Tuesday, December 18, 2007

T.V. Tirade

Before Isaiah was born, I had definite ideas about the kind of parent I would be. We would do lots of crafts that encourage cognitive development, we would have a plethora of fun physical and educational activities laid out before us for each day, and we would watch minimal TV. Oh, and my house would be pretty clean and organized too. So, like most people with no kids, I was a great parent. Now, however, I have slipped upstairs to write while Isaiah watches Sesame Street and chores are left undone. We don't do many crafts at all (Isaiah isn't really into them when we try anyway) and since it's freezing outside, we haven't taken a trip to the park in quite a while. Although Isaiah is watching TV at the moment, I really do keep it at a minimum, but not because I am a supermom. We barely watch any TV because the kid's programs on are exorbitantly annoying. Seriously - the annoyance factor in kid's programming is just excessive. I can't even stand to have most of them on even when I'm in a different part of the house. And, instead of growing more tolerant over the months, I've grown progressively less tolerant. For the time being, there are two shows I can stand on PBS - Curious George and Sesame Street (and I have a feeling my magnanimity with the latter stems greatly from my love of Sesame Street as a child.) I'm also okay with several DVDs, such as Baby Einstein or Peter Pan, but we watch those sparingly so I don't begin to hate them as well.

While the fact that other shows are so excruciating probably makes me a better parent, I don't understand why they have to be so bad. I'm also happy to know I am not the only parents with these rather strong feelings to this supposedly benign programming. I recently found a poll on a parenting website asking which PBS kids/Nick Jr. show was the most annoying, and over 7,400 parents had cast their votes and voiced their opinion in the comment section (often with sentiments that would not have been appropriate for PBS kids to air.) For those of you who think I'm a terrible human being, let me give you a brief synopsis of a few shows.

Teletubbies are four extremely odd creatures who speak in an inane form of 'baby talk' and sing things like "Hat, hat, hat haaaaat" or "Quickly, quickly, quickly, quiiiiiiickly." They also have rather annoying names that I can't remember completely but are something like "Tinkle Winkle" and "Tipsy Dipsy." Then there is Caillou. This is a show about a four year old boy who learns a discovers things in the world every day. Unfortunately Caillou is one of the whiniest little boys I've ever seen, and his cutesy voice has literally made me cover my ears at times. The narrator's voice is also rather grating, and the theme song gets stuck in my head and sinks its teeth in for days. Also, he's bald - not a huge deal, but it seems like they could have drawn a few hairs on a four year old boy. There is also Barney, who I don't even feel the need to describe because his annoying tendencies are pretty well known to most people. Honestly, I feel as though I would be alright with these programs (except Teletubbies) if they aired a half-hour episode every month or two, but every day is too much. Once a week is too much. Never is often enough for me. They make me happy not to have cable and access to even more of these shows.

Isaiah has become quite a parrot of Michael and I, and he's getting extremely good at it. Now, before he answers a question such as "What do you want for breakfast?" He will put his fingers to his chin in his little thoughtful pose and sound off a big, long, pensive, "Hmmmmmm...." before invariably answering "fruit snacks." It may be the same answer every time, but he's really thought it through. He has also begun saying "bow-chicka-wow-wow," which I credit my husband for entirely.

We have begun quizzing for our trip to South Dakota. We will look at pictures from other visits with my family and go over Grandma Carpenter, Grandpa Carpenter, Uncle Andy, and Sparky (the dog.) He has the people down pat, but he's still a little confused about the dog, which makes sense because he hasn't seen Sparky in a year. I trust Sparky's feelings won't be hurt, though, since Sparky seems to have trouble remembering his own name from time to time. I have also begun preparing for the 9 hour drive. We plan to leave at 5:00 a.m. sharp so that Isaiah would have two to three hours of sleeping time at the beginning of the drive. We are also counting on an hour or two nap in the afternoon. During the awake time, though, I have planned several thousand different activities in the hopes that four or five will be big hits. Actually, momsminivan.com recommended a different activity or snack for every 15 minutes of a trip, which is what I did. I have 18 activities and 18 different snacks for Isaiah to choose from, plus we have a portable DVD player, which was an early Christmas present from my parents. To be honest, I'm actually really excited to see what Isaiah thinks of all the fun things I planned for him. We bought a special tray that can attach to his carseat to give him a playing/eating surface, and I have some fun little new toys I bought from a thrift store along with jingle bells, magnets on a cookie sheet, a foam build-a-snowman kit, plastic homemade snow globes, and rolls of 1,000 stickers.

We have already celebrated Christmas with Michael's family, which was so much fun. Last year, Isaiah didn't quite understand the concept of new presents belonging to him or even of unwrapping, but this year he totally got it. It was so much fun to see him unwrap a gift and get really excited about it. It took quite a while because we stopped to let him play with his toys before moving onto whatever was next. I realized that I am so much more excited for Isaiah to open his presents than I am for myself. I'm sure people will give me wonderful things, but there is just no chance I'm going to be as cute as Isaiah when I open them. Plus, I get to play with all his toys anyway.

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