Nezzie Watches TV. So?

I do not feel guilty about how much television Nezzie watches.

She watches a lot. She knows lines to whole movies by heart and Curious George is her best friend. She will also play. But honestly, she is always on the go and the TV saves my sanity.

I used to be one of those people (with my oldest) that restricted TV to 30 minutes on weekdays and one hour (or one movie) on weekends. We did art projects, we baked, we played outside. I was a “Pinterest mom” and I would never dream of bringing an electronic device to a restaurant.

If I saw you putting a movie on for your kid at a restaurant? I judged you, I judged you hard.

All kids may be different but that doesn’t impact how we parent as much as we would like to think it does. All parents are different, and all parents are different at different points of their lives.

I am older now and I like to think wiser. I am also sicker now; my pain and exhaustion are at higher levels. At times I want to parent Nezzie the way I did Amelia. I buy supplies and projects with plans to complete them, but they are just sitting in the closet.

I say Nezzie just doesn’t like books, but would she be more into books if i took more time to just sit and read with her? I know she would do the art projects. I know she would love to go to the parks and the play places. She is a kid–and kids are basically the same at this age with liking to do these things.

I guided Amelia through out the day, Nezzie has free choice almost all day. We had boxes and boxes of projects that Amelia completed but we have two Nezzie paintings on the fridge. I don’t save the little bit of art Nezzie does while I saved every thing Amelia created.

The differences are not because the girls have different personalities, saying that is misleading. I have a different personality now. I will not feel bad because I am raising Nezzie this way; Nezzie is not being damaged.

I fought back the haters when I chose not to breastfeed, but guess what? Nezzie is two and still has not needed antibiotics and rarely ever gets sick.

She never slept with us, but guess what? She is still attached to us, still comes to us for comfort, and is one of the happiest and most trusting kid I have ever met.

Nezzie watches a lot of TV, but guess what? She is still has a very active imagination and is able to concentrate for long periods on tasks.

If you ever meet Nezzie, you see that she is very stubborn. She runs around, she doesn’t listen, she won’t do as she is told, and she hates hearing “no.” She would be this way if I programmed her day, she would be this way if we did art projects every day, she would be this way if we were constantly at the play place.

Somehow, Nezzie has learned her ABC’s, she can count to 10, she can name some shapes and colors. She is also wearing a tutu that she refuses to take off and thinks that her “boppity boo” wand will make her dad magically appear.

Nezzie will grow up with the same family dinners Amelia has always enjoyed. She will grow up knowing she is loved and that we are always here for her, just as Amelia always has. She will grow up surrounded by encouragement and pride in her accomplishments, just as Amelia always has. Some things don’t change when the art projects disappear and the TV goes on.

Don’t judge my parenting, because I am not judging yours. We parent how we are in the moment using our history and as to what our bodies allow. The thing is, we all parent.

Why are we so judgmental as a society about how others parent? I mean this, seriously, it is a question to think about. Judaism doesn’t give much guidance when it comes to parenting except don’t abuse your kid, don’t choose a favorite, educate your children on their history, and make sure your kids respect you and other adults. I think those are some pretty good guidelines.

Remember it does take a village because our kids don’t live in a bubble. I need your help to help my kids be safe and respectful, so save all the judgement and let’s just be there for each other.

Unless you don’t vaccinate, then I will judge and maybe lecture you.


Leah is Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine. She's a special educator, former school director for Manheim Central School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and mother to Amelia and Nezzie. She's usually tolerant of her husband, Brian.

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About Brian

Brian Kresge

Brian Kresge

Writer, President of Bangor's Congregation Beth Israel, soldier, programmer, father, musician, Heeb, living in the woods of Maine with three ladies and a dog.

About Leah

Leah Kresge

Leah Kresge

Director of Education for Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine, special educator and former school board member, mother to Amelia and Nezzie.

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