I Blame Television

television rant

I freaked out the boy tonight by announcing we were only going to listen to music now.

The TV is making me crazy. It really is.

I was a staunch no TV mama until he was 2 and a half. Then he got pneumonia for the first time and there was only so much entertaining I could do.

Once Pandora’s box had been opened, it was very hard to shut. So after that it, was some – not much television and really benign stuff at that.

Over the past year I’ve let more in. It started innocently enough, Magic School Bus, Duck Tales, Rescue Rangers. But then it got a little more intense: Transformers, (new) Garfield and The New Woody Woodpecker.

Notice something there? Every 5-10 years there seems to be a changing of the guard, make it new more intense, the colors are more vibrant, the action is more close-up – in your face. Even sexier.

Everything moves faster, the characters are more belligerent. Some are downright mean; yet they are the heroes.

I’ll admit it, I’m old-fashioned. I have high expectations of my child and his behavior. I am also really concerned about what I am feeding his brain.

The boy doesn’t even know we have “television” all he knows is Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and videos (yes VHS too) – he is spoon fed what I deem to be harmless. But it isn’t completely, it never is.

Yes. I blame television for most of the attention problems, behavior problems, bullying problems, disrespect problems.

I blame television.

When we were kids (for me I mean 70’s and 80’s) Everything was slower, less intense, shows accessible to kids were innocent yet truly taught positive messages.

From The Brady Bunch to The Cosby Show. Benson, Full House, Different Strokes.

Even the racy shows: Three’s Company, Love Boat, Happy Days and The Dukes of Hazzard were tame compared to today’s standards.

What’s in that time slot now? Modern Family, Community, Parks and Rec, Suburgatory, Big Bang Theory, and The Family Guy?

Really?  These shows are supposed to replace the solid family shows we were raised on?

Over the past 40 years there has been an insidious nature infiltrating our television shows. Why I wonder? Why was it necessary? What changed first? I don’t understand and it’s my generation creating the programming for the most part. What set this in motion? Was it the new technology? Was it the angst of Generation X? This dystopian reality? Nihilism run amuck?

Where is Dr Huxtable? Where is the adult with integrity? Where is the parental figure who catches you doing something wrong, and teaches you something – while simultaneously making sure there are fitting consequences for our actions?

How are we to be effective parents when every where our children look, the images they see are of incompetent parents, idiotic authority figures, bumbling police men?

What are we teaching them? They certainly have no reason to listen to their parents. They’ve seen “parents” on Modern Family and The Middle, all they do is make a ton of mistakes that totally screw up their lives and the kids are always smarter than those clueless parents. And no matter the trouble the addled parents find themselves in, there are little or no consequences as the whole affair wraps itself up neatly in 30 minutes.

What about the children on these shows? They don’t listen to their parents and go out anyway, they “borrow” the car, they scoff at authority, make teachers look like idiots and suffer no consequences or at the most very minor ones. And talking back to their parents? Well that’s just the way they talk!

When a kid bumps right into me in the mall instead of moving aside, or let’s a door close on me as I walk behind him instead of holding it. When he acts rudely to the people working behind the counter at Aunt Annie’s like they don’t exist – no please? No thank you? Am I surprised? No.

I know this article is gonna piss a lot of people off. Hey I know a really large portion of my close friends disagree with me.

Personally, I think they disagree out of convenience, denial is a beautiful place to live. I would join you there. If I could.

Use my son, Isaiah (8), as a control. No television until he was 2.5 years old. Diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder before then, so I can’t say television caused it. Until 4 or 5 he only watched hand-picked movies. Then I sprinkled in some carefully vetted shows.

But over the past few years I have felt guilty, worried I was stealing his childhood, I wanted to allow him to enjoy television like I did. It was never my intention to create one of those “I never had a television growing up” kids.

The problem is, I quickly realized that in an era of Sponge Bob and Phineus and Ferb, I was not going to find what I felt was equivalent to my television experiences. And so we watched The Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver and The Brady Bunch. When we needed cartoons it was old Looney Toons, Pink Panther and early Chip n’ Dale.

And like the proverbial frog slowly dying in a pot of ever heating toasty warm water, I start to think; he’s okay, he’s doing fine, let’s let him watch some of those shows that are geared towards his age! Yes! Let him have the same experience as all of those other crazy kids! Lets watch the high-speed fast paced world of cartoons created in the last 14 years. Maybe even throw in some shows on Discovery (via Netflix) that he might even find fascinating.

And then it began to happen. Something I had seen before when I tried similar experiments. The behavior. The aggression, towards me, towards the dog. Talking back (more than normal), arguing about every little thing, refusal to do things for himself (like get a glass of water or help around the house) and perhaps most of all, and the basis for my strongly worded hypothesis, a marked increase in his tic.

Isaiah has a tic disorder that began at age 4. It has come and gone, but since allowing television as more of a regular event for the last few years I would say the tic is around more than it is not. I should start calling the tic disorder the I have been watching too much crazy TV barometer.

When Isaiah has been watching any of the more, let’s call it visually stimulating or respect deficient, programs his tic increases in a very noticeable way. He notices it too, but when I say “why don’t you give your brain a break” he insists he doesn’t care.

So, what is the answer?

 

television helicopter

 

I don’t seem to be able to find a happy medium. Truth be told, I don’t believe there is one.

I cannot recreate what I grew up with. A line up of shows that were both entertaining to adults and children a like. In the 70’s and 80’s, primetime didn’t go totally adult until the last hour when it was assumed kids were in bed. You could be sure the first 4 shows were going to be safe for your 8yo. Have you even thought about how much sex there is in the shows during the first hour of primetime now? Which here in the midwest is from 7-8, of course your kids are awake!

So while I attempt to spoon feed my child, he is still drawn to things I don’t even realize he’s aware of. Ninjago is the new thing. It has strong language, violence, belligerence, all the things I want to keep him from. But it’s Legos so how can it be wrong he wants to know.

I leave you without an answer. For this is my lament. I will be the best parent I can. I will do the best I can to filter. But I will blame Hollywood for the creation of a generation of obnoxious, consequence free, disrespectful, attention deficient* children, and I am nervous for the future.

If parents don’t make the decision to be better filters for their children, Hollywood will continue to lower the standards until we are all frog legs on some French dude’s plate.

*I do not believe all ADD is caused by television, however I do believe television can cause it in the sense that if a teacher can’t move as fast as a television show or a video game than how can he be as interesting to a kid as what the child sees on the screen?

 

 

Twisted MixTape #40 – Where Did The Hardy Boys Go Wrong?

mixtape jenkehl 200I think the first time I ever saw Valerie Bertinelli was on The Hardy Boys. She played a really sweet sorority girl, named Wendy, who was scared because her sorority sisters were getting kidnapped. (If you don’t want to be regaled by my unhealthy fascination with 70’s pop culture feel free to skip to the mix….way…..down…..there.)

Turns out she had a “split-personality” and was kidnapping them herself. Oops. Sounds like a pretty big mistake.

Better put that gun down "Gwen"

Better put that gun down “Gwen”

 

Those Hardy Boys, I don’t really know what I ever saw in Shaun Cassidy, his pictures were plastered all over my bedroom wall, but if you ask me, Parker Stevenson, he was the hottie.

Oh Joe, I can't remember! Please stay with me.
Oh Joe, I can’t remember! Please stay with me.

 

Or your next choice:

Frank, where is Joe? I need Joe! What? Why would you want Joe when you have Parker Stevenson right here!
Frank, where is Joe? I need Joe! What? Why would you want Joe when you have Parker Stevenson right here!

 

Meanwhile they gave their prime years to The Hardy Boys and what did it get them? I mean, Kirstie Alley, she sure won, she got to marry Parker Stevenson and he got a little Babewatch Baywatch. And I guess Shaun didn’t do so bad, he had a little Da Doo Run Run and then became a movie Producer. He even got to be on Oprah, blech.

shaun on oprah

Also bit of Trivia, did you know his mom is Shirley Jones of The Partridge Family and his brother is David Cassidy oldest of the Partridges?

But that was it, that was the highlight of their on-screen careers. They gave their lives to be teen idols. Oh yeah, and if you’re under 40 you have no idea what I’m talking about. So go to Netflix and watch yourself some Hardy Boys, catch up.

And for the men, if you were a guy and more into the Nancy Drew part of the plot, your sweet little Pamela Sue Martin decided to give Playboy a try and got the axe after only a year. Of course, if you had a penchant for night-time soap operas, you were happy to see her again as she became an integral part of Dynasty. If you clicked that link you saw, she was never really cut out for a wholesome show like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

pamela sue martin

So who’s to say? Did Shaun or Parker make a mistake by choosing the life of a teenage heart-throb? I mean does anyone really know they are going to become one before they are one? And if someone told you millions of girls would be screaming your name, sending you letters and plastering your face all over their bedroom walls, would you say no?

And then there’s Pamela Sue Martin. Talk about Blurred Lines. Was it really a mistake to pose for Playboy while filming the wholesome Nancy Drew? She did lose her job, but she got an even better one, she got to be on Dynasty! After that it was pretty much small change too.

I guess the moral of this story is, it’s hard to be a 70’s television star and survive the seventiesness of it. That makes me sad, but also kind of happy. I prefer to remember them how they were, back in the old days when I couldn’t wait for the next episode of The Love Boat, or The Dukes of Hazzard – add those folks to the where are they now files too….

But wait, here’s Parker Stevenson now, I don’t know what Kirstie was thinking when she kicked this one to the curb. I can only guess his acting hasn’t improved much since the Hardy Boys if this guy’s not as successful as Indy (Harrison Ford to you).

parker stevenson now

 

Where Did All The Time Go? And What Exactly Did I Do With It?

Wasted Time

(Our theme this week is Past Mistakes, this is my loose interpretation)

The title track for our mix this week is:

Wasted Time by The Eagles – Can you believe I couldn’t find this song on YouTube? So I made my own video. I’m going to be a regular YouTube master soon.

This song is rarely played even though it was an important part of the album Hotel California. Hotel California was a concept album about living in the rat race. Wasted Time is about wondering why… there is also an instrumental reprise of the song on the album, only solidifying how important this little known track is to the album. It is beautifully sung, it’s one of my sing out loud in the car songs..

Wasted on the Way by Crosby, Stills & Nash – Man, I need more CS&N in my life. New Year’s Resolution – listen to more Crosby, Stills & Nash

Oh, when you were young
Did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers who had all the nerve

She’s Not There by The Zombies – Well this guys friends were busy wasting their time instead of telling him all about the ways this girl was going to ruin his life.

Wait In Vain – Bob Marley

Lay Me Down – The Dirty Heads – If I wasn’t totally wasting time watching past episodes of Daryl’s House I never would have happened upon The Dirty Heads. Once I found them I couldn’t stop. (so that’s why this kind of gets to break my wasted time theme)

They drank up all the whiskey and They partied every night
Like it could be the last The bounty said shoot on sight.
So they chased the endless summer Though it came with the pride.
They wouldn’t stop running till They found a paradise.
But the sheriff finally found them with his eyes seeing red.
So the lovers had to shoot him down and fill him full of lead
They were finally free To find a place to lay their head
And when they finally did he looked at her and then he said….

Hold on Loosely by 38 Special – don’t wait around, cause you know she’s gonna leave you dude…

You see it all around you
Good lovin’ gone bad
And usually it’s too late when you
Realize what you had

Thank you for listening! Now share your MixTape with all of us. The best part of this party is we get to hear so much music that may be new, may be forgotten or may be just what you wanted to hear right now.

These are the rules. Five songs (do your best to stick to it, I listen to every mix and I don’t want you to wait). Stick to the theme (as best you can). Check out the other players (everyone wants to share their tunes with you).

Create a mix, not a “hey look at all the cool songs I know” we’re not snobs, if you were our best bud and you were gonna make us a tape, what would it be? And share this party so more people will play next week!

Do me a favor, if you’re a veteran, try and visit at least one person you’ve never visited before.

NOW PLAY

http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=222826

And now, The List of all Lists

January 14 – Let’s stick with the New Year’s Theme – The best new song’s you’ve heard this past year. Can be oldies or new songs, either way they are new to you!
January 21 – Favorite Dance or Club Music. This list was suggested by our own Kir from Kir’s Corner. Her younger brother suddenly passed away last week, but through this tragedy she has a bright spot in her heart. Her brother was a DJ and loved great Dance music. Don’t feel sad, this is to celebrate his life! In her words I know that he would love it, he loved music, he loved people dancing and enjoying themselves.
January 28 – One of your friends is feeling down and needs to feel better. Make a mix to make him/her feel better. This can be songs you know your friend will love or songs meant to cheer someone up. You decide.
February 4 – A mix to Get Motivated. Whether it’s to workout, write or just get out of bed. Mix it up!
February 11 – Love to Love you baby. (Or friend or kid or dog or cat, whatever)
February 18 – We’re back to your choice, play us what you want, we’ll listen!

 

If you’re still here, thanks! I would love it if you checked out my site, Raised on the Radio. It’s a collaboration that includes Linda of Elleroy Was Here and Lance of My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. We are always looking for guest posts, and your Wrong Song Lyrics. So head on over!

Indoctrination Into Thankful

My good friend Lizzi over at Considerings started something a while back called Ten Things of Thankful. It’s an all weekend show where lots of amazing bloggers participate in taking stock, looking at their life and reminding themselves what they have to be thankful for.

I have often wanted to participate, but really struggled with what I would share. My thankfulness has been very private in the past, for I have a very strong belief in my relationship with God and often find my Thankful to be as simple as that. But then I figured since that’s a given, at least for me, I should look into what else I am thankful for. It didn’t take me long to reflect on it and come up with an answer.

And so… I am willingly indoctrinating myself into Ten Things of Thankful. You’re welcome.

 

Angry Birds – I am thankful for Angry Birds, more specifically Bad Piggies, and even more specifically King Pig. The child is obsessed with the Bad Piggies, so much so that he has basically created a life story, in his own mind, about his friends from Theangry birds king pig Pork Side. Today he was playing on the iPad and out of the blue just started chatting.

This is the intelligible part of what he said, and I use that term loosely:
King Pig is his leader and he spends all his happy days in it. It’s the pig burial ground.
and then there was:
Why do they call me King Pig? Because I’m a King and a Pig of course! I miss my mother.
Oh right – why am I thankful for it? Time. Once the Queen of Limiting Screen Time, I now use it as a babysitter. I am not proud folks. But a girls gotta have a minute to herself time to blog.

 

My Child Hasn’t Figured Out My iTunes Password: This really is an extension of the first one, because I am pretty sure he would have spent $49.99 on a new car for King Pig yesterday.

Can I say King Pig is a loose cannon? He would have crashed that thing in under 5 minutes and Isaiah’s college fund would be out the window.

Isaiah is a pretty smart kid, I have to very careful, I fear the day is coming soon when I will find hundreds of dollars charged to my iTunes account.

 

Just Dance 2014 – No, this is not an extension of the first two. I hate to exercise, really….hate…..it. But I just dancelove to dance! Did I mention I hate to exercise. Just Dance 4 was a revelation to me! I could dance for an hour straight and call it exercise! And become the reigning champion! Who wants a dance off? The thing is – a year of Just Dance 4 had me wanting to kill myself if I had to hear Umbrella by Rhianna or The Final Countdown one more time. So just in time to save itself from death by DVD shredder, Just Dance 2014 hit the scene! Now the disco in the basement is back on! BTW I don’t like to be the Panda. But sometimes I have to be the Panda. If you come over, you’re the Panda.

 

Meds – I’m pretty sure this will be on my list every week. Did you know that I was an Evil Dragon Lady once upon a time? It’s true. I always battled mild depression, but after fertility treatments (that never worked so screw them and the horse they road in on not because I wish they did work but because they screwed up my hormones and didn’t even do their job) I found myself completely unable to control my irrational rage and anxiety.

A really pleasant combination.

But then… oh then….beautiful meds. When the Dr. finally figured out the right one for me. Well, let’s say I am still no Sally Sunshine, but at least I am not freaking out on my husband DAILY or having a cow when someone drops a crumb on the floor. (do you know if you type Evil Dragon Lady into google and search for images you will find four pictures of my son from my blog? I don’t know what to make of that.)

 

Amazon Prime – Ah….glorious TV and Movies on Demand. Need I say more? Oh yeah I do – we don’t have cable, so no DVR, and let me tell you folks, that is a deep dark tunnel you may never want to go down if you were raised with TV as your mother in the 70’s like I was. Amazon Prime saved my life.
http://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=breatheparemo-20&o=1&p=21&l=ur1&category=primeent&banner=1F6S3DE1FKJNVA2NM0G2&f=ifr

 

The Boy – If you read my blog this needs no explanation. But if this is one of your first times here, suffice it to say that my 8yo son’s wit is beyond compare, and I do not say that because I am a doting mother. I say that as a completely incredulous mother. IMG_0068If you want to see for yourself, there is a very short list, posted only a few days ago:

He Said What? Top 10 Quotes by the Boy see for yourself.

 

That’s my list. I know there’s only 5, but I’m really scared that I’ll have trouble next week, and I promise to come back next week, but I can’t come back if I can’t think of things and then I’ll get all stressed out and that would really suck. So you get 5.

 

Ok, maybe 6. I am thankful to God every day. For the roof over my head, the food on my table. For taking care of us even when I’m scared that things are too hard. I am also thankful to him for reminding me of that through this verse:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27

I hope you decide to join Lizzi and all her wonderful co-hosts at 10 Things of Thankful. It was a great experience for me, I am Thankful I finally jumped in.

TenThingsBanner

MS-DOS and ESP

Warning: If you are under 38yo this post may make no sense to you.

msdos1

When I was a little kid I thought I could talk to aliens through my computer, and that my best friend was psychic. Those things were not mutually exclusive.

When we were in junior high (because middle school did not exist) we had computer class. Computer class was taught for one quarter instead of typing. Does anyone even need to take typing anymore? I mean it seems like kids come out of the womb using computers now. Anyway…

We took “computer class.” “Computer Class” meant we learned how to run simple commands on a computer using MS-DOS. What is MS-DOS? I have no freaking idea. If I have to answer that question then I say it is the oldest, most archaic computer language that is still used. But I know I’m wrong, so hang-on a sec.

Msdosad

Anywhoo… what I remember is we learned these simple commands. Run and goto (go to), and with those commands we could make our computer screen do fun things. But that was eons ago so I can’t remember specifics.

We had a computer at our house because my father always had to have the latest technology. It was…hmmm 1982? We were on the cutting edge. My best friend and I would love to sit in his home office and “do homework” on his computer. He even set it up in an area so we wouldn’t bother him. Best of all, he couldn’t hear what we were saying.

It really was pretty amazing to see what we could do. But it was also really weird. I mean remember. THERE WERE NO COMPUTERS in people’s homes up until this point. It was almost like magic. To us it was magic.

I don’t know how it happened, but one day, my friend – the psychic one, said “I can talk to the computer.”
“Really??”
“Yes, let’s go to your Dad’s office and try it!”
And so we did. She told me what commands to enter, and I entered them.
Whoa!
You wouldn’t believe what happened! All kinds of crazy characters, and letter combinations showed up all over the screen!
She was right! She was psychic! And somehow we were clearly communicating with aliens!

msdos 2

 

Often times we were thwarted by the dreaded Syntax Error! We were sure this was some other power trying to interfere with our communications.

syntax error

But we persevered. For a week she came to my house everyday. On the weekend she slept over and we sat up all night talking about who these aliens might be, and what else she might know. Being children of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Escape to Witch Mountain, it was no wonder our brains were working overtime.

close encounters

This went on for another week but eventually I got bored. I started to become skeptical of her “powers.” Really, how many times could someone who could speak to the aliens get it so wrong that we would get Syntax Error 20 times in a row? She started to make noise about “losing contact” and “the aliens must be leaving” or “it might have been some other psychic person interfering.”

Well that was fine, we were 12, we had had our adventure and it was time to be on to a new one.  We had heard that if we wrote Scott Baio a letter he might actually write us back! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

scott baio

 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence was: When I was a kid I thought…

FTSF is hosted by the lovely ladies at

Janine Huldie – Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Kate Hall – Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine

Kristi Campbell – Finding Ninee

Stephanie Sprenger – Mommy, For Real

Finish the Sentence Friday

Why Hulu is Not Safe For Kids and Doesn’t Care

devious housemaidsOn July 14th  I wrote this letter:

Dear Hulu,

Thank you so much for showing half-naked woman and violence toward women to my 7-year-old.
Imagine my surprise today – I decided to reactivate my Hulu Plus subscription so my son could watch The Cosby Show – as he sat there waiting patiently for his show to start, half-dressed sexy woman started walking across the screen, followed by images of them in various states of inappropriate dress, and then he saw a clearly dead or badly injured woman being dragged across the floor. BRAVO! That is EXACTLY what I was hoping for when I turned on The Cosby Show for a 7-year-old!
You may be young, and think WHO CARES? Well I care, and many other parents do too. We specifically choose platforms like Hulu and Netflix so that our children will not be subjected to the increasingly inappropriate content poured into their minds through television commercials.

It is unthinkable that Hulu programmers would not take the time to make sure that the commercials they are showing on their various programs are appropriate for the audiences watching them. There is no way that a commercial for Devious Maids (which by the way sounds like something I made up) is appropriate for the same audience that would watch a show like The Cosby’s. I can promise you if my parents saw that fly by when I was watching the show its first time around, that would be its last time too.
Do me a favor and get this email to someone who can actually address my concern. I am hoping to hear back. I will be posting this letter later this week on my blog, which has a fairly high readership and influence, I hope to say that Hulu’s response was satisfactory.
Sincerely,
Jen Kehl
Alright, so maybe I lied about my blog being highly influential. But they didn’t know that. I let it go a little too long, but I guess I was hoping I would hear back. The only response I got was the auto-reply that came after immediately sending this.
Hi,
Thanks for writing. We’re always interested in hearing from you, and
we’ll try to respond as quickly as possible. We can’t answer every
e-mail we receive, but we appreciate all the feedback. If you need any
technical support, we recommend scanning our Help Site first as it
includes the answers to many common questions. You can also contact
our Support team there to get further assistance, or pass along any
feedback. We also have some specific e-mail addresses set up to handle certain
issues. Using one of these e-mail addresses, when appropriate, will
get your note the proper attention more quickly.
* Technical support — support@hulu
* General feedback and suggestions — feedback@hulu
* Press inquiries — media@hulu
* Advertisers — advertisers@hulu
* Publisher sites / device partners  — distribution@hulu
Lastly, please be aware that it is Hulu’s policy not to accept
unsolicited submissions of any kind, including without limitation
scripts, story lines, treatments, outlines, articles, fan fiction,
characters, drawings, information, suggestions, ideas, and/or
concepts.  As stated in our Terms of Use which governs all use of the
Hulu.com website and communications to Hulu through this e-mail
address, Hulu’s policy is to delete any such submission without
reading or reviewing it. Therefore, any similarity between an
unsolicited submission and any elements in any Hulu creative work,
including a film, series, story, title, or concept, would be purely
coincidental.Thanks,

The Hulu Team

So, just incase you are thinking you are safe by sticking your kid in front of Hulu to watch some family friendly show while you wash the dishes. I would say, yeah…. no.  Hulu is not safe for kids if this is what they’re gonna see while you’re not there to jump in front of the screen like a wild woman, spread eagle, hoping to cover the whole screen while you know your kid is trying his darndest to see what it is you’re hiding from him!

Why Read A Parenting Book When You Can Just Watch The Brady’s?

I just got schooled. I guess I had to be here, in this place. This place of banging my head against the wall trying to parent a wacko/pyro 9 almost 10-year-old.

I will start with this admission, I am a total hypocrite. I used to preach no TV until the Roosters Came Home and the Cows Went to Bed. Honestly, I’ll still preach that to you if your kid is 2 or 3. So if you want to hash it out, just tell me your 2-year-old sits in front of a TV, ever.

I have gradually introduced TV into my son’s life for the past few years. I cherry pick what he can watch, we don’t have TV or cable, only Netflix, etc. so I can completely control what enters his malleable brain.

This week, I introduced The Brady Bunch. I picked up the DVD’s at the library – nothing past season 3 – I didn’t want to get into the “boy/girl relationship stuff”. My son is already girl crazy, and has decided he’s going to be a Boobie Scientist so he can study Boobies all day. So there’s that. That’s enough.

We were on a 975 mile road trip, so I let him watch in the car. It was fun for me too. I hadn’t watched The Brady Bunch in about…oh…8 years? I am a child of 70’s TV, so I get the shakes if I don’t watch some laugh-track containing sitcom every few weeks. I get my fix from Three’s Company whenever I can.

So, my son was watching, I was listening. Not being able to see, I was really listening to the dialogue, not all caught up in what Marsha was wearing or how floppy Greg’s hair was. I have to admit I was surprised – I had never watched/listened to The Brady Bunch as a parent. I was struck by the sheer peacefulness of parental interaction – there was a distinct lack of arguing or yelling. I ask you to SUSPEND YOUR DISBELIEF, I know it’s a TV show. But let’s face it; would you yell, roll your eyes or be disrespectful if your parents never yelled or argued with you?

So this is what I learned from Carol and Mike this week:

Don’t yell. 

The end. Alright, not quite the end – but it could be. Here are some things I will admit about my personality: I am impatient, I am a perfectionist and I have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the behavior of a 9 almost 10-year-old. Put these things together with a spirited, strong-willed, pyromaniac and you may experience a modicum of volatility. As I listened to (and later watched) the Brady’s interact, I noticed a pattern. Empathy, Cool-headedness and Disappointment; all leading to Natural Consequences. 

I am not a parenting expert, but I do play one on TV. These things are not foreign to me. For one; intuitively I know these traits are positive ways to deal with a child. Secondly, they work really well for Carol and Mike.

Empathy: Your child is distraught because everyone compares her to her beautiful, successful and popular older sister. So distraught, she decides to distinguish herself by wearing a black curly afro wig to showcase “the new her.” Do you tell her “she’s being ridiculous?” Do you demand she take that thing off right away? Are you angry at her for borrowing money from her brother to buy a hideous piece of  brillo pad disguised as a wig? No. You empathize. You listen to her complaints, you tell her how much you love her and how you see her for who she really is. When that is not enough for her – you support her decision to change her looks and wait for her to learn this valuable life lesson on her own.

Cool-headedness: Your child wants to buy a car. He is 16, you feel confident about his excellent driving abilities. You are happily surprised to learn he has saved over $100 towards the purchase of a car, and encourage him to keep saving. However, when you come home later, you discover that he has gone behind your back and purchased a car, even though he said he would wait for your opinion before spending his money. Do you yell at him for making such a stupid decision? Do you go on a tirade about what a hunk of junk he bought? Do you refuse to even speak to him until he gets his money back? No. You listen to him. He is confident that he can make it work, and you give him the opportunity to fulfill this desire. All the while, never making a snide comment or derisive remark about how hard it will be. You give him a chance to work it out on his own, while being supportive, and allow him to learn from his own mistakes.

Disappointment: Your son has “borrowed” your tape-recorder and eavesdropped on the conversations of all his siblings. Then he has shared their private information – and for his own entertainment, sits back to watch the fireworks fly. Using your already proven cool-headedness, you observe the situation and realize only one child is not in the throes of this argument. Instead of calling him out, in an angry fashion, in front of his siblings; you ask him to have a private conversation with you. From the moment he enters the room you have a look of disappointment on your face, thus already weakening his defenses. You then ask him why he seems to be the only one unaffected by the breach of privacy. The look of disappointment he sees on both of your faces is more than he can bear and he breaks down and tells the truth. You explain to him in a logical and empathetic manner why what he did was wrong and then tell him his punishment is having to face his 5 other siblings and tell them the truth. Thus having to face the natural consequences of his actions.

 

Here are the facts: It is impossible to live up to the standards of a fictional, perfect family and marriage. However, it is possible to learn from it.

For the past three days I have attempted to channel my inner Carol and Mike. I have been amazed and pleasantly surprised that after reading 512 books on the subject, following the examples of these television icons has been the most effective parenting tool yet. You may think I am over-simplifying, but I would disagree. While my son is banging his car on the window creating an annoyingly loud noise as well as a situation where something is going to break, my first instinct is to yell from wherever I am. This accomplishes two things, he can hear me over the din and he stops – briefly. My new method is – in my regular voice – I walk up to him and say “Sweetie, could you please stop doing that?” He looks at me, and says “OK.” If he does do it again, I repeat myself and this time not only does he agree, but I also get an apology! It would be impossible to regale you with all of the opportunities I have had to use these techniques this week. I will tell you this. I have noticed a marked improvement in his behavior and I believe that it is all in relationship to me. If I am his model, and I am yelling or getting angry, then who is teaching him to yell or get angry back? Seems like a ridiculous question when in writing. The miraculous thing is that while he was confused and annoyed by my change in behavior at first, even accusing me of mocking him, he eventually began to respond positively and then even anticipate what I would say by just a look.

I don’t know where we will go from here. I notoriously fall back into bad habits when under stress, and sometimes I just plain forget the important lessons I have learned. However, I am hoping to keep this one in the front of my brain where the sticky stuff is; because whether you think I’m crazy or not, if I have to choose between Carol Brady and The Evil Dragon Lady, I chose my girl Carol every day of the week.

What?!! You Cancelled My Show?

So here I am on vacation thinking of making a vacation playlist, but feeling easily distracted. So I headed over to Stasha at Northwest Mommy to see what her Monday Listicles was going to be. Imagine my surprise when I saw that this week’s list is going to be:

 

 

Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Well I’m definitely in the right place. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. But I mean – What?! – of course the Woody Allen in me says it’s Kismet. So thank’s for sending a vibe my way Stasha, it would have been a bummer to miss my own list and I am so psyched you picked my topic – even more psyched to do it. Cause you know I had that list of cancelled TV shows in my brain already or I wouldn’t have asked.

So, in no particular order. The Shows That Should Have NEVER Been Cancelled:

The Starter Wife – One season USA? ONE SEASON??? This show rocked. It rocked so hard, Debra Messing…need I say more? The life of an ex-wife of a film making mogul in a world where she doesn’t matter anymore. A star-studded cast, an amazingly funny show… USA I will never forgive you.

 

GCB – If you never got to watch this show, you missed some seriously good humor. Apparently the religious right (which I don’t usually slam) found this show to be over the top. WHAT??? Not even one whole year…. not even. In its series finale, GCB drew 5.6 million viewers!! Come on!

 

Star Trek Next Generation – OK I’m pulling the Star Trek card. Sorry, I just can’t help it. My devotion to this show, and the devotion of MILLIONS of other people.  “Although the cast members were contracted for eight seasons, Paramount ended The Next Generation after seven, disappointing and puzzling some of the actors, and an unusual decision for a successful television show. Although doing so let the studio begin making films using the cast, which it believed would be less successful if the show were still on television, the main reason was that additional seasons would likely have reduced the show’s profitability due to higher cast salaries and a lower price per episode when sold for stripping. The decision also encouraged viewers to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the forthcoming Star Trek: Voyager, both of which were much cheaper to make than The Next Generation. The show’s strong ratings continued to the end; the series finale was ranked No. 2 among all shows that week, between fellow hits Home Improvement and Seinfeld.” -wiki

 

Better off Ted – I’m sorry I do not want to offend anyone, but this show just may have been the funniest show of all time. Thank you Wikipedia for working for me: Better Off Ted revolves around the employees of a stereotypically evil company. The company, Veridian Dynamics, experiments on its employees, twists the truth, and will stop at nothing to achieve its goals. It has been mentioned that Veridian has swayed presidential elections, created killer pandas and robots, weaponized pumpkins, and that there are only three governments left in the world which are more powerful than Veridian. Although not promoted as such, and rarely the focus of storylines, the show’s frequent references to futuristic technologies, killer robots, sentient computers, etc., places Better Off Ted at least partially in the science fiction genre.

 

Eureka – OK so there’s no Star Trek anymore…no Better Off Ted, but there was Eurkea. Eureka was the perfect blend of sci-fi and humor. So awesome…so amazing…so addictive! And then BOOM! Thank you so much syfy network for ruining my life! Once again I’m letting The Syfy Channel do the work for me: With the help of Albert Einstein and other trusted advisors, President Harry S. Truman commissioned a top-secret residential development in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest, one that would serve to protect and nurture America’s most valuable intellectual resources. Thus, the town of Eureka was born. But for all its familiar, small-town trappings, things in this secret hamlet are anything but ordinary. The stereotype of the absent-minded professor exists for a reason, and most of the quantum leaps in science and technology during the past 50 years were produced by Eureka’s elite researchers. Unfortunately, scientific exploration is rarely what one expects, and years of experiments gone awry have yielded some peculiar by-products.

 

Men in Trees – Anne Heche starred in this funny – just plane old good TV show. The storyline according to IMDB: A relationship-advice guru, upon learning that her fiancé is cheating on her, decides to stay in a small town in Alaska, the most recent stop on her book tour. It’s in this remote town, where the ratio of men to women is ten to one, she realizes she can truly learn about the subject she thought she knew so well — how to find, and keep, a good man.

 

Twin Peaks – If you haven’t seen this show, I don’t even know how to describe it. I do know that the pilot episode was ranked the #25th best TV episode of ALL-TIME by Tv Guide. Yet it was cancelled? Two Seasons? Huh?

 

Samantha Who? –  I really loved this show. So funny such an original story line. And Christina Applegate? How could you not love her? Stolen from IMDB: “ABC’s” new hit comedy series “Samantha Who?” is certainly funny and the plot theme is centered around a neat concept of amnesia of a young lady named Samantha. It’s something that we as viewers hope never happens to us, that being memory loss, and then all of a sudden we awake and slowly have to learn about our friends and family. The big questions as the show goes on how will the new Samantha be a fun loving angel and nice girl trying to regain place of memory, or will she return to her devilish and partying ways of being promiscuous and wild.

 

$#*! My Dad Says – I’m sorry, but you had me at William Shatner. This show was seriously funny. Seriously, and Will said some things I would have liked to have said. Thank you wiki: Ed is a very opinionated 72-year-old who has been divorced three times. His two adult sons, Henry and Vince, are accustomed to his unsolicited and often politically incorrect rants. When Henry, a struggling writer and blogger, can no longer afford his rent, he is forced to move back in with Ed, which creates new issues in their tricky father-son relationship. As weeks go by Henry is unable to find a job as a writer, mostly due to the lack of good material. He finally lands a job, when during his interview Ed interrupts with an irrational phone call that sparks the interest of the eccentric editor conducting the interview. Henry is ultimately hired, but is forced to continue living with Ed in order to have readily-available material via his father’s unsolicited rants, hence the title $#*! My Dad Says.

 

Remington Steele –  And then there was Pierce Brosnan. I am not so shallow as to say that the ONLY reason I watched that show was because I got to watch this handsome debonaire heart-throb with the sexy british accent. I actually watched this show because my secret desire was to be a Private Detective, and if Laura Holt could do it, so could I. So get this, they cancelled the show in the 5th season while it still held the #2 spot! Then the outpouring of outrage by viewers caused the network to re-instate the show. HOWEVER, Albert R Broccolli had already contacted Pierce Brosnan and offered him the part of James Bond in the movie The Living Daylights. So they created the last season as a series of 6 made for TV movies, and that was the end. It was bittersweet. I lost my favorite show, but I gained my second favorite James Bond. So there’s that. (Meanwhile, I feel my desire for that show is satisfied by Castle now on ABC, it’s like Remington Steele only backwards and with the cops)

 

For the fact that I have no time at all to watch TV these days – thank you blogging – I do have a varied and intense history with television. I am a child of the 70’s, which by it’s nature means a child of television, so of course I take it personally when my favorite show’s are cancelled. TV is my mother after all.