Wednesday, July 8, 2009

fighting nature

I see myself in my kids. This can be good and this can be bad. Something I'm seeing now in Owen, who will be four in a couple of weeks (and again, where the hell did four years go?), is my tendency to sit around like a lump. Watching TV, playing video games, generally avoiding physical activity. Like right now, as I sit here, writing at my computer. When it's gorgeous outside. (But, baby Nicholas is napping, and Lisa and Owen are out running errands, so I can't really leave. So gimme a break). Once we actually get him out of the house he's happy to run and climb and jump and play. But ask him what he wants to do? The answer will almost always be Lego Star Wars. 

This is my fault on several levels. First, there are my genes. He's his father's son and his father is at his core a sedentary being. When I was a kid it was books, and also TV. Now it's the computer, iPhone, TV, Twitter, my blog, other people's blogs. And occasionally still books. Second, there are the things I've introduced him to. TV, movies, video games. I didn't have to buy them. I didn't have to let him use them. But I did, because I like them, and thought he would to. And boy, does he.

When Owen was a baby Lisa and I talked about making sure he saw us doing physically active things for fun - walking, hiking, sports - going outside and moving around. These things don't really come naturally to me, and I already see my son developing what I can only describe as a serious video game addiction. Luckily, so far, he doesn't have his father's tendency to eat constantly while sitting around not moving. This gives me hope that in some ways he'll be better off. And it's not that I think he should never play video games again, or watch TV or movies, or, eventually, read books! These are things I enjoy and sometimes ya gotta do stuff inside. But when it's a beautiful sunny day and all the kid wants to do is play video games? It just feels all too familiar. 

So again, here before you all, I commit to going outside more. We'll go for more walks. We'll go to the park. We'll hang out in the backyard instead of the living room. And I will stop fighting my wife's desire to take the family camping. As long as there is indoor plumbing nearby. And WiFi.



  1. Let me know how it goes. Via Twitter.;)

  2. Society, neighborhoods, communities, security...many other concerns conspire to keep your kids indoors where you know they'll be safe. It's not like he can walk up the block without you and visit his B'ball buddies.

  3. yes because no one can really live without WiFi!

  4. I heard a comedian last week say the only exercise he gets these days is mood swings. That's so me too. And my other half is always wanting to go camping too. And not the travel trailer kind I'd go for.. no no, the pack a weeks worth of food into a 5 gallon bucket and canoe into the wilderness. Um yeah, no thanks!

    Good for you on resolving to at least get out and walk more. I must do that or my poor child will be a couch potato. Or disappear into the woods with my husband.

  5. camping is gooood. We were debating last night the idea of camping with a baby. It just sounds like a lot of work...and what if the bears take Elliott to raise her up as their own cuz she is so darn cute. But maybe I should fight my inner lump and book it.

    Also, you must go outside. You are in LA! If you don't want to - Just think of me stuck under a rain cloud all June and July and GO!

  6. I worry about the fact that Gabriel's dad has some serious psychological problems, and I worry about how much of that is genetic.

  7. camping without wifi - how did people ever do it?!

  8. Ironically, Owen is the age Henry was when I had the same epiphany -- too much inside for a kid who should be outside. (I'm actually a huge outdoor person and looking forward to camping trips... when the logistics are simpler.) So, to combat the threat of permanent small butt cheek imprints on my sofa, I have a reminder on my weekly to-do list to schedule at least 1 playdate for Henry every weekend. I've found that even just a 1 hour playdate does the trick to break the inertia and motivate us off the couch. A good 30 mins spent getting out of PJs, eating breakfast/lunch/snack, go potty, get there (or clean up to welcome the guest at our house). And when it's a commitment with someone else, it's more likely to happen (vs. just my own "I should take Henry to the park this weekend")

    So, I have an idea. Let's have a playdate! Bring Nicholas to play in the sand/water table with Spencer while the grown-ups drink wine on the patio (standing, of course). Henry and Owen will have a blast -- you can leave your Lego Star Wars at home because we have Lego Batman and two controllers. Wait, no! Um, I mean we have bouncy house! and, and, and balls to run and chase! - amoret


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