Updated: Apr 3, 2020
I have started to use TV in a way that I'd never envisaged before becoming a parent. Gone are the days where I vigilantly look at my clock, or even set a timer on my phone (!!) so that Grace doesn't go over the recommended 30-minute allowance of TV per day. And when I think back to the guilt I felt for putting Paw Patrol on so I could have an uninterrupted shower, knowing she was safe - because I was allowing her TV before she was 2 years old and thus going against the national recommendation. Wow, if my earlier self could see my current self...
These days it can be an hour and a half before I even think to look at the clock and decide 'oh, I think it's time to get Grace away from those cartoons'. It can be a stunning amount of daily TV and the increasingly-clear thing about it is that it can easily creep into almost every hour.
We didn't have a TV before, so I wasn't used to it as background noise and I was pretty sensitive to the sound of it. Now Hey Duggee can play with abandon and the theme tune is so familiar it's like something from my itunes playlist. The truth is, it is so tempting to stick the box on a lot and there are so many points in the day when the temptation is sky-high. Let's just run through them...
The first brilliant slot for TV is the Dawn slot: 6am. 'Can we go downstairs now, Mummy?', Grace whispers in my ear as I lie under the duvet, protected from the pitch black outside. This is a golden opportunity for CBeebies, Channel 202. To think I didn't even know the number, in what feels like a distant and previous life! All I have to do is guide Gracie down the stairs, try not to wake Isaac and hey presto I can go back to bed (ish).
Now, when I'm back downstairs (usually not more than about 20 minutes later, sadly), it also seems to make sense to keep the TV on. I can get breakfast quietly and tackle a few of the kitchen jobs and let the clouds in my head settle, as I put the kettle on for my first cup of tea (Teasmade still not purchased). It stops Gracie and Isaac from squabbling; it protects my sanity.
But then after breakfast is also the perfect time for cartoons. I need to go upstairs and get ready, maybe listen to a podcast, hop in the shower. It's so easy to just leave CBeebies running... Mr Tumbles doesn't seem to mind.
Then there's the 9.30/10am slot, where I have to get Isaac down for his morning nap, to stop him from cranking incessantly, as he is wont to do. This is also a really handy time for ... guess what?
Then when Isaac's asleep... a possible half an hour to myself, if Gracie is occupied by the cartoons downstairs and I can see she's safe and well on the monitor. Gosh, we're already at roughly 3 and a half hours of TV-babysitting.
Then there's the mid-afternoon nap, the 4pm slot when I need to make dinner and the 'witching hours' between 4 and 6. Oh, and the times when Michael works late and I'm just crashing at 7pm and I need someone to help with bedtime so Max and Ruby seem like willing - nay, competent - helpers.
I think it's time for Gracie to start nursery...