something has come over me

it’s that time of year
the annoying retail itch
am Target zombie

After so many decades of buying things for the beginning of school, August hits and I immediately begin spending money. It’s a base, Pavlovian response to seeing all those "Aug"s on the calendar, I think.

With all of the wee one’s school supplies purchased, and with his new school clothes and shoes taken care of, I’m having trouble staunching the flow of money. I just want to go out everyday and buy buy buy. Books, clothes, "useful" apparati for the walls (to hang things on, store keys, etc.), baby shoes… millions of things we don’t really need.

The worst of this? I have this compulsion to buy a Nintendo Wii. I’m not even someone who enjoys video games. They frustrate me and prove that my hand-eye coordination isn’t what it should be. I don’t like to take time to learn directions and I hate when I try to play something and it’s not intuitive, thus forcing me to spend hours reading instructions.

But the Wii wouldn’t be for me. It would be for the family. I have Norman Rockwell images of all of us curled up in front of the 21st century version of the fireplace, whacking at virtual tennis balls, and swinging virtual cows, interacting with each other, having fun, and not just staring at the TV, comatose or irritable because of whatever hapless thing we’re watching.

My Wii compulsion is born of a desire for something other than just spending way too much money on technology. What am I searching for? More quality time with my family? A way to turn the television into an activity center instead of a brain drain? I don’t really know. It’s very confusing. I love the TV. But I love it for myself and my husband. When it comes to the wee one, the TV inspires more worry and guilt than I’m comfortable with. I don’t mind that he watches it. And I’m careful to make sure he watches appropriate shows (in this house, Foster’s is OK, but Power Rangers is not). But lately I feel like the TV is just too central in his life.

With school starting I feel this tectonic shift happening to our lives. The wee one is officially a kid now. I’m officially the mama of a kid. We will have much less time together, so that time needs to be spent being together, not just being in the same room. Of course we could throw away the TV and spend all of our time reading aloud to one another, darning socks, playing Monopoly, etc. But I know me, and I know us, and though we do read a lot of books and play our fair share of Candyland, we also love the TV. I’m not ashamed of that, even though I do want to temper our shared infatuation of it.

Realistically, I know that the family wouldn’t play the Wii all the time. The wee one would play it. And it would become the new version of the TV. But maybe then I could use it for leverage. Clean your room, get 30 minutes on the Wii. Try a new food, get 15 minutes on the Wii.

Oh, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m just having a not unexpected retail reaction to the immense changes August brings.

Once the new TV season starts, I won’t have time to worry about things like this.

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6 thoughts on “something has come over me

  1. So very excited for the new tv season – maybe you could buy some movies that you all could enjoy together. Or better yet, he could “earn” them (i.e. eat this, do this, earn that), or use them for leverage – that’s what we do. I also understand the stress that coinsides with August and the impending school time that will cause my wee-one and myself to spend less time together. It is scary/sad/exciting…

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  2. Got the wii for Daddy for Christmas this last year and our family loves it. We do play together and have more interaction together, and scary enough even can work up a sweat in some games. I love it and totally take back all my “It’s really for daddy and not the whole family” comments. 🙂 I love the sports and the Big Brain Academy – token nerd game. Mario Party 8 is like a board game on the TV, so the kids really get into that one as well. two thumbs up from this momma!

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  3. I have to second the comments about how cool the Wii is. I’m so not a computer game person, but my hubby and I play it and really enjoy it. And it’s the kind of thing even grandparents can play, it’s so easy.

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