Sick Kid Equals Way Too Much Screen Time

When I was eleven I came down with mono.  I was staying in Michigan with my grandmother in August while my parents took their first ever trip to England.  After endless days of blood tests and doctor visits with no definitive answers a secondary infection allowed them to make the diagnosis and order me quarantined in my grandmother’s bedroom for the duration of the virus.  No cousins, no playmates, nobody except Erica Kane and the rest of the daytime soap line up.  And this was back when there were only about 5 channels to watch.  The one upshot of the whole debilitating month of sickness was that my grandmother finally had to give in and get a TV with a remote control.  It was a big step for her, a seemingly frivolous expenditure since her old TV worked just fine, but I could no more get up to change the channel than to run a marathon and the TV was my only company.

Now flash forward 25 years later and here I am at home with my daughter who is nursing a bad cold, nothing like the month long bout of mono I had, but still she’s basically a lump on the couch.  As I reconciled myself to the fact that I will now be spending the day at home and reshuffling all of my to-do list items for the week as well as appointments, my daughter planned her day around three things – the computer, the Wii and the TV.  First thing she did – caught up her DVR viewing with last week’s American Idol auditions.  Next, it was on to Club Penguin.  And before I knew it she’d been on the computer for 2 hours.  After a lunch break she wanted to watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  And now she’s trying to convince me that she should play the Wii even though she can barely move.  And I will probably let her.  I know you’re not supposed to have a sick day be a fun day since that just makes it all too enticing to fake being sick all the time, but honestly there’s little else to do when you’re sick than veg out and vegging out nowadays involves some sort of screen time.

So here we are in hour 4 of our screen watching marathon day, with Babe Pig in the City on HBO and my daughter cracking up between coughing spells and she couldn’t be happier.  And I don’t blame her.  The summer I had mono I learned how to play about 25 kinds of solitaire, my daughter on the other hand played, danced, sang and swam with about 25 other penguins today.  That I suppose is a 21st century sick day at its best.

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