Saturday, September 03, 2005

Keeping Steven Busy

One of my biggest challenges this summer has been keeping Steven occupied. He loved school, which had both structure and lots of friends to play with. But this summer was another story.

Every morning he would leap out of bed and whip through his chores, and then he didn’t know what to do with himself. He would wander around the house like a restless ghost, and the only thing he really wanted to do was watch videos. We limit videos—games, movies, whatever—to half an hour a day, so that never occupied him for long and he’d be back to his aimless wandering or, worse, vaulting over the back of the couch or turning all the knobs and dials on Ben’s old-but-precious stereo.

So, I would be constantly trying to channel his energies. "Go shoot ten baskets." "Sit here and read this book for half an hour." "Come help me weed the garden."

I guess I’ve been spoiled by five children who for the most part have been exceptionally good at entertaining themselves, so it was a new one for me to have this son who didn’t have any interests to pursue on his own.

But just the last few days I’ve seen the tide slowly turning. Two days ago Steven went outside and ate grapes off the vine for about half an hour. (No stomachache yet.) Yesterday he and Jenny made little paper boats and sailed them in the bathroom sinks. Today he played with Legos for at least an hour, maybe two.

This is a great relief and joy.

Quote of the Day:
"You’re lucky because you have your veil on so the pine tree can’t poke you."
--Steven, to Amy


  1. "We limit videos—games, movies, whatever—to half an hour a day"

    My heartfelt sympathies to Matt, Amy, et. al.

  2. My kiddos think yours are lucky--we allow no videos during the summer unless its a special family nite or they are at friends!!!Poor deprived souls!!:)

  3. reg'd the veil as protection: That must make all the Muslim women that completely cover themselves extra lucky and protected, right?
    And All this time I thought God judged the heart, not the externals....

  4. Rod in the ME: He was talking about physical protection, not spiritual...

  5. Hans--come now. I need all the support I can get, mean heartless mom that I am.
    Rod--Steven's comment was about pine needles poking his head more than Amy's.

  6. I know, Dorcas. I debated a bit before I posted it, then I thought, "Oh well... for freedom!!" *grin* Sorry if I was doing some blatant parent-undercutting.

    Let me clarify a bit: I definitely agree with video limiting (though is does seem tough to finish LOTR (9 hour total) in .5 hour; even shorter movies are usually at least an hour); they really have no practical benefit (especially watching the same movie over and over), though they are entertaining. On the other hand, I am very grateful that my parents were liberal in limiting computer use. If they would have had strict limits (they had undefined limits; they wouldn't let me be on the computer all day, but there were no hard and fast limits) I probably wouldn't know anything (or certainly not nearly so much) about my livelihood & hobby: computers and technology.

    Just another perspective.

  7. Hans--my kids can save up video time to watch a longer movie. Matt, the resident LOTR fan, is 19 and therefore not subject to the strict timing of the pre-teens.
    I see slow-action stuff (writing emails, computer math games) as different from fast-action snowboarding games or kids' videos and thus not subject to the same rules.

  8. Oh, well, that's an entirely different matter all together. Thanks for the clarification! "Roll-over minutes" (as we call them in the cell phone industry) are really a great benefit to a video limiting plan.