Saturday, October 10, 2009

NatureBoy vs The Small Screen

Today Seattle Public Schoolkids have a day off. This is the day where we can catch up on quality time with our kids (or panic about babysitting). Of course, seeing the cool sunshine I thought it would be a great opportunity to take the boys Outdoors. My first suggestion was Discovery Park but Frost was worried that would take too long so we compromised with Carkeek.

My first inkling that things were not so hunky dory was Frost's attempt to make me promise that we would be no longer than an hour. Since part of my motivation to go to Carkeek was its proximity to Swanson's Nursery (where I needed to buy some bark chip and heather for the front yard) I wasn't going to promise a short trip. INstead I promised a cookie at Swanson's Cafe.

As soon as we arrived at Carkeek the boys were thrilled. There was a log smouldering in the firepit which Frost poked and prodded. A train came by and we waved and the drivers SAW US AND WAVED BACK. A crazy man was walking along with a satchel filled with bread pieces and appeared to be training a vast flock of wild crows to follow him (he walked off up the trail ahead of us dropping bread pieces like Hansel and Gretel. The crows followed him through the wood eating the pieces. It was quite peculiar but quite scenic.)

We could hear seagulls, Frost slid down the big cement salmon-slide (and tried to persuade Wren who felt it was "too scary because that is a dark place").

I was just settling into congratulating myself on getting the Kids Out into The Open Spaces when Frost told me it was time to go. We had been there half an hour. "I have TWO HOURS of screentime and I want to get home."

I suggested we climb a trail. He headed up moaning about the trail. Wren felt anxious about the moaning and moaned too. He was worried a train might come through the forest because the big fast train had scared him.

I said it would not.

Frost said I didn't UNDERSTAND: "Daddy, Wren and I are inside people, we like to be at home and relaxing and doing screentime things. You are a person who likes to be outside and do active things."

I reminded him that we used to call him Natureboy and that he loved coming hiking and looking for mushrooms and seeing salmon and walking in the rain.

He seemed confused. "Well, I like that sometimes but now it is completely freezing and I am boiling hot from climbing this hill."

I let that puzzle be but suggested he try and run down the trail like cross-country training. Frost loves PE at school and was interested in the idea. He headed off fast. When we returned to the field I said we could go home now (we had survived one hour in the wild local park) if he did some exercise running around the field. He jogged around the field and then checked his pulse as he has learned in PE. It was not accelerated.

Frost said "I need to run fast for muscular conditioning and cardio-respiratory endurance. At least that is what I think it is."

I suggested he jog and then sprint across the field. He did. That made his heart thud so he felt he had achieved his exercise goal and got into the car.

All the way home from Swansons the boys bickered. Would Wren get to watch a Diego before his nap or would Frost have screentime first to play Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii?

I am contemplating all out screentime blackout days to reduce nagging and increase appreciation of my unstimulating nature jaunts.

PS. The picture is courtesy of Shirt.woot


nautilus said...

Oh dear, the TV is such a demanding, ever competing presence. I am amazed that Frost has it in his mind for so long - ie: that he is missing out on something on TV.
The Aussies have just come up with a recommendation for young kids and TV viewing: "New federal guidelines for parents and carers say children should be banned from watching television until they turn two, warning that it can stunt language development and shorten their attention span.

The first official recommendations on children's viewing habits also say television time should be limited to an hour a day for children aged two to five." you can see it here:

Shannon said...

Mum, I am really getting fed up with Frost's persistant view that the ultimate FUN is playing his game on screen. ULTIMATE fun. Everything else is an obligation removing him from the screen for a defined period. He even wrote about his new game in his writing journal at school, which made me cringe.