'all are NOT being punished. I want you to read. I want you to enjoy reading. I want you to get so engrossed in whatever book you are reading that you look forward to reading, to finding out what happens next, and then happy to move on to the next book in the series. And if that means that I have to take away your electronic devices and force you to be so bored that you have no other option than to read to amuse yourself, then sobeit. If you want it to be a punishment, I'll make you write book reports when you are done with the book.
The Girl and The Ginger: NO!!
Me: Then, for the last time, this isn't a punishment. Got it?
The Girl and The Ginger: Yeah...

I'll let y'all know how this stellar parenting move pans out. It will either work beautifully, and my kids will love reading again, or they'll revolt and burn every book in the house.

And I have a lot of books. I'm a book whore. So, keep your fingers crossed for scenario #1 to pan out, because if it ends up being scenario #2, they'll see the fire from Google Earth.

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  1. Love it, I actually got a bunch of flak on FB for taking my son's Harry Potter books away from him. He was sneaking them into bed and staying up hours later than his bedtime reading. So I took them away...and was promptly shamed for not allowing my son to read. Damned if you do make them read damned if you don't let them read ;) Can't wait to hear how it all pans out!

    1. I was just like your kid!! Some days my parents would have to lecture me on what times were appropriate for reading. That's what I love about being an adult. I can read until 2am if I can stay awake that long, lol. I've come to cherish my sleep... ;)

  2. Love it! You've inspired me and I might just do the same thing. I, too, am a bookwhore. So, if my kids burn the books... well... let's just say, they'd better get jobs and rebuild my library because I don't think there will be any forgiving happening until they did!

  3. I stayed up till 6am one time reading, and my brother would cry if you made him read the name of the video game he was playing. Kids are weird....