Friday, July 20, 2007

A vast wasteland

The latest scientific research recommends not allowing children under the age of two to watch television, so as not to let their little brains rot at an early age (only put into more scientificy words).

Early on, the missus and I decided that it would be a good idea to heed the sciencey reports and keep Baby Boy EC away from the idiot box for the first couple of years of his life. I'm not sure about the missus, but I mistakenly assumed that this was a decision we wouldn't have to worry about too much for the first year, since I couldn't imagine BB EC would show all that much interest in the boob tube til that time.

But, like much else in life, I was sadly mistaken.

Since BB EC turned two months old, he has taken every opportunity possible to sneak a peak at the evil black box, no matter what's on - Food Network, Red Sox game, test pattern. A couple of times, we've even caught him staring at it while it's been turned off. The first time we caught him watching TV was about a month ago, when he was screaming as babies will do and I was walking him around the room singing songs about monkeys and diaper pails, as dads will do when babies cry. Suddenly, BB EC stopped crying and his eyes turned big as saucers as he stared across the room.

"Good boy," I said. "Daddy knows how to make you ... Hey, are you watching 'So You Think You Can Dance'? No, no, no."

Since then, whenever we're in a room with a television on, we have to make sure to turn BB EC in the opposite direction, lest he be lured in by the magical allure of Alton Bown's Good Eats or another barnburner of a Terry Francona press conference (You know, our guys played hard, sometimes the other team just gets that extra opportunity, blah, blah, blah). And because BB EC shares a room with his mommy and daddy, when we put him in his crib, we have to make sure his eyes are closed before we turn the TV on. On more than one occasion, we've thought he was asleep, only to discover he was faking it and watching Househunters instead.

Unfortunately, BB EC has some allies on the TV front in the form of Grammy and Grampy EC. When we were over their house for Sunday dinner, we told them that we don't plan on letting BB EC watch TV until he is at least two.

"You and your father watched TV when you were little," she tells us. My dad and I also have the attention spans of gnats, so that might not be her best argument.

Try as we might, however, there is always the temptation (on my part at least, don't tell the missus) when BB EC is especially fussy or screaming, to walk by the television verrrrry slowwwwly and let him catch those bright colors and frantic movements out of the corner of his eyes. So far, I've done my best to resist and stick to my improvisational songs about monkeys, pampers, and spaceships.

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Blogger Suldog said...

"Hey, are you watching 'So You Think You Can Dance'? No, no, no."


I seriously think there are pros and cons to letting youngsters watch TV. I think much of the problem is with parents who use the TV as a babysitter, rather than providing input themselves. When the images are unregulated and unexplained, confusion is bound to occur.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

Can't imagine why songs about monkeys diaper pails don't do the trick.

And adding space ships? Truly inspired.

Try singing louder?

8:06 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I tried like a bastard to keep the tv away from the girl, but after 4 frigging exhausting years of all weekend long playgroups, I give in on occasion. It's amazing. She can't sit still for anything in the world but falls into a trance for SpongeBob. Oh well. At least I waited a few years until her mind starts rotting.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Davo said...

I have two sons. One is 33, an attorney who is now head of the legal section of his company's SE Asia operations. The other has his master's degree in English, a good job and is hoping to begin work on his doctorate soon. In our house, the first thing turned on in the morning was the TV and it was the last thing turned off at night. I'm skeptical when people say TV is so bad for children. Probably the worst thing for them is lack of stimulation.

4:58 AM  

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