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Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton

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The Great “No TV” Experiment: Week Three

Well, heading deep into week three of the Great No-TV-For-Lent, Gotta-Read-Five-Hours-A-Week-Or-No-Pizza-Party Experiment. (My original post about this idea is here.)

I’m delighted to report that, while I've yet to get them to embrace fully my "five different types of books each week" idea, the basic plan itself does seem to be working. Even for Craig and me. That’s really something, because we have more control over our choices than our children have over theirs.

Then yesterday, Valentine's Day, took an unexpectedly abysmal turn (I’ll spare you the details) and … for just a moment I was tempted to go with the old standby: Mikes Hard Limeade in one hand, remote in the other. But the sight of three pairs of eyes watching me expectantly made me stop. Then I put the remote back in the drawer and closed it firmly. Chasing the kids off to bed, Craig and I just sat on the couch and talked. Till almost midnight. It's been a while since we've done that (usually one or both of us are working when the kids are sleeping).

Three hours later, just before kissing me goodnight, Craig said to me, "You know, we hardly ever talk like this when the TV is on."

Hmmm... maybe my dad was on to something when he pitched our television set out the bedroom window when I was in first grade. (Not quite there yet. Sorry.)

Christopher is a "Stars Fanatic" now, though. Tonight on the way home from his piano lesson, he wanted to know if he could have a star sticker (which I've been giving for 30 minutes of reading) because he did well on his piano lesson. I about choked.

"Christopher," I said very seriously. "Those lessons are our gift to you, and you are very blessed to be able to take lessons from someone as gifted as Mrs. Thoene. You should be giving ME a star for these lessons!"

That shut him up. Seriously, I was looking around the teacher's house tonight. In her living room she has a pipe organ, harpsicord, clavicord, and upright piano. Yes, that's right ... all in one room. And she charges the same as my parents paid thirty years ago for my lessons, which were done on a little Hammond electronic.

You know how you always want to give your kids what you didn't have? Jackpot.

I had it pretty good too, of course. Without all that TV, I had lots of time for my music lessons. I still can sing every verse of nearly every hymn in my "Great Hymns of the Faith" by heart. And I was the only junior high student who had a regular organist/choir director gig at the local Lutheran church.

Anyway … how is YOUR Lent going so far? I’d love to hear from you …  head over to “Mommy Monsters,” and drop me a comment! Here’s the link.

Heidi Hess Saxton is the editor of “Canticle” magazine and author of Raising Up Mommy: Virtues for Difficult Mothering Moments (Simon Peter Press, 800-558-5452) and Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert (Bezalel Books). For ordering information, go to Heidi’s adoptive parent blog:


Copyright 2008 Heidi Hess Saxton

Heidi Hess Saxton is editor of "Canticle" magazine and author of Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert and Raising Up Mommy: Virtues for Difficult Mothering Moments. Order information for all her books may be found on her website: Heidi's new Mary blog is "Behold Your Mother: A Bouquet of Love to Mary from Her Children" ( She also hosts "Mommy Monsters," for adoptive parents ( and "Silent Canticle," for Catholic writers (

Would you like to receive Heidi's column by email?  Send a message to Heidi.


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