Sunday, February 3, 2013

Creature power suits

M is a little bit obsessed with the Wild Kratts cartoon.  He seriously knows more about "creature powers" than I do.  I shouldn't be surprised, I guess, since he knew more about prehistoric life at two and a half than I probably ever will.  But now, instead of spending my evenings discussing obscure dinosaurs, I spend them and every other waking moment talking about caracals, draco lizards, and remoras.

We're trying to find the right balance for him, because he would watch episodes on youtube and play on the PBS kids website all day long if we let him (we don't).  I can't speak for other kids, but too much screen time for M is as bad as crappy food.  He starts melting down over little things, fights with his brother more, and just like potato chips, one episode or one game is never enough.

After some spectacularly whiny days last week, we pulled the plug.  For the past three days, the boys have had no screen time: no computer, no movies, no cartoons, no iPad, no online games.  It has been wonderful.  They are playing together more, reading more, drawing more, riding bikes more, using their imaginations more.  It was hard to see what a distraction and a draw the computer was until it was out of the picture.   In theory and in practice, I see no problem with limited games and movies.  Our problem is the limiting.  Once the computer is on, nobody wants to do anything else.  I was surprised how easy it was once the computer was taken out of the equation.  They never even really complained.

It's not out forever.  Whim and I love movies too much for that.  Our plan is to start turning it on again in a few days or so, but only in small, regulated doses.  Hopefully these past few days have opened their eyes enough to the unplugged world that they won't be too easily ensnared when we start allowing it again.
Anyway, all that to say.... Mi has wanted a creature power suit ever since he started watching the show a few months ago.  I figured if we were going to deny him his beloved Wild Kratts, the least I could do is make him the vests so he and L could dress up as Martin and Chris.  Excuse the blatant bragging, but I'm not really a crafty person, so I am so proud of these!

Awesome, right?  I am so proud of myself.
Let me help you with that, Martin!
Activate Creature Powers!
Sorry for the huge close up of a toy gun.  We aren't really gun people, please no hatred.
They were so easy!   I'm sure if you had a sewing machine it would take about ten minutes, but I did two shirts by hand while L was having a nap - maybe an hour or so?  M is over the moon and hasn't taken it off since he got it.   L likes it, too, but still requires me to call him Q*bert.


  1. Those are so cute!! And by hand? Even more amazing!

    It's crazy how taking tv/games out of the picture makes you forget how much other stuff there is to do! Once in 6th grade I got grounded from tv for half a year (for getting a C, long story) and I was actually secretly glad. It meant I had to use my imagination more and spent more time drawing/writing/playing.

    1. Well not completely from scratch, I started with the tank tops already made.
      That was a pretty serious consequence on your parents' part. I bet you did have way more fun. When I was a kid I remember feeling instantly bored sometimes when there was nothing on. I loved to read, but I I didn't have a good book going, or someone to play with, I went straight for TV.

  2. Those vests are amazing! Who said you're not crafty?
    My mom told me that I used to hate TV as a kid. But now you'd have a hard time getting me away from it. I think you have a good plan - you're not taking it away completely :)
    I saw a new post yesterday on my blogroll, with a thumbnail of one of your boys on the potty - but when I clicked it, it was gone :(

    1. You're fast Xae! At first I had that picture on, but I changed my mind and took it off right away. :)

  3. I'm not familiar with that show, but the vests look fantastic! I'm so impressed!
    Good for you for finding a way to deal with the screen time that fits for your family. We've all got to find a way to do that, because screens and technology aren't going anywhere.

    1. I think it's just a couple years old, so your kids might've been too old for it by the time it came out. I guess the same guys did another show before called Zaboomafoo, which was kind of the same, but real characters and animals instead of cartoons. They might've seen that. I don't even know what network or anything, though, since we just watch it on the computer.