If you thought driving while texting or using your cell phone was dangerous ... think again.
I was mesmerized and repulsed at the same time. I guess the SUV mommy had not heard about the recall of "Baby Einstein"; she was too busy driving around creating the next genius. Meanwhile, I was motoring behind her, hypnotized like a sucker -- watching that baby bear jumping up and down with his balloons. Maybe I was about to be a genius, too?
I am pretty sure that Einstein was no baby genius. Do we think his early exposure to Mozart sped up potty training? Who could be duped into thinking that colorful puppets will make trigonometry come at age 6 instead of 16? I am pretty sure (see how my science lingo is telling you I did not watch enough "Baby Einstein"?) that plopping babies and toddlers in front of the TV is a great way to get in that extra load of laundry, have an uninterrupted phone call with your best friend and fit in plenty of other activities (or naps) that moms and dads need. Yes! You deserve those extra things, but don't be fooled into thinking that you are educating your child with the television -- just like falling asleep on those old schoolbooks did not make you absorb the information through an osmosis-like transference (note the science word).
I almost missed my turn! Wait, lady! I wanted to follow the duck dancing with the frog!
There was a lot of controversy on this TV subject for babies and toddlers. It was marketing brilliance that made all of us stop and say, "Really? Classical music and happy, fun bears can make the future of this world smarter, faster?" "Baby Einstein" wanted you to believe that your baby was learning. From a bear. With balloons and classical music. Now, even I know that you could put a lab coat on me, give me clipboard and let me get bossy, and I still would not be an expert on anything. Just because you want it to be does not make it so.
Loads of research began to outweigh the claims "Baby Einstein" was making. Testing was done, and it was discovered that low test scores could be the result of some parents using the videos as a substitute for reading and playing with their children. No more duckies and Bach? Are you crazy? But it has Einstein's name on it! It must make smart babies!
"His eyes wouldn't leave the TV screen," wrote one mother from Hayward, Calif., in a letter to the Baby Einstein Company. "I could go take a shower [and] drink my coffee in peace while getting ready for work. I was so thrilled with 'Baby Mozart' I went out and bought 'Baby Bach.'"
Listen, lady: You could also jump in the car, go for groceries, get some gas, go to Starbucks and come home in time to change out the DVD! This is not parenting, people. This is TV! This makes little TV robots, like me! You know how when you get home from work, you're exhausted and you want a little time out from life? Maybe you turn on the TV? That does not make you a genius, either.
All I am asking is that you call it like it is. Go get a giant stack of books for that toddler. Play and dance around together in the living room to Mozart, Bach and whatever music you love. Give them a play lab coat, clipboard and crayons and let them be the boss. Just lay off the baby TV -- because you just might be surprised to find out that you do have a genius on your hands.
|Katie Wisdom Weinstein is a professional modern momma. She lives in Portland, Ore., in a 100-year-old house with her husband, Jess, and her two children: Ruby, age 10, and Skylar, age 12. Cooking, camping, negotiating with preteens and allowing a zoo of animals in her house are her pastimes.|