I thought about writing about how I’m so proud Isabelle can write her name in Hebrew (albeit she writes in Hebrew from left to right, instead of right to left)! Look at her practicing it this morning when we were in-between speech and occupational therapy appointments this morning.
However, I’m posting about something much more sinister that I do when we’re at therapy. It’s doesn’t actually cause harm to anyone, but it’s a bit underhanded. Here’s a hint:
Isabelle had a half-hour break between speech and OT appointments so the two of us retreated to the waiting room. She was the only child in the kids’ section of the waiting room so I turned off the TV. I’ve done this many times in the past three years since I’d rather have quiet time with her that doesn’t involve her staring at a screen while Sprout blares. (Also, there’s another television about 30 feet away in the adult part of the waiting room that broadcasts CNN. It’s maddening to sit with CNN and Sprout playing at the same time.)
Isabelle never complains when I turn-off the waiting room’s television. (She’s the kind of kid who has less than 60 minutes of screen time each day so she’s not dependent on it for entertainment.) However, other kids notice the lack of television as soon as they get to the children’s section of the waiting room.
After Isabelle went back with her occupational therapist at 10:30, two kids came into the waiting room with their parents. The three-year-old son noticed something was awry immediately. “Where’s the TV?!!?”
“It’s not on today,” the mom told her son.
“I want the TV!” the son yelled.
“Well, they must’ve turned it off for a reason,” mom responded.
Her son did everything he could to show how mad he was by crying and yelling.
It was at this point I could’ve done told the family I turned off the TV, stood up on the chair, and turned it back on. But I didn’t. Instead, I watched the situation unfold.
“I wanna your phone!” the son told his father.
“I don’t have any games on my phone,” dad replied.
“I wanna play games,” the boy said.
“I don’t have any games for you on here. I’m not lying.” (Why would the father tell his son he wasn’t lying? Does he usually lie to him? Questions I will never have answered.)
This continued for a couple more minutes. Just when I thought they were going to ask the receptionist to turn on the TV, something amazing happened. The family started talking to each other. The parents and kids talked, sang songs, and played finger games for the next 20 minutes until their son’s speech therapist called him back for his appointment.
Today’s result was the scenario I always hope for when kids discover the television isn’t on. Only once have I ever seen a parent talk to the receptionist to ask for the TV to be turned back on. Occasionally, a parent hands over their phone to their child, but usually, the parent(s) and kid(s) talk to each other. So really, I’m not doing anything that’s detrimental to anyone. I’m giving myself a little peace and quiet while helping families actually talk to each other. (I know, I know, it’s none of my business. I shouldn’t have an agenda. But I kind of do.)