For as long as I can remember, my nightly ritual before going to bed has been to put the TV on the Disney Channel.
I do this since my children insist on getting up before the infomercials are over on all other channels. The Disney Channel knows little kids. Need cartoons at 5am… BAM! They are your channel.
It is habit in our house for the kids to get up, creep downstairs and turn the TV on to watch. They know not to wake mommy unless they are hurt or on fire.
For many years, this has worked out great. I will hear the kids come downstairs and turn the TV on. I can then leisurely begin my wake up and I don’t have to deal with a creepy child face staring at me as I sleep. But as kids have grown, the Disney Channel is loosing it’s hold on them, especially the oldest.
And something else happened, the eldest figured out how to use the remote.
I don’t know why this shocks me, he plays hand held video games like a boss. I guess, I always thought of the remote as some complicated thing that if you pushed the wrong combination of buttons, you’d end up with a satellite on your front porch. I can only imagine the government response to one of their satellite not in space and on my front porch would be much the same as the response from 911 when my kids called there by mistake.
Hayden has decided that since he can change the channel, he should.
Since it is early morning, infomercials are the name of the game on most channels so Hayden settles on the only other cartoon channel… Cartoon Network.
What Hayden doesn’t realize is that I am his mother and there is a method to my madness. The reason I choose the Disney Channel is that it is a safe channel. There is nothing too scary or inappropriate for kids to watch when their parents aren’t being responsible and watching TV with them. Cartoon Network is another story which Hayden learned the hard way.
I had not yet heard the kids come down the stairs when the screaming started.
I was sleeping, peacefully dreaming about a chocolate covered Johnny Depp when I heard the screaming and was suddenly covered in a freaked out child trying to crawl back into my uterus.
After smacking Jeff in the face and gathering my wits, I tried to figure out what was going on and what child was on top of me.
“Hayden?!” I said.
“WHAAAAAAAA!” was the only response I got as the child buried himself deeper under the covers and into my body.
I patted around the child’s face and head. From the hair, I confirmed my suspicion that it was Hayden.
“Hayden, what’s the matter? What’s wrong?!” I said a little concerned. He was really upset and not calming down… something horrible must have happened.
“There… there…” he began after a big sob and fully body shudder, “is something really scary on TV.”
“What?” I said, confused.
I had no idea what was going on. Did I forget to change the channel before going to bed. Had the infomercials ended and now some Law and Order marathon was on? Did he just watch some person get brutally murdered?
“What scared you? What did you see?” Jeff chimed in.
Hayden mumbled something and I put the pieces together that he had changed the channel to Cartoon Network.
“Ok, it’s alright buddy. Let’s just go and change the channel back,” I comforted.
“No, mom! No, I can’t go out there while that show is still on,” he sniffled.
I was was glad it was dark in the room so that he couldn’t see me roll my eyes. I threw back the covers and slid out of bed. I walked across the house to the living room to change the channel.
But when I got there, I had my own scare. ”JAKE?!” I screamed.
Jake slowly turned his head from the TV to give me his attention. He was calm and completely unfazed by me yelling his name.
I had assumed that Hayden was the only one that was awake because if there had been another child awake, I figured they would be sobbing in my bed, scared too.
“Hey mommy,” Jake finally said after a minute of me standing there looking at him.
“Hi Jake,” I said.
I glanced at the TV that was now playing a commercial. “What scared, Hayden?” I asked.
“The show,” Jake answered.
This time, I couldn’t hide my eye roll. Regardless of what was scary, it was gone now. I changed the channel and turned to leave the room.
“Mommy,” Jake said. “You know when I get scared, I just handle it.”
And with that I went in search of 5 more minutes of sleep.