My kids love on-demand TV. Their TV consumption is, of course, strictly rationed and consists of only the highest-quality educational programmes. Except during the school holidays, when it’s just a free-for-all in the vein of Survivor: School Holidays Edition. As the days progress, my grand plans for activities and crafts go out the window and I’m just brandishing the TV remote at them, shouting, “I give up! Here’s the Immunity Idol!” If my kids and I were on that programme, I’d have been voted off the island almost immediately. The tribe has spoken, and the tribe wants Netflix.
It’s not just Netflix. It’s Lightbox, too. And also this thing called Crunchyroll, which apparently has anime 24/7. Oh, and TVNZ OnDemand and ThreeNow. They flick between all of these services with their lightning-fast little reflexes. In the time it’s taken me to type this sentence, they’d have already managed to turn on the TV, boot up Netflix, find a programme, and start watching it. I, on the other hand, don’t even know which button to push on the remote. Remotes. Plural. Because we have several. With buttons that mean absolutely nothing to me.
Sometimes the kids deign to permit me to join their school holiday TV bingefest. You’d think I’d leap at the opportunity to go hide in my closet and eat chocolate when they’re zombied out in front of the screen, but no. When they’re watching something is the only time they’re still and quiet. And I love it. In fact, the last day of school hols, they were so still and quiet while watching whatever technicolour dream was playing out on our TV screen that I actually fell asleep on the sofa and had a 45-minute nap.
And when I woke up, abruptly, panicked that they’d taken advantage of my inattention to burn the house down, dye the dog purple, or find and eat all the cookies I’d hidden in the freezer. But no. They were in exactly the same spot they’d been in when I fell asleep. I’m not sure they moved a muscle the whole time.
Almost immediately the two little mum-devils who rest on my shoulders started arguing. Devil Mum crowed that I’d invented a new way to get some extra sleep, because I’m always complaining about not getting enough sleep and now I had found a surefire method. Angel Mum reminded me that my kids would get square eyes and scurvy and vitamin-D deficiency and Playstation tans.
I’m not sure what the next school holidays will be like. I mean, I do try to make plans. But they’ve outnumbered me, you see, and after a day or two of my chirpy, well-meaning attempts to engage them in activities they clearly don’t want to do, they start to wear me down. There are three of them (plus the dog), and one of me. They’re fast and they have so much energy to burn. I, on the other hand, fall asleep on the sofa with the TV on. I’m that mum. I guess this is my life now.