You’ve always had a place here.
Sitting in the corner of our living room, our eyes rested on you morning, noon and night.
Here, you’ve sung sweet songs and provided hundreds of hours of entertainment. Here, you’ve marked your place in our home where our children grow, learn and live.
Here, while I washed dishes or put clothes on the line, you looked over them.
Here, you allowed me ten minutes to bathe.
And importantly, you’ve helped to soften the blow of bedtime woes.
You made snow days passable, while we snuggled up next to you and the glow of the fire, and the snow made its mark outside at our front step.You made things possible while Justin and I worked on expanding our businesses. In a year where we were learning as parents how to manage two human beings, you held a real place in our lives.
In our world of two small humans, you’ve stepped in when multitasking had reached its human limits.
You’ve helped me, you have.
But you’ve turned us sour because you took it too far, with the seduction of your ways. We’re cutting you loose, because my sweet and innocent four year old girl is intoxicated by your lure.
She simply can’t get enough.
For now, one more will simply not do, Paw Patrol. Now, she has come to expect a few.
Her eyes shoot lasers and her skin boils when your credits roll and I turn your blue screen to grey. Her body immediately assumes the horizontal body to floor position when I must then hide the computer’s mouse in our highest cupboard to prevent her from giving in, once again, to your enticing ways.
The truth is, Paw Patrol, you’ve taken advantage of my kid for too long, with your catchy preschooler riffs and technicolour displays. The truth is, if I hear your fucking theme song one more time I’ll rip my ears off Tyson style, and then those of your six precious canines too.
You pretend like you’re not a bad influence, with your obedient dogs and good pet owner morals. With your ‘no job too big or pup too small’ bullshit, but any lack of begging your dogs do on their mission is made up for tenfold by my kid’s dedication to incessantly whine about watching your sexist male dog cast save yet another woman off a stranded boat.
We abused your accessibility and you abused our trust that you wouldn’t be a total crapshoot of a show.
Yes, my kid knows what a hovercraft is now, but as she thinks dogs can drive them, so too have you tricked her into believing putting a chicken in a purse is some sort of commonplace event. Your assholery resulted, of course, with one scared shitless chicken, and one truckload of chicken shit for me to slough off my kitchen floor.
Paw Patrol, it’s spring now, so I’m officially presenting you with your notice. We have wasted far too many hours of our lives consumed by your tomfoolery and we’re out. We needn’t watch each of your 52 episodes a fourth time, thank you very much.
They say too much screen time in young children causes violent outbreaks and irritability, interruption to sleep patterns and attention problems- well, no shit. It became evident, then, that in an attempt to rise up from a week that was the depths of hell, something had to give.
So Paw Patrol, turns out our problem- my child turning into an asshole- really was too big for your six birdbrain mutts to solve this time.
Because I kicked your ass out, and had destroyed every shred of my child’s apparent happiness, we spent our next few days with as much square distance as possible between us and you.
This means I took my kid to the pool where she put her head underwater for the very first time. This means I enlisted her help in cooking a 20-pound turkey for friends at Easter. We spent time with both grandmothers and with the cousins, too. We even took her bike out, and she only melted down for the entire way home, instead of the whole ride to the destination, too.
I won’t lie, my kid is still in mourning and she is still really pissed at me. And the experts on screen time research don’t prepare you for the shrieks of terror that will emit from your child’s mouth for every single second they would otherwise have spent watching their shows.
That’s what locks and bathroom chips are for.
Wren still yelps for help, Paw Patrol, as you’ve taught her to do, and she still shakes her rump while singing the friggin’ ‘Paw Paw Boogie’ to remind me you’ve still got her under your thumb. And yes, I’m sure she’ll still ask for a control pad for Christmas.
But big mama is stepping up to say you don’t have me fooled anymore.
You had me thinking you were an answer, but really you represent us navigating a vulnerable time of change. Really, you’re a reminder to me of my own personal strength in making up excuses, some better than others, for figuring out how to pass the time when I want to sit on my own rear, too.
And you remind me of that two week period where every damn one of us had the flu.
So here’s your formal eviction.
Because maybe I can do better than a hovercraft driving mutt. I think I can even do better than firefighting Dalmatians. I will be better than your new skiing husky dog.
I don’t suspect this will be a clean break, and I’m not committing to a total screen cleanse, because Lord knows that’s not realistic for us. But it won’t be our go-to.
This week we got outside and it wasn’t easy. But we lived life this past week, instead of letting a screen hypnotize us into letting it slip us by.
And we hated it and loved it all at the same time- and that’s what my life as a parent sometimes is.