We don’t let Sam watch television. I take seriously the American Academy of Pediatrics warning that babies under two should not watch tv. I’ve seen too many kids sitting glued in front of the idiot box, eyes glazed over like a fiend in an opium den. There are too many kids who spend hours watching cartoons and Hannah Montana or whatever the kids are watching these days, yet they can’t focus on reading a book. And that’s for the kids who know how to read. I wonder if my four year old niece would be able to read if she hadn’t spent the past four years watching hours of television. Children have short attention spans as it is; we don’t need to make it worse by molding their minds in accordance with the fast paced lights and pictures they sit and view passively and without engaging.
So we don’t let Sam watch television. That being said, we do let him watch a few youtube videos with music that we sing along to–like “How Do You Talk To A Little Baby Goat?” (from Tom T. Hall’s Country Songs for Children) and “Convoy.” (I know, why in the world “Convoy”? My husband started singing it, and Sam liked the song. Then we found a youtube video that has images of big trucks.) While youtube is on, we’re sitting with Sam, singing with him, or getting up and dancing with him during 2-3 minute videos. He’s not sitting alone for a half hour long program.
Now though, Sam has his first cold. His little body shakes with the coughs, and then he cries, loud prolonged guttural cries. He’s coughing and sneezing. And when he sneezes, I try to get in there with the tissue before he smears the snots all over his face. I usually fail, mostly because he keeps shoving my hand away and turning his head the other way. It’s sad to see him so uncomfy and drippy. To make it worse—the more active he is, the more he coughs, and the crankier he gets. So I’ve been trying to keep him calm and still as best I can.
So I resorted to cartoons. I sat him on my lap and watched Tom & Jerry. I love these old cartoons. The old cat and mouse favorite didn’t hold his attention for more than a minute though. So I looked (on youtube) for animated hijinks more appealing to a baby. I’m not familiar with current trends in baby-friendly tv programming. I looked for Blue’s Clues, but its network must block it from the evil that is free online viewing. Sam and I ended up watching an hour of Raffi. I don’t mind Raffi’s music at all; I’ve been singing Baby Beluga a lot since then.
I felt bad though for giving in and letting him zone out in front of the screen. But then again, the poor little guy was so sick, and he was finally calm and as comfy as he could be. We all need a little extra spoiling when we’re feeling sick.
(Sam was feeling much better after a few days. But of course I got sick. And as I lied on the couch, weak, headachy, and going through multiple boxes of tissues, I again sat Sam on my lap to watch cartoons. I simply didn’t have the strength to do much of anything else with him. Was this a failed moment in my crunchymunchy parenting? I don’t think so. It may not have been my best parenting highlight, but really, what else are you to do when you’re sick? So I try not to be too hard on myself for this lapse in our usual television restriction. I don’t think the American Academy of Pediatrics will be too upset with me. )