On several occasions my friends have suggested that TLC should feature our family in a reality TV series. With college tuitions looming in the near future, I admit that the thought has lingered from time to time. We have the perfect last name for it. Of course you realize that 'Shenanigans' is a fictional name. Our actual name would need no adjusting; it fits us to a tee and would catch people's attention when promoting a show based on our day to day lives. Our identity would no longer be a secret, which would be a bummer. While I'm not sure I am ready to air our dirty laundry on national television, there are some aspects of starring in a reality TV series that might prove interesting.
I don't watch much reality TV myself. The bits I have seen I find far from realistic. Typically if the people starring in the show would act as if 'reality' mattered to them, then I doubt there would be any entertaining quality worth airing. I wonder though, if people saw the way we lived, would they find us difficult to relate to?
We would probably be viewed as odd for many reasons. For starters our home is free of video games. Don't worry, our kids find plenty of other things to fight about besides whose turn is it to play the video game or who broke the hand control (I'm so clueless I don't even know what they are called anymore - I was going to call it a joystick from my Atari days, but that seems wrong on so many levels). A lack of video games is only one of the ways we might seem out of touch.
Up until eighteen months ago, we didn't even have cable television. We still utilized the ever popular, rather frustrating, almost worthless, retro rabbit ears. Now that we do have cable, every channel is blocked. Why have cable if you can't watch TV, right? Much to the chagrin of our six kids, they have to ask us to unlock the TV in order to watch something. They have figured out the code before, but they aren't so clever as to cover their tracks and we caught on. Codes can be cracked, but they can also be changed. It isn't that we don't trust our kids (we don't), it is that there is so much crap on TV. Not to mention, I have a few kids who become transfixed by the boob tube or video games and they don't know what else to do with their time if they get sucked in for a while. I prefer that the kids read books, color pictures, play outside, and create fun with the bins of toys they keep conveniently scattered around most rooms in the house. Of course homework forces even the most resistant minds to learn, leaving very little time for television or video game competitions.
Fast food is rarely ingested by the Shenanigan kids. When one lucky soul does visit the golden arches while at a friend's house after school, for example, there are no details left out. Noses are rubbed in visions of chicken nuggets and salty fries whenever the occasion presents itself. The injustice of life reveals itself at such an early age, and my kids never hesitate to inform me just how unfair life seems on these occasions. Don't get me wrong, we aren't health freaks. I love a good, juicy burger from time to time. I cook chicken strips at home. My husband flips burgers on our grill. As fast as that food may be, I cannot accept how fast my dollars disappear in one dinner visit. We just find our dollar stretches farther when the food prep is done in our own noisy, cluttered kitchen. As far as reality TV goes, I am guessing that eating meals created at home and ingested on paper plates wrapped in tin foil in the car rather than hitting drive thru on the way to the game might cause viewers to gather around the TV so they can stare and wonder, "Do people really live this way?"
My kids are convinced that they are the only children on the face of this earth that are required to perform household duties daily. While I doubt this is true, perhaps our reward system (that I am constantly revamping- and that Laddie continues to mock me because of it's continuous imperfections) might interest some viewers. The eye soar of a dry erase calendar in my kitchen that serves as the center for the job chart, reward offerings, and activities listing might score some much needed guidance from Nate Berkus. When he pays us a surprise visit, perhaps he can offer advice on patching the numerous dry wall holes that grace our walls, and some space saving suggestions to help us get organized and look good at the same time.
There are aspects of our life that already resemble parts of current reality TV shows. I'm very verbal when the kids practice their Irish dancing. I danced when I was a kid, so I feel somewhat qualified to offer suggestions. Eddie likes to call me 'dance mom.' He and I caught part of an episode once, and it definitely left an impression. The fact that he chuckles when he says it keeps him out of the dog house. Additionally, how many shows are focused on families with lots of children? Well, we might not have double digit kids, but isn't it unique nowadays to have six kids who don't all share the same birthday? That might be where our similarities end. Duck calling isn't my thing. I am, however, proficient at kid calling. The neighbors probably tire of hearing me call somebody inside, or they cringe when I yell at a naughty kid to get out of my sight. We are also aware of a mild hoarding gene that is present in our makeup. I'm convinced that Tetonka will someday secure a spot on the hoarder show. Seriously. . . a concern of mine. Imagine if that becomes a 'reality' after we have starred in our own series. The producers could flip to scenes from Tetonka's childhood to show behavior leading up to the official pack-rat stage. I think Coach and I have tendencies to stockpile crap in our house, but this issue stems from a lack of abundant time to clean out closets verses a belief that this stuff will someday have another use. I am working diligently this summer to rid ourselves of some of the excess in our closets.
Don't worry, I don't think you will be tuning in to see the Shenanigan's any time soon. Until then, I hope you find some other wacky family to keep you bored, and remind you how normal you are!