Thursday, June 9, 2011

Turning Off the TV
A Conditioned Response

Every time I turned off the TV, the babies would immediately pop their heads up and look at me. What they did next depended on what time of day it was. If it was night time, they pretty much guessed it was nighty-time. During our first few months in the condo, I’d ask them if they wanted to go nighty, and they would hop up and head towards the stairs. Later, they wouldn’t even wait for me to ask them to go to bed. They knew what was going to happened and what they should do.

However, if it was day-time, their response was a little different. They knew one of 2 things was going to happen. We were all going to go bye-bye or I was going to leave them all alone in the universe; all by their baby-selves. They would intensely watch me and wait to see what I said or did. If I said the magic words “Let’s go bye-bye” they would head towards the door and wait for me to put the leashes on them.

But if I said “I’ll be back.” They dropped their ears down and hung their heads. They were going to be alone and they knew it. I learned to ease their pain of isolation by keeping the TV on while I was away. It took the sting out of my departure, a little.

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