"Don't be mad, Mom," is rarely followed by good news.
It was inevitable. In all honesty, I can’t believe it lasted for three years. We should have known that buying anything new in this house, with a 3- and 5-year-old living in it, would mean it wouldn’t last long.
For three years, I have envisioned a slippery Wii Remote flying through its screen. I’ve imagined how easy it would be for a running toddler to shake it free from its base, sending it crashing to the floor.
But, to be honest, I never saw what really happened coming at all. Nevertheless, my $800, 50-inch plasma television is now destined for the recycling bin.
I have to say, it was an accident. He didn’t mean to do it. But, what possessed a kindergartener to warm up for his baseball game in the living room with a rubber mallet is beyond me. We’ll give some proper credit where it is due here too, and mention that if my husband hadn’t left the mallet in the living room after trying to install a new mailbox, I suppose it wouldn’t have occurred to my son to use it for batting practice.
Whatever the cause, the effect was a shattered screen. While trying to “practice swing” for his game, my son let it fly. It just slipped out of his hands. I wish I could say we were there to even see it, but in the typical pre-game scramble to round up a hat, glove, bat, helmet, cleats, folding lawn chairs, sun screen and bug spray, I missed the entire thing.
What I came down the steps to find was a red-faced, already bawling, baby boy.
“Mom, I’m really sorry. Don’t be mad. Mom, I didn’t mean to do it. Don’t get mad,” he sputtered between cries.
Trust me when I say no good news has ever come after that phrase. No mom has ever heard something positive that was premised with that slew of sadness. And, this time was no different.
I whirled around the living room corner to find a spider-web of a crack, smack dab in the middle of our television. The sound from the cable box was still coming through loud and clear. “iCarly” could still be heard, but just not seen. Instead, discolored pixels danced around a rubber mallet-sized crack. It was dead. There is no TV in this house.
So now what? Well, my son has one month of no television, no movies and no video games. In that month, he is to work off $400 worth of chores to pay for half of a new television. My husband said he’d take half the responsibility for not putting away his tools.
So far, my son has handed over his life savings (about $49.18), alongside his tooth fairy money. He has also worked off about six $1 chores, from picking up his room, picking up his sister’s room, dust-busting the couch, setting the table for dinner and clearing the table afterward.
Meanwhile, we are struggling to live without our fifth family member, the television. I think it is ten-times harder on mom and dad than our kids, but it is good that we are learning to live without it. In two days, we’ve baked a cake, made banana bread twice, tested new kites, gone for walks, done crafts … Mom is running out of both ideas to keep the house busy and ways a 5-year-old can earn a buck. I appreciate idea contributions for either category.