Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Law of Twins

I have decided that this is the year I stop using the television as a babysitter.

It just made it so much easier to get stuff done. I could clean the upstairs bathrooms without Ella trying to “help” i.e. “throw stuff in the toilet.” I could pay bills online without Ella attempting to slide head-first down the laundry chute. (There have been very few instances in life that have incited panic the way that witnessing Ella’s tiny butt and dangling legs slowly disappear into the entrance of the laundry chute did.) I could talk on the phone without worrying that Daniel would pull a chair across the kitchen and get into my stash of m&ms and eat them and then smear his chocolate-covered paws all over the sofa.

The greatest calamities, however, happen when they work together. I’ll address this in a moment.

I have profound guilt about using the television as a babysitter. I don’t know how much television other parents allow their children to watch, because it is a “taboo” subject, like confessing your actual weight and telling what you really think of Oprah.

The television fails as a babysitter on many levels. I have just read an article entitled “What to Consider When Looking for a Great Babysitter.” First, they ask you to consider the babysitter’s age. My television is but a year old. No sane person would leave their children in the care of a one-year old.

My television cannot drive, cannot dial 911, just sits like a lump when the kids are sleeping, shows pictures of snacks but doesn’t actually provide them for the children, shows pictures of clean dishes but won’t clean the ones in my sink, occasionally talks about inappropriate subject matters, and refuses to divulge its gender.

On the other hand, it is funny, it says nice things, and it can be educational. If you consider Dora the Explorer educational.

Yesterday, I dropped Ben off at school and came home. I left the television off all morning. At one point, I went upstairs to check my e-mail. In my absence, the twins took a box of raisins off of the counter, threw them all over the carpeted dining room, and then stomped on them with relish. They did this quietly with exceptional speed and great purpose. This is the law of twins: all twins convene in the womb and strategize complex plans of destruction they will later refer to in order to wreak havoc in their new habitat. They probably do this out of revenge: they are royally pissed they had to share a uterus for such a long period of time. Daniel has already said,

“It’s SO UNFAIR!!!! Caleb and Ben never had to share a uterus!”

It was in the womb that Daniel and Ella became an excellent team, like Bonnie and Clyde, Frank and Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Bush and Cheney.

This morning, Ella threw up lots and lots of raisins that appear, in their regurgitated state, more like small purple grapes.

This is what I get for being well-intentioned. It appears that even an extremely poor babysitter is better than none at all.

Since Ella is feeling under-the-weather, she watched television most of this morning. So, tomorrow, it’s back to square one. The boob tube will go off and I will keep a closer eye on them. Maybe I’ll add a little “structure” to our morning. Maybe some finger painting or book reading or pranking daddy’s cell phone. That’s always a good time.

Summer cannot come fast enough.


hokgardner said...

Your description of the tv as a babysitter cracked me up. I try to stick to a no tv on school days rule, but there are some days when I give in to the constant whining and begging and turn it on so I can just cook dinner already. But we never watch Dora. I loathe that chick.

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

You are so incredibly RIGHT. It is the law of twins.

Heidi said...

Ahhh, the tv. It is my greatest friend when my 3 year old won't allow myself along with my 10 and 6 year old to get anything done. It makes our "homeschooling" time so much easier. Although I feel guilty if she sits at it for too long (say 3 hours or more) but that hour of time when she is quiet and happy in one place, without needing me, can be ever so useful!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: said...

I don't have a TV, and had all sorts of notions about how I wouldn't have one even if I had kids. Then I spent a weekend babysitting my niece, who was about 3 1/2 at the time. That cured me of any such ideas quite succinctly. Before TV and modern conveniences like washing machines, how did women ever do all the household chores and mind kids at the same time? I'm all for a little judicious TV babysitting!