here at the white house we have plenty of screen time.
jeremy loves computers. he works on them all day long only to come home and tinker with them all night. i love television and would love nothing more than a constant stream of food network or hgtv playing in the background of my life. it is for that reason i cancelled our dish network service in may of last year. it was just too tempting for me to turn the tube on, sit down, and...become a boob.
sidenote: jeremy and i went out of town back in august and stayed in a hotel for the weekend. i watched the food network for the first time in more than a year and it felt like i was seeing my old friends - oh, giada! ina! i missed you so! thank you so much for being my pals during those early years of mommyhood when i was nursing babies and chasing toddlers - i couldn't have done it without you. i'm sorry i had to quit you but i'll always remember our times together fondly!
ok, moving on...
consequentially, our boys don't watch much actual television. they do, however, have access to loads of videos either downloaded from the interwebs or borrowed from the library. they began watching baby einstein videos before they turned one. those held their attention for a good year or so and then we moved on to more "mature" cartoons - curious george, thomas the tank engine, and little bear are still favorites around here.
so the 30 minute video format was a hit with harrison but it was probably around age 3 1/2 when i realized he had never watched anything longer. at some point i believe we tried to watch a couple disney movies. i'm not recalling exactly which ones, nor do i remember his precise reaction to them. i know he didn't seem to like them and we turned them off. i DO remember it was at age 4 when harrison's preschool teacher told me the class was going to watch the movie cinderella for "prince and princess" day at school and i explained to her that harrison does not like movies and he may get scared and not want to watch it.
now, at age 5 1/2, i can count on two hands the number of movies we've seen:
winnie the pooh
the tigger movie
horton hears a who
lady and the tramp
the old 1970's disney robinhood movie
other than this list, any movie we've attempted to watch has been abruptly stopped. in fact, even in the few we've actually seen, there were points when we had to fast forward because it was too scary for harrison.
and then there was the lion king.
this past summer, for some hair-brained reason, i decided it would be a good idea to have "family movie night" and watch the lion king. i thought if we popped some corn, dimmed the lights, cuddled as a family and ate some m&ms harrison would enjoy the experience. what was supposed to be a fun family time turned dark very quickly.
within 15 minutes of showtime harrison was 1) hiding behind a chair 2) wailing 3) begging for us to turn the movie off.
the hyenas had scared him.
i pulled him into my lap, dried his tears and tried to get his breathing regulated. then, for better or worse, i calmly explained that we were going to finish watching the whole show.
then scar tried to have simba killed. mufasa rescued simba. mufasa died.
harrison, who never really did stop crying, began wailing again. my poor boy.
the rest of the movie continued on just like that. he hesitantly giggled once or twice at timon and pumba, but most of the movie was spent crying and fast forwarding.
when it was finished harrison went straight to bed and asked me to come sleep with him.
i knew this.was.not.normal.
after relaying this story and expressing my bewilderment, my sweet friend sara suggested i look into hypersensitivity. not OVER sensitive. HYPER sensitive. it was her highly intuitive advice that led me to research and, eventually, find sensory processing disorder.
the long and short of it is this: i HATE that harrison was traumatized because of a decision i made to force him to watch the lion king. BUT without having witnessed such a visceral reaction on his part, i never would have been concerned enough to mention it to my friends...and sara never would have suggested hypersensitivity...and i never would have figured out that there is an actual reason for what i always simply brushed aside as harrison's sweet little quirks.
it is my hope, as i continue documenting this journey, that you are able to see how everything really does happen for a reason.
for today, though, i'll close by saying thank you, disney, for scaring the crap out of my little boy. i'll be forever grateful.
**updated to add i have submitted this post to the spd blogger network