Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tube

I have no qualms admitting I enjoy TV. Maybe it's because I'm a trained journalist who soaks up information and loves being reasonably aware of pop culture. Maybe it's because some reality shows lull me into a near-coma and I like tuning out for a change. It's been there for me when I've needed a good cry. It's shown me that I don't have it so bad when I feel like I do (thanks, Duggars). It's been a bonding medium between friends as we become snarky during The Bachelor.
It has been part of Abby's life too. When she was a newborn who nursed every hour and a half, I'd work on my butt groove in the couch and watch TV while she ate. When Rich watched a hockey game and said he was "watching her" while I made dinner, she'd roll around on her play mat, taking notice of the dark figures moving quickly over contrasting white ice, enthralled.
We have made a conscious effort to limit her TV-watching, control what she watches, and watch it with her, to interact instead of sitting like zombies. We know that if she watched it all hours of the day, she'd morph from a spunky, lovable toddler to an apathetic couch potato at age three. Or something like that, right? Something scary that all the parenting boards and books want me to avoid.
Abby has also watched some great DVDs that have helped her learn so much. She learned to count to 10 at 19 months old. She has learned choreography from Hip Hop Baby. She has learned a ton of new words and expressions from Finding Nemo, Madagascar and Little Einstein shorts. I am happy with our choice to include these movies into her learning, and we're proud of the benefits.
Now, Abby also watches music videos, usually with her Dad while I make dinner. She calls it "dance dance time." And I truly love that when I peek down the stairs at them, they are hand-in-hand galloping around the room to JLo or the Black Eyed Peas. (Sorry to blow the cover on your secret dance dreams, Rich). I know this is probably in the parenting expert books of no-no: letting my impressionable little girl watch music videos.
The experts probably say this so she doesn't grow up with distorted body image, skewed perceptions on women's roles, and exposure to mature themes before she's ready. I agree. For now, she is two, and when we decide to cut it out, we will. But I love watching Lady Gag's dance sequences as much as she loves skipping to her lou, my darling.
Abby's brain is firing away faster than I can keep track, and I recognize how sponge-like it is in absorbing the vocabulary and behaviour around her. Maybe it's because I am home with Abby (just us two), but I like that she gleams a larger variety of songs, words, and expressions from her movies than I can give her on my own.
It's not a crutch, and I am confidant that when I see it becoming one, it'll go. We just made it through an 8-month winter and though we watched TV more than I would have liked some days, we're no worse for wear.
Besides, it's nice out now and I have a feeling that TV enthusiasm will be left behind with winter hibernation for greener pastures and little jugs of bubbles.

1 comment:

  1. This is so refreshing. Seriously, THANK YOU for posting this!!!

    Not that you need me to validate your parenting choices or anything, but let's be frank- you live even farther north than I do. In the middle of winter, when you get 2 minutes of daylight, and it's 30 below and there is snow up to your eyeballs, and it's been like that for 60 days, and will be like that for at least 60 MORE days, show me ONE PARENT who wouldn't turn on the TV for their kid!

    It's just so refreshing to hear someone say "Yeah, my kid watches TV- just a bit, and only what I let her- and her brain hasn't turned to mashed potatoes"'s a nice counterpoint to all the hysterical "My kid got ADHD from TV!" postings you find everywhere on the internet!

    And furthermore- TV doesn't "teach" kids to have low self esteem, or to be violent, or anything else. I think those problems manifest when there isn't an adult who can discuss what they're watching with the child- reminding them that the people on TV don't really look like the people on TV (thanks to the wonder of airbrushing and retouching and hair and makeup and wardrobe!), and discussing what they saw on screen and how un-realistic that may be.

    But, I hope you have a warm enough summer that you can enjoy being away from the TV for a bit! I know that's what I'm praying for down here!


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