There is no chill when it comes to toddlers. So, no - family movie night will be very little "chilling". In reality, I'm going to be chasing my two-year-old back to the couch and telling him to stop kicking his sister in the head. When I find a moment to sit back and enjoy the movie, I won't know where we are or what's happening in the story line - almost like I've fallen asleep mid-movie ten times in the same spot. Before I can get comfy, I pull the Happy Meal toy from the cushions so it's not poking me. My feet up, I breathe a sigh of relief. And as I exhale, Shep jumps onto my ribs and shrieks in my ear.
Today, I gave in to the devil on my shoulder and stocked a kitchen cabinet drawer with "Shep snacks". Many of them are healthy - unsweetened applesauce, dried fruit, snack packs of crackers. Still, it's become his go-to. Now he wants to eat every Chewy bar as he watches DinoTrux. It occured to me that he has a few patterns in his food and 'flix habits. Maybe it's just Shep, but I like to think this list is what I'd call "toddler approved".
If you're going to watch Mister Rogers, it had better be 8 am and you're snuggling up to a warm bowl of oatmeal with blueberries mixed in. Wrapping you in a hug that's as sweet as Fred's sweater, and full of long-lasting food/fuel, oatmeal is a great and inexpensive breakfast treat. *Disclaimer: This is on Prime Video, not Netflix.*
An afternoon viewing of Netflix Original DinoTrux calls for nothing less than a prepackaged snack bag of Goldfish. The multicolored fishes are preferred, but regular off-brand cheese crackers will do in a pinch. It must be extra crunchy, no matter what, because the Dinos will be crunching ore - and Shep will be crunching orange crackers into tiny flakes all over my floor.
Daddy likes to unwind on weekends with a healthy dose of family geek-outs. Yes, we're quite proud that Shep can say"Star Wars", and knows the difference between "R2" and "3PO". The Clone Wars is a kid-friendly and adult-worthy animated show. Of course, this requires some out-of-this-world fruit snacks. Preferably the fruit snacks that come in Star Wars branded shapes. Here, take my money, George Lucas/Disney!
If I want to feel particularly old, I spend some time letting Shep soak up the new version of Inspector Gadget. My little cutie pie gets to munch on some Cutie clementines while he ages me. Citrus, of course, because it makes you peel back the outside and it reveals itself as something even more interesting on the inside. Seriously - go grab some oranges and watch this yourself. Thank me later!
I'll be honest, I don't even watch this. Mostly I just like playing it because saying, "Alexa, play 'Llama Llama'" is really funny-sounding. Because I like following the funny theme, I split a banana with Shep. He will repeat 'nana until he's blue in the face - and he'll tell you that it's yellow - until you repeat it back to him.
Newsflash: There's not hard and fast rules. If you want to plop your kid in front of a screen, and you've decided you're okay with that: then do it! Give them some nourishing and yummy snacks, and give yourself a mommy break. You deserve it! (And you can always watch that new Gilmore Girls miniseries during naptime!)