unstructured time, or, don’t unplug that TV just yet: a cautionary tale

An entire weekend day with nothing to do.  Most of the schools have let out for the summer, families have packed up for month-long vacations elsewhere, and the temperature outside is in triple digits. We’re inside sucking down the AC (carbon footprint be damned), each of us in a separate corner of the house.

Caleb has announced he’s writing a “made-up fiction book” about dragons. Title of forthcoming epic? Dragon Malice.  I think it’s going to be huge.

Liam bought himself a science kit about circuits and is reading through the manual figuring out how to blow up the world create a circuit that would power a small lightbulb.

I think to myself “self, look at these independent creative kids you have. wow, you are a stellar mom. a rock-star mom to have these kids who can entertain themselves and be all in their heads,  alert the media because you have got this mommying bitch knocked, you should write a parenting blog or something.”

Ah, hubris.

Caleb: What cultures believed in dragons? China, Japan…what other ones? I need a list

er…Mexico? Aztecs?

Liam: I need a lemon. Two lemons. And some vinegar. Where’s the vinegar?

no lemons, a few limes, vinegar in the cabinet left of the stove

Liam: I can’t reach it.

Caleb: Do you have smaller paper? I want book-sized paper. Like The Borrowers book, that size.

tiny? like a book The Borrowers would read?

Caleb, curt: No. Just the size of that story. Duh.

Liam: What about apples? Do you have more vinegar? Where’s the salt? Hold this light-bulb for me, right here. No, here.

Caleb: Can we do it on the computer? Can I use your computer?

Liam: Do you have some pennies? What about zinc? Or what about juice, do you have some juice?

fresh out of zinc, I’m afraid. Tinfoil? Pennies, try in the drawer in the living room.

Caleb: Do we have any books about dragons? I need to look at some pictures to help with illustrations.

I think it’s back in New York. What about your mythic magical creatures book?

Liam: I can’t find the pennies. Where did you say they are?

Caleb: Where’s the formatting button on the computer?

Liam: What about soil? Can I use an ice tray and put soil in it, to make mud? Mud is a conductor, right?

Caleb: Did Norway have dragons? What about Sweden? Do we have a dragon book? I asked you already.

Liam: Come look! I made the light flicker! Come look NOW!

Caleb: Let me read you what I wrote so far, you have to LISTEN!

Does anyone want to watch TV? Would you like me to put on a movie? How about a nice video game. If you start now, you could probably hit about twenty levels before bedtime. Wouldn’t that be fun?

 the science station


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8 Responses to unstructured time, or, don’t unplug that TV just yet: a cautionary tale

  1. KSB July 1, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Hmmm…. I see apples, pineapple, and limes. All you need is some brie, cheddar, and tequila or jin!

  2. Arnebya July 1, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I can so visualize this and it has my laughing pretty damn hard: come on, who wants candy and cable?

    • Deborah Quinn July 4, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      all those words about “MY kids won’t watch tv…” when they were babies…Right out the window. There are days where I’m practically begging them to just PLUG IN.

  3. Stephanie July 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Bahahaha! This cracked me up. TV can be a beautiful, beautiful thing.

    • Deborah Quinn July 4, 2012 at 7:54 am #

      All my fine high-minded sentiments about how MY kids weren’t going to be attached to the idiot box (ignoring my own love for “Burn Notice”) … right out the window. During these long hot hot hot days, I find myself thinking “hey, movie marathon would be a great idea…”

  4. MOV July 8, 2012 at 3:33 am #


    stephanie at clay baboons sent me over here, I will be back for more!!!


    • Deborah Quinn July 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

      thanks for stopping by! that stephanie has great taste 🙂
      (and she’s pretty good with clay, too!)

  5. Youngman Brown July 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    I hope you realize how brilliant this post is.

    And thank God our future has some hope. It is entirely in your children’s hands.

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