Wednesday, July 18, 2007

TV Or Not TV

I was reading the Yarn Harlot's blog from July 16th. She had been deemed an uncool mom because she does not allow her teen aged girls to watch TV before 4 pm in the afternoon. I do not have the same rule per se, primarily because one of my girls is not awake during daylight hours and the other one demands much more social stimulation than sitting around watching TV. However, these things, though they do not cause "The TV Fight", cause other battles.

I went to bed last night, relatively early for me (10:45), having done the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. I awoke this morning to a sink full of dirty dishes. After ranting and raving for a good while at the father of the alleged, because said perpetrator was asleep of course, I left to take Erin to theater rehearsal telling the father that I expected the kitchen to be spotless when I returned. I really did not care how that was accomplished, I just wanted it done.

When I got home some five hours later, the dishes were done, but the counters were not cleared and cleaned. I was forced to rant some more at the now upright child.. Why can't you clean up after yourself? When you go to college next month, who do you think is going to clean up after you? NO ONE! You will not be allowed to use any common spaces because you are such a slob! If I wake up one more morning to a dirty kitchen when I went to bed with a clean one, you will lose your cooking privileges for a week!

Teenagers really hate it when their weaknesses are pointed out. And of course, there is always a comeback that is intended to make me feel like a stupid, incompetent idiot. How do you expect me to do the dishes when the dishwasher is running?! Hmm. Wait for it to finish? I can't do the dishes if YOU run the dishwasher when you go to bed. You are up all night; the dishwasher only runs for 90 minutes. I can't do the dishes if the dishwasher is full! Maybe you should wash them by hand. Deep silence fell upon the teen aged mouth. We'll see what happens . . .

So, cooking instead of watching TV has its drawbacks.

Erin has been re-reading the Harry Potter books in anticipation of the release of the last book on Friday, so she has not watched much TV either. I am not sure she has eaten at all during this week of reading frenzy. She has not even spent much time on the phone or instant messaging:however, she also has not done any of her summer reading for school or cleaned her room. But, Erin will be up to speed with Harry Potter.

Gone are the days when crayons and an endless supply of paper were all that was necessary for several hours of summertime entertainment. When she is watching TV, Brooke spends much of her time watching the tattoo shows on TLC (I think it is TLC.) She is fascinated with the entire process. Over the past few years, she has created a notebook with her own tattoo designs. Rumor has it that some of them have made it to the bodies of some of her friends, but I have not actually seen confirmation of this. Nonetheless, she keeps drawing them. My desire is that her fascination will stop with the designing and not extend to the wearing of tattoos. I am safe for at least five more months. I have tried to convince her that what seems (and looks) like a good idea at 18 may lose something in the translation to 60, 70, or 80.

BK told me a joke the other day about a woman who had a rose tattooed on her breast when she was young. Now, as a senior citizen, she says that it has become a long-stemmed rose. You get the picture.

Because she can't legally get a "real" tattoo and because Brooke likes to draw designs, she spends many of her waking hours drawing tattoos on her body with Sharpies. This has kind of an appeal. The colors are great and nothing is permanent. Because of this, I actually look forward to seeing what image she comes up with next. Some of them are quite intricate.

Here are the designs from a few weeks ago.

The amazing part to me is that she is able to draw them on herself. Sometimes she spends hours creating a design. After a shower, they are gone. The whole process reminds me of the sand drawings that the Tibetan monks take days to do and then they are gone in only a few seconds. The good news is that then the "canvas" is cleared for the next moment of inspiration.

So the TV thing, well, there are days when I am sure my girls spend too much time watching it, but all in all, I think it balances out. Thankfully, they realize that their brains may turn to mush if they spend too much time in front of the TV.

Tonight I will hope for either inspiration for a new tattoo design or mindless TV so that Brooke will not feel compelled to cook. Right now the kitchen is clean. It is in her best interest that it stay that way! She will starve if her kitchen privileges are revoked. Because you don't cook anything that I can eat! Should she reach the point of starvation, she will notice that the emaciated look, like age, has ill effects on body art.