Tags: Parenting, Party and Entertainment
We decided to have a family Netflix night. We picked a night. We picked a movie. We made popcorn.
There was just one problem: We have a smart tv.
That thing isn’t very smart.
Or maybe “smart” refers to what the user must be in order to get the thing to work. The only thing we can ever do on our smart tv is watch DVDs. (And yes, there are people who still watch DVDs. Four of us.) After 30 minutes of trying to get the movie to play on the not-very-smart-“Smart-tv,” we watched it on our PC. By then, the mood was just about killed, and all the popcorn and candy were gone. At last, we sat huddled in front of the computer, ready for movie night. Well, not exactly “huddled.” More like my husband and children squished onto the loveseat that they had dragged in front of the computer while I got to sit on a dining room chair. (Which was fine. No one was climbing all over me.)
The movie was “Yes Day.” The kids, of course, thought the premise was the best thing ever: The parents say “yes” to whatever the kids want for an entire day. Imagine the chaos (ahem, I mean fun) that could ensue when the family overindulges on ice cream for breakfast, leaves the windows down as they go through the car wash, and the mother gets arrested for fighting with another patron over an oversized, stuffed pink gorilla at Magic Mountain. My children wondered when we could have our own yes day.
My husband and I, on the other hand, looked at our spoiled children and said with our eyes, “What are they talking about? Every day around here is a yes day.” Our children live in the twenty-first century. They have running water and electricity. And toys and books and parents who work from home. What could they possibly think we ever say “no” to?
After we had watched the movie—and had the appropriate family discussion about the lessons the kids in the movie learned—I asked my kids this very question. “Every day around here is ‘yes’ day,” I said. “What do we say ‘no’ to?”
Oh, they could answer that question, all right:
No, they cannot have ice cream for breakfast. (True.)
No, they cannot stay up all night. (Also true.)
No, they cannot skip showers.
No, they cannot skip school.
No, I will not get in the pool with them when it is under a hundred degrees outside or below 84 in the water. (I know. Killjoy.)
No, they cannot eat butter by the spoonful. (Well, there was that time when Samantha was 16 months old and ate all the butter out of the dish at Luigi’s before we noticed the pile of wrappers she had been discreetly dropping under the table. We have been very careful about butter since dealing with the diaper disaster that led to.)
And, no, we do not let them drive. (Good grief. They are 8 and 10.)
My husband and I decided that we could, however, use a family day. All four of us. Together. For the whole day. Not a yes day. Just a family day.
For Family-Yes-Day-That-Is-Not-Really-“Yes Day”-Day, we did normal activities—gardening, swimming. But we did everything together. With no electronic devices.
I even went in the pool (a performance I am unlikely to repeat in the near future), so it seems the kids were not the only ones to learn a lesson from the film. No thanks to the smart tv.