Guest blogger Margie: My youngest -- Liv, aged 16 months -- doesn't like television. She prefers roaming, running and exploring the nooks, drawers and cabinets of the house over Elmo or "Baby Einstein." I know, I know: This is supposed to be a good thing. But Mommy needs a break!
I've tried, hoping and praying that some show would hold her attention for a measly half an hour. I'd even take ten minutes! That's not asking too much, I don't think. Mommies have rights, too, don't they? Despite living for our precious little ones, we do like to take showers once in a while. And pee alone, without someone unraveling and shredding the toilet paper or emptying the trash can.
I've seen the grass on the other side. Some say it's not greener, but I disagree. My first two kids liked television. And the bonus was, they learned from it: By age 18 months, they knew their letters, shapes and colors. "Baby Einstein" was the best babysitter in town! I could put them in their playpen in front of the TV, and I had time to brush my teeth! I could make a call, return some e-mail. I sure smelled a lot better in those days, and I didn't look the part of the harried stay-at-home mom -- all thanks to television.
But when I put Liv in front of the TV, that's her cue to lose it. My mother says that I should let her cry it out. "Crying never hurt a baby," she says. True, but this one's stubborn: She'll cry for an hour. Loudly. I thought maybe it was that she didn't like being alone in the playpen, but no, even when I sit her on my lap and turn on the tube, she has no interest in it. TV is not her thing, dammit.
I have a girlfriend who is raising her kids without TV. They may be ignorant about pop culture, but those kids can make museum-worthy art with a couple of sticks and some cotton balls. It's pretty amazing. They are creative and imaginative and really smart. But then, so are my
kids, and they have
been raised with Elmo and "The Wiggles
Don't get me wrong: I've never used TV as a full-time nanny or anything. But the thing did come in handy. Why, WHHHHHHHY can't my last child cooperate and get in a little TV time?!