Feed on

Our Little Addict

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. My family’s struggle with addiction, present in the generations above me and something I’ve wrestled with myself, was supposed to end with Simon. We changed our entire lives in the year before he arrived, theoretically closing the door forever on the lost hours and days, the shame, and the mind-numbing effects of addiction. And yet, at the tender age of two, the signs are all present: He’s testy. He’s combatative. It’s even getting harder and harder for Simon to get his “fix”. Each day he demands a bit more, forever chasing that elusive, unrepeatable first high.

Yup, there’s no doubt about it. Simon has a terrible addiction to television. Sigh. How did we go off the rails so early? He saw no TV at all for his first full year, and very little for his second. When school started in August, we began watching Curious George and maybe a little Clifford while changing him in the morning. And then on the weekends we’d turn on Thomas. We had things under control for a while there: He was a recreational user; we could have stopped any time we wanted to.

Then two things happened. First, he got sick and spent several days on the couch with no energy to play or read. And secondly, we began recording George and Thomas, so that we could watch these favorites at any time. Now we are seeing (or, perhaps, reaping) the unforeseen consequences of this not-so-serendipitous collision of events.

Now we have a child who will spontaneously climb up on the couch, pick up the remote, point to the TV, and grunt at us. If we play stupid and ignore him, he shrieks. If we turn on something boring, say C-Span 2, he knows it’s a trick and throws a colossal fit. No, the only thing that tames the savage beast is George.

Or Thomas. And he demands more George or Thomas all the time. If a half-hour was good in August, he wants three half-hour sessions today. It’s getting out of control, and I’m not really sure what to do. Distract him? Stand my ground and stay in the living room but insist on leaving the TV off? Throw the blasted thing out a window? Cave in?  I’m a bit lost here. All I know is that we must end the cycle now.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.