A No-TV day and Slow Scholarship

We had a no-tv day following a frustrating bedtime last night. R (who is 4) was up and down like a yo-yo and by 10.30 we were all a bit frazzled. In a particularly desperate moment I told her that if she didn’t lie down and try to sleep there would be no tv today. She got out of bed and said (insanely overtired at this point) ‘that’s okay, I don’t need to watch tv tomorrow’. So it totally didn’t work in terms of getting her to sleep and today I was faced with the reality of following through on my promise (it is nicer to think of it as a promise than a threat).
We watch a fair amount of tv in our house and I’ve been a little concerned lately by how attached to it R has become. We really limited her tv when she was smaller but in the past year she has been watching more and also begging for it more. On days when she is at home (not at preschool) she probably watches at least 2-3 hours of tv over the whole day. She will start off with an hour in the morning while we are getting started on the day and then an hour mid-day and another hour at bedtime. We watch mostly on Netflix (no ads, which is good!). Her favourite shows are My Little Pony, Rescuebots, and (recently) Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. We don’t facilitate any barbie or much princess themed stuff although she has watched a couple of Disney Princess movies. Her favourite movies are Cars, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. L (my husband) and I are completely responsible for allowing or disallowing content and we are also responsible for promoting context that we like (I like MLP and L likes Spiderman). So, I’ve been thinking lately that it’s too much and also some of the content is not really age appropriate (I will defend MLP though!). I was nervous about having a no-tv day. How would I get any down time? How would we get through the day without our (my) crutch?

Well, it was pretty good actually and I’m kind of jazzed about it. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired, and it was challenging, but we had a good day. We had lots of creative play; we played ponies for a while; we drew and coloured; we had lunch picnic-style on the living room floor; she listened to an old record of L’s of the Lady and the Tramp and followed along in the read-along book; we went for a walk and an ice-cream; we played with Z. It was fun. I managed to keep the mess somewhat under control and made dinner with R and Z playing on the kitchen floor instead of R being in the living room watching TV. What was also interesting was that Z went to bed tonight wayyyyy easier than she usually does. Usually she freaks out when I put her in her crib at first but tonight she went down super easy. I wonder if the tv is too stimulating for her in the evening (not that she’ s watching but she must be aware of the noise and flickering images). I have to admit, it was kind of cool coming into the living room after putting Z down and seeing R following the read-along record and L reading his book-club book. I don’t think I’ll ever stop watching tv or ban it in our house just because I love popular culture too much and I fully believe that there is good tv and that even watching ‘bad’ tv can be interesting and fun. But having it as a treat rather than a part of the fabric of our routine is perhaps much healthier for our little ones. I was thinking about R’s ability to play on her own too. If she’s so used to being entertained by a show or a movie, it is going to be tougher for her to play creatively by herself. I can’t play with her all the time, but I can give her the skills and tools to learn how to play by herself and not just expect her to just ‘get it’.
Anyhow, also today I saw a link posted by my old MA supervisor on Facebook about Slow Scholarship and I was curious right away. I haven’t finished reading it but so far it’s really thought-provoking (by Jeremy Hunsinger who works in Canada on knowledge and technology, i know I’ve come across his work before). Slow scholarship has been on my mind lately. I think about the time pressure I feel on my thesis, and how I feel like a big failure and loser a lot of the time because  I’m not churning stuff out. I really really struggle with the churning when it comes to scholarly writing. I get paralyzed very easily and it is like pulling teeth for me to produce a first draft a lot of the time. I think that is why the thesis is such a huge challenge for me. I am a  fast, intuitive, and good editor. I’m a very slow first-drafter. Hunsinger draws important connections between the culture of speed scholarship and neoliberalism and capitalism. I’ve been wondering whether to build something on this into the methodology chapter and I think the challenge is to do this without it reading (or being) a big fat excuse for taking nearly a decade to complete the thesis and choosing not to be in the academic ‘fast lane’. I’ve bookmarked it and will try to read it more closely and see if it fits. It’s exciting when I find something cool like this that really connects with something I’ve been thinking about!


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