The Screen Time Conspiracy and other “clinical guidelines” woes

I recently received a communiqué from a physician asserting that the “AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends no more than one hour each day of screen time.” This immediately raised my hackles on several levels, beginning with the implied criticism that I was not being a responsible parent. (Parents out there, raise your hands: how many of you limit your children’s total time watching television and using video games, computers, handheld games, or cell phones to less than one hour per day? Every day? Be honest! Include time the child spends in others’ care, including school. Are you sure? Do you know how to program your television’s V-Chip? I don’t see many hands out there. The rest of you must be BAD PARENTS.)

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The Science Wizard

We just threw a sixth birthday party for Matthew. He wanted a Harry Potter theme, and I thought it would be fun to have a magician. I did a web search for magicians in Sacramento, and ran across the site for The Science Wizard. I was impressed with the Wizard’s web site (he’s got some videos you can download and get a tiny taste of the action) and ended up booking the show.

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Car Trouble

My car has this cool feature: you can simultaneously close or open all the windows from outside the car by holding the key in the lock or unlock position. Approach the car on a hot summer day, and you can release all the hot air before you even enter the vehicle. Been cruising with the top down and all the windows open? You don’t have to close the windows until after you’re out of the car.

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Home Improvement

This house has needed a new kitchen since about 1970. That’s when the previous owners added on to the kitchen by enclosing the front porch, but never finished taking out the old wall. What was left was a tiny galley kitchen, completely isolated from the rest of the house, and an odd hall-like extension to the kitchen which went nowhere. The kitchen sink was below a “window” that looked into this blind hall. The cabinets were from 1951, old and warped, and the ovens no longer worked.

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Tea, Daddy?

A couple of months or so ago I was feeling sick. Very sick. I was taking care of three-year-old Matthew and was trying to keep up with him despite the fact that I felt drained. At one point it all became too much. I was chasing him through the bathroom when my foot caught in a towel on the floor and I fell flat on my face. I was uninjured, but stunned, tired, and sick. I did not feel able to get up.

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Creek Adventure

Sacramento County is flat. Really flat. There are many trees, which is a Very Good Thing™, but thick trees in such a flat land means that you seldom see the horizon. It is so flat here that sweeping vistas can often be had from atop a simple freeway overpass. I miss seeing the sunset or nearby mountain peaks, though the Valley has other charms.

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A Day in the Life


Matthew wakes up, wanders around the house a bit, crawls into bed with me. He thrashes around for 10-15 minutes, then says “I want to get up, Daddy.” This is a bit difficult, as I got hooked on an on-line CME module last night and was up past midnight. (Scored 98% on the exam, though.) We get up, he turns on the TV to the Disney Channel. After about ten minutes he’s had enough (good taste) and hops in my lap to read. We read a couple of books, look at some comics on my computer, then he disappears into the kitchen.

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On My Rocker

It’s back! After fourteen months at the restorer, I finally have my rocking chair again. A year ago February I sat rocking Matthew on my lap when the chair seemed to dissolve beneath me. I cracked my head on the floor, but Matthew landed on top of me and was unhurt. Even the damage to the chair was less than how it felt — the right side rocker, that had had a makeshift repair long ago, had simply fallen off causing the chair to fall backwards and to the right.

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