Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why the Ducklings Get Hungry and Bored

We really don't set out to be weird. We do things the way we like to do them and are happy to let everyone else do things the way they like. Every once in awhile, though, we bump up against more normal people and realize we are aliens.

This weekend I realized that normal people keep their kids well supplied with snacks and drinks. I never remember this. If I'm heading out on a very long expedition, or if DOB is along, I will remember to supply them with water. We have a snack at the kitchen table in the mid-afternoon, to help us survive until supper time. Other than that, I prefer not to think about or mess with food and dishes more than the, oh, five hours a day I must anyway.

As far as I can tell, this regime does not bother the ducklings. But many small children seem to need a constant supply of goldfish crackers and juice to survive. I wonder when they ever have a chance to make the delightful transition from being genuinely hungry to being comfortably full. Of more concern, I wonder how they can learn to distinguish between being hungry and being bored.

Then again, being bored is also a pleasure many small children seem to be denied these days, as they have something to watch at all hours of the day, and in every room or car they might enter. Now, I'm hugely fond--probably too fond--of video-based entertainment forms. But anything that runs all day every day is hardly going to be much fun any more. I would hate for the ducklings, when their brains are old enough to handle videos, to have the fun drained out of movies by never having the chance to anticipate watching them.

So, I'm a mean mommy. At five-fifteen in the afternoon, I am often an overrun-with-hungry-and-bored children mommy. But I stick to my guns, because I like space and time and rhythm in my day: a time to be hungry and a time to be full, a time to work and a time to play, a time to think and a time to be entertained.


the Joneses said...

Yes, I never did the take-snacks-along thing much either. Or juice. My kids never had juice. Of course, now that they're older, they like going over to neighbors' houses because WE never have snacks like fruit chews and Capri Sun bags. I'm seeing my childhood repeat itself.

Addie learned to tell time because she had to know when it was the 9:00 a.m. video time. That time, increased from half-hour to an hour, is now 1:00, and Stuart's interested in learning time now. Surely that counts as educational?

-- SJ

Queen of Carrots said...

Well then, you're all the better equipped to know that they'll appreciate it when they grow up. :-)

If you can tell time by when it's time to watch videos, it sounds educational to me. It's the videos as a nonstop part of the landscape that I think cannot be beneficial in any dimension.