Before I had an outside baby and I was a swollen mom-to-be, I did not expect to be the type of mom who would let her kid watch TV before the age of two. :::shudder::: If this kid’s going to Harvard in 2020, we have to start somewhere, right? Well, we made it to maybe a whooping eight weeks of life before I was sleep deprived, desperate and swaying my crying babe in front of the flat screen saying, “Look! Look at all the pretty colors!” Before that, he spent many hours breastfeeding or just sleeping in my arms while I watched Andy Cohen’s housewives of anywhere throw drinks on each other. So, the no screen time thing didn’t work out.
Soon I was introduced to the “Hot Dog Song”, the infectious, nonsensical beat at the end of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and saw that no matter what mood Daniel was in, if he heard the Hot Dog Song, he would stop and watch. He would be completely mesmerized for the entire duration. And sometimes all you need is a couple minutes of peace. It is a truly magical tool. When you search “hot dog song” on Youtube, one of the top results is the song repeated FOR AN HOUR. Obviously this exists for the purpose of distracting your child or is currently used in Guantanamo Bay.
My kid watches TV. Not a lot. But, yes, if sometimes I’m trying to cook dinner and he’s all up in my biznass or if he woke up unusually early and I just want to lay down and fool myself into thinking I’m still sleeping, I will turn on the TV. He’s not watching Breaking Bad. He doesn’t spend a long period of time in front of a screen. It hasn’t seemed to negatively affect his language skills or development. I can live with this, as documented by the folders of Disney Junior cluttering my DVR.
Disney Junior doesn’t have traditional commercials, but they do have short, weird cartoons to fill a few minutes before the next show. For example, they have a BBC segment called “Small Potatoes” which features little potatoes voiced by British children that teach kids about art and culture.
They have a feature called “Nina Needs to Go” about this little girl named Nina who always forgets to go to the bathroom and HAS to go when she’s somewhere incredibly inconvenient. The feature shows Nina racing through ski slopes, home improvement stores, etc. to the nearest bathroom and then she always ends the segment with, “And now I know, don’t wait to go!” But obviously she never learns her lesson because this is a reoccurring segment. Get your crap together, Nina.
Then there’s Sam Sandwich. Sam Sandwich is a talking sandwich (not sure what variety, maybe turkey) who teaches kids to eat their vegetables and form healthy eating habits. The first time Sam come on the screen, baby A bursts into tears. It was as if someone pinched him. It was very sudden and caused me to jump up, run to him and immediately examine him for the cause of his sudden pain. I picked him up and he continued to cry until Sam Sandwich concluded his vegetable crusade and left the screen.
The second time Daniel saw Sam Sandwich, he again, burst into tears as soon as the sandwich came on the screen. At this time, I realized that it was Sam Sandwich that was the cause of my son’s sudden and strange emotional outburst. So I did what any parent would do and documented his turmoil.