Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What happens when we turn off the TV

This is the Firebird who flies with wings of flame.

And this is Prince Ivan, the only other living thing in the tangled wood...

Prince Ivan has to do a dance to tame and catch Firebird

It works... he's caught it in his hands. 

Firebird flung itself against Prince Ivan's hands, but it could not escape.

Oh Prince of Russia, set me free, a magic gift I will give thee.. (It doesn't really look as if she's struggling too hard here.)

Firebird flew free, shaking her tail feathers as if to say, "Na na na na na na, You can't catch me."
It takes courage, endurance and perhaps a touch of masochism to say "No" to the television and movie requests that start piling in as soon as the weather turns cold. Who am I kidding, with Isla around, the requests are constant and insistent, in any season or time of day. Enter house, beg for TV or movie.
(I don't differntiate between TV or movies. Either way, we're staring at the TV screen.)

But after a recent TV trauma-- I turned it off sooner than Isla preferred, which is to say, at all, and Isla commenced to hyperventilate--we had to lay down some scary rules.

After the television set spent some time on the front step in the dribbling rain, purportedly waiting for the garbage man to come and make it disappear from our lives, I decided it was time for ...... a TV schedule.

This the mom who can't even tell people if she is available a week from Saturday so afraid of commitment is she.

The rule is, Only on Fridays. Have we broken that rule? Of course, but only on Wednesdays.
But, transgressions and all, things have gotten remarkably calmer, and the requests, that's a euphemism for relentless badgering and death threats, for TV have almost disappeared. Almost.

As a result, I get treated to spontaneous displays of childish artistry. Sometimes in the form of graphic art, but recently in the form of dance/theater. Would they do this even if I let them watch more TV? Probably, but there would be much, much less time and incentive. And their characters would be sneaking in product placement left and right. (Mom, I need a Coke can.)

The irony is, if it weren't for this five- part video on YouTube, of the complete ballet version of Stravinsky's Firebird, they might not have had such dramatic moves in their repertoire. But the inspiration originally came to us in beautiful book form. 

More evidence that I lean precariously towards the Luddite can be found here.  

Special thanks to Jane Yolen for some of my lifted caption copy. 


Jenny said...

Of course I love this, and the pictures are lovely and ethereal, Esther looks like a ballerina! And Jane Yolen is the best! Lovely post.

SJ-F said...

Brilliant! I know the pestering ends and they forget about it... I just get amazed each time by how my 3 yr old just can't stop watching once she starts... major tantrums everytime... yeah the irony of the use of YouTube around us never ceases to amaze ;), but hey we need all the info-help we can get ;).

Betsy said...

Exactly, SJ-F: It's the stopping it that really gets me. Makes you wonder what on earth is taking place in their brains and how it might be similar to heroin. Or chocolate...

Jamie Lee said...

I am a sucker for the TV myself, but try to limit it with my daughter. It's amazing the transformation that takes place when we remove the boob tube from our diet. We share your experience of spontaneous creativity - painting, drawing, coloring, dancing, and many other marvelous things. The best part? I get to play, too! :)