“That’s it. You’re both grounded!”
“What? What do you mean we’re grounded?
“No electronics. Nothing!”
“What??? For how long?”
“For the rest of your lives.”
This is what I was hearing. I was in the kitchen (as usual) and something bad happened with the boys. I had heard Mr.liberyDee give the warning, then some more bickering and then the punishment was handed down.
“No electronics for 60 days”
“What????” My head spun. “Is he crazy? Has he totally lost his mind? Why is he punishing me??? 60 days without electronics?” That meant no TV, no phone, no Xbox. Nothing. Those are the things I have come to depend on to keep them busy when we’re home. If there’s no electronics that would mean I would become the entertainment centre. It wouldn’t be Mr. LibertyDee. No. Nobody wants to bother dad.
It was too late though the punishment had been handed down and now it had to be enforced.
Mr. LibertyDee removed all games from The Plan’s phone, changed the main Internet access password, put locks on the charger plugs for the laptop and hid the Xbox controllers. I tried to reason with Mr. LibertyDee, tried to tell him he was being too harsh, I even pleaded a little bit for leniency on the boy’s behalf but truly I was pleading for myself. I was certain the next few weeks were going to be hell.
Here’s how the first few weeks played out:
No Electronics Week 1 – Sad…Just Sad
The first week was right down sad. Not sad that the boys were sad or that I was sad for them. It was sad to see that they really did not know what to do with themselves. They sat around before and after dinner with nothing to do. Mr. LibertyDee and I did have a good laugh about it, as the boys sat around with their long faces feeling like a world without electronics would never be fun again but we also talked about how we really had allowed the electronics to take over their lives so much, that they truly, honestly did not know what to do without them.
No Electronics Week 2 – No Choice
They stated reading. The Plan picked up Harry Potter and The Life turned to sports magazines and the World Records books. But still they were miserable and whenever I made a comment about what they were reading I would be quickly reminded that they had no choice and were not enjoying it.
No Electronics Week 3 – A Breakthrough
Week 3 was a bit of a breakthrough. The Plan was hooked on Harry Potter and started going through the series very quickly; he even asked to have his bedtime extended so he could read. I had gone to the library with The Life and he had gotten some books on building paper airplanes and how to draw vampires. After dinner we started playing cards.
No Electronics Week 4 – The Great Outdoors
Week 4 the weather had was better and they started going out to play basketball on the driveway. They started riding their bikes, pulled out the old lacrosse sticks that had not seen daylight in at least two years. The Plan kept reading, The Life kept playing cards with either me or Baby Girl. Suddenly the whining and off handed remarks about no electronics had stopped.
No Electronics Week 5– Parole for Good Behaviour
In week 5 we introduced family movies, this was an exemption to the grounding. The boys were allowed to watch TV if the whole family was watching. But even then, the playing outdoors continued. The countdown to when electronics would return stopped and they even lost track of the amount of days that had passed. So did Mr. LibertyDee and I.
Last week Mr. LibertyDee decided to let the boys play some Xbox until I got home from work but when I arrived at the house they were putting on their bike helmets and were on their way out. Needless to say I was shocked. When I asked them about it The Plan simply responded that they played for about 30 minutes and that it had felt like a really long time to just be sitting there so they were going out for a ride.
I hate to admit it but Mr. LibertyDee was right. This “punishment” was exactly what the boys needed and not just the boys but all of us. I too was guilty of spending too much time on my phone either playing games or checking Facebook and much of that came to a stop so that I could play cards, draw a vampire or help fold and advanced paper airplane. I finally decided to delete all the games off my phone and suddenly have found the inspiration to start blogging again.
Tonight The Plan is upset that he has to stay in and study for a science test instead of playing basketball on the driveway with The Life. And Mr. LibertyDee and I are finally basking in a parenting win.