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How the DVR Ruined My Vacation in Specific and Parenting in General

Ah, the DVR. Goodtimes, right? It’s like a babysitter, only with clearer skin and no Justin Bieber fixation.

Well, it’s not really a babysitter, ’cause, you know, it’s not like Caroline and I park the kids in front of the TV, dial up a little Wow Wow Wubbzy, then scamper off to a romantic dinner or anything. But that still doesn’t mean the DVR hasn’t ever watched our kids. Because it has.

I mean, who comes through in the clutch when the four-year-olds are train wrecks, and I gotta give the baby a bath? Hmm? The DVR, that’s who.

Still, I’d be the first to admit that this whole DVR bit is an iffy proposition. In fact, I’m sure some of you would contend that using it to buy a little time here and there falls under the lazy parenting category. Perhaps even the bad parenting category.

But show me a parent who doesn’t rely upon it from time to time and I’ll show you one who doesn’t have five kids, 60 to 80% of whom still require ass-wiping assistance. (Depends on the day, really.)

So, again, Caroline and I have leaned upon the DVR from time to time. With fantastic results. Ones which have enabled us to further the good of the family as a whole. Or at very least, clean the muck out our pudgy little fella’s many crevasses.

But today, I’m ready to admit a little something which’ll do nothing but empower those who believe employing the DVR in a babysitting capacity is lazy parenting.

It backfired on us during our recent vacation.

You see, we’d just endured a brutal road trip and were finally at the condo, but in our eyes, the commute doesn’t end till we’re unpacked and organized. This, of course, meant that Caroline and I still had a lot of work to do.

Which meant we needed to distract the kids, so we flicked on the TV. And that’s when the requests started flooding in to the hit line. And this guy can do many things, y’all, but pulling an episode of Doc McStuffins out of his ass is not one of them.

And thanks to this aforementioned inability, a DEFCON ONE meltdown ensued which we managed to placate, but only somewhat, thanks to finding an episode of Blues Clues which just happened to be on.

And this, you see, was a constant theme of the vacation. One of us turning on the TV following an afternoon at the beach in order to buy a little time to reset our household, only to be flooded with the triplets’ subsequent requests for any number of shows which line the virtual shelves of our DVR library back home.

Sometimes we got lucky. I mean, you’d be surprised how often Spongebob is on. I know. That’s bad parenting, too, because Spongebob and his dimwitted starfish sidekick are giving my kids ADD. But I don’t buy that, because I actually watch that show quite a bit and I’m totally fine.

Holy shit, y’all, Caroline just walked through the room and she’s apparently popped some popcorn she’s not sharing with me. Unbelievable. Speaking of which, I cannot buh-LIEVE how exciting that US women’s soccer game was on Monday. Unreal, no? OH, and can you believe Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson? I know. Total trampire move.

So where was I again?

OH. I remember. Talking about how the DVR ruined our vacation. Only it didn’t really ruin it. It just made things a lot more difficult here and there. You know, whenever we flipped on the TV to buy a little time only to witness the triplets freak out because we couldn’t conjure up the entertainment of their choice on demand. (Hey! So THAT’S why they call it that…)

But it’s not just our vacation in specific which the DVR has compromised. It’s parenting in general. Because as soon as the triplets became old enough to extrapolate, they seemingly expected us to pull any and everything out of thin air.

Like whenever we run out of their favorite snack, they’re simply dumbfounded. How can that be? their crinkled faces tell us. In a world where Fireman Sam is mere keystrokes away, how hard could it really be to produce ten measly M&Ms?

See, the DVR has done nothing but add to one very real downside of this Information Age in which we live. It’s made the triplets believe that any and everything is at their very fingertips 24 hours a day.

Actually, come to think of it, aren’t we all kinda guilty of believing that?

Well, that’s where parenting comes in, I suppose. You know, the good kind. It’s up to Caroline and me to teach them that not everything, in fact, is so readily available. And that many things, indeed, require hard work and perseverance to attain. Or at very least a little patience.

So where do I stand on the DVR as a means of diverting attention?

Tough one, my friends. In theory, I’m anti. Always have been.

But when the witching hour is upon us and the dog has thrown up on the floor and Caroline is helping Alli with her homework, and the triplets are Daddying the hell out of me while I’m trying to give a dinner-wearing baby a bath?

I’ll have the remote pointed at that damn TV quicker’n they can say Peppa Pig.

Don’t judge me, y’all. I’m doing the best I can.

Read more of JCO Multiplied:
Beach Vacation by the Numbers
10 Things I Wish My 10 Year Old Daughter Knew
15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know
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Check out my personal blog over at JohnCaveOsborne(dot)com

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