Oh darling television, how I have missed you so. From Cartoon Network for its soporific effect on my older boys, to the calming tones of CBeebies for the twins, how have I lived without my electronic babysitter for two weeks?
I know it is generally thought to be a 'bad thing' to allow your children near a TV set, and if you do dare to stoop so low then you should at least make sure their viewing is virtuous and strictly time limited. But I am sorry, I have no idea how parents coped before the advent of the telly.
I try to monitor how much they watch, and I do ensure that my boys have far more time playing outside or beating one another over the head with random plastic toys in the house, than they do slumped in a hypnotic stupor in front of the screen. But I think I would have lost the plot years ago if I couldn't have bought myself the odd 10 minutes (OK I admit it hour or so) with bribe of some quality screen time.
Whether it's keeping the twins quiet while I snatch a shower after breakfast, or pacifying the older ones when I absolutely must make that work call or hit that looming deadline, TV has saved my sanity, and professional reputation, on more than one occasion.
Of course this virtual entertainment is no substitute for spending time with the children, but I will say one thing for it, it has taught them lots of things I never knew. Son number two has an encyclopedic knowledge of the best deals available from domestic energy suppliers, and often pipes up with some random fact that he has picked up during his hours in front of the box.
His little cousin once impressed his parents no end by correctly identifying a particular constellation of stars. As they sat back congratulating themselves on having sired a genius, he revealed that he had picked up this particular nugget of information from Peppa Pig. So far from rotting his brain it had enhanced his education to a point where he may be regarded as virtually a prodigy.
So I am glad to be back home with this life enhancing tool, not least because its lure has enabled me to write this post in peace. Bliss