Pancakes, Paintings and Puppets

Last weekend, while the rest of the country took the national holiday to sleep late, go shopping, watch television, catch up on household chores or administrative tasks (or maybe even work a little), I had charge of Baby. Like banks, brokerage houses and most government functions, her nursery school was closed in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. Running after a two-year-old is one thing, but designing activities to keep her developing mind entertained and interested is another, especially because Hubby and I do not subscribe to cable television. I started the day by letting her help me mix pancake batter for breakfast, and by the time her mid-day nap rolled around, we had completed two art projects, one puzzle and played cheerful interactive children’s songs.

The day’s exertions wore me out a little, but that’s a good thing. That morning, as I drummed up ideas for the day’s activities, happy memories of art projects from my schooldays came flooding back. Baby liked putting together the paper bag puppet—with my guiding hand, of course! I also hope she had fun seeing different colors come about by mixing primary and secondary ones for her finger painting. It was worth the effort, and if I was tired, it was my own fault. I was running on six hours’ sleep from the night before (bad habit), and hadn’t had any coffee during the day. By the time late afternoon rolled around, I was off making dinner and I think Little Sister watched about 30 minutes of a Dora the Explorer adventure with Baby.

Hubby and I decided years ago to forego watching cable television, mainly to simplify our busy lives already filled with work, travel and our bi-state relationship. Over the years, broadcast television dropped off as well, because of the sham agreement between the FTC and cable carriers to convert all analog television channels to digital. We just didn’t want to pay an extra fee for a form of entertainment that doesn’t mean much to us. If we must watch something from network TV, we try to catch it for free online, Hubby will wait for it to come out through Netflix,  or buy I’ll try to buy the episode from iTunes or someplace else. It’s all for the best. We can’t possible sit still to watch much television, with the demands of a young family. Sometimes, though, we do betray our fraying connection to popular culture. For instance, Hubby is among the tiny minority of men in America who don’t watch ESPN or Sportsline, and I am one of the few black women in America who hasn’t seen a single, solitary episode of Myles of Style.

I’ll have to rectify that situation via iTunes, if possible. There were rumors that the show had been canceled. I hope not! I’ve seen magazine photo spreads of Kim Myles’ creative work, and I’ve been floored.

As for Little Sister and Baby, we think they will be one of the few young people to never be enthralled by video games. Although I do think it is important for kids to be current with their times and to be media wise, too, sometimes Hubby just shakes his head at the whole idea of video games. He thinks they do very little good, even as a form of entertainment. In the end, we really do want to encourage Little Sister and Baby to have the sorts of minds that stimulate their world, rather than be over stimulated by it.

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