Sunday, March 22, 2009

i'm sorry if this offends you, but i'm going to say it anyway

why am i being bombarded with questions about my 6-month-old watching baby einstein? and more importantly, why do i get that stifled expression when i say that i don't think she needs to watch tv at her age, no matter what the program is?

if i'm going to be subjected to the outlandish behavior of other parents A) telling me what to do with my child and B) telling me that tv is the answer, then shouldn't i be allowed to respond as i really want to? no, it's more pc for me to smile and say something like 'oh yeah, i've heard about that, we haven't tried it yet.'

i'm all for general politeness, and believe me, i love the diversity that each family can impart upon their own children. but please people, why do you assume to know what's best for ALL children?

for example, my laundry room buddy. she's a mother to a four-year-old girl and lives in the next building over from me. we generally stick to safe topics, such as commiserating about how much we hate where we live and listing the many faults of our complex and management. but yesterday, she took it too far.

laundry lady: 'how's the baby? getting big huh?'

me: 'yeah, sitting up on her own now! it's great because she enjoys her toys in a whole new way.'

laundry lady: 'does she like baby einstein? my daughter started at 3 months, she loved it.'
(mimicking a baby watching tv, face still, eyes wide open, in a trance.)

me: 'oh yeah, i haven't really tried that. she likes her toys a lot.'

laundry lady: 'oh my gosh!! you HAVE to try it! get her started early so she'll be able to sit and watch on her own. you should do all those educational types of videos, give her a head start.'

me: 'uh, yeah, maybe.'
(turning my back to remove clothes from the dryer, setting the stage for my quick exit from this odious dialogue)

laundry lady: (another face, this time clearly biting her tongue about how my kid's going to grow up a dummy because she didn't learn to count by 9 months old) ' well, i guess you don't have to if you're not ready...'

um, i don't know if i'll ever be ready for that.

i understand that tv is real and it's a part of every household, and that sometimes you need a half hour to make dinner, or something for a sick kid to veg out to, or even just for some time to yourself. you can't be your child's sole source of entertainment. and i can absolutely understand why videos would be better than regular tv programs, but the sense of urgency that i MUST train my baby to regularly watch videos is astonishing to me.

i'm sure the old argument 'einstein himself didn't watch baby einstein' has been applied here many times before i entered the picture, but i still think it's valid. if i play with my child, teach her to play independently, take her out to experience things outside of our home, read to her, talk to her, love her, how is that deficient?

am i committing a fatal flaw in my child's development? is there something to baby einstein that i don't know about? (real question, not sarcasm)

i can only hope that as i navigate the many crossroads of parenthood, that i can become accustomed to constantly evolving. i know my daughter won't be that cute babbling baby forever, and i'll have to grow with her.

ps. i always welcome other parent's advice about what worked for them, but when it's phrased as 'DO this' that's when i get upset.


Kristine said...

Fact #1: Baby Einstein is NOT good for your child's development. (That lady obviously got duped by marketing which sells it as the total opposite.)
Fact #2: Most TV is bad for children, especially when it's not in moderation.

Plain and simple. That said, it's certainly part of our household.

Brian said...

Maybe Einstein should have had Baby Himself, he didn't have shit and look what happened...he invented nuclear weapons and nipple tassels.