Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Losing the Parent of the Year Award

Before Zoe arrived we discussed the glut of plastic “crap” available for kids, and we were generally opposed to most of it. We would see yards littered with the detritus of the consumer obsessed American household (I say righteously as I type on my shiny new MacBook Pro) and say, “never for our child!” However, we have begun to collect and to receive as gifts a variety of diversions. Most of these are plastic toys that use batteries and do little more than distract her with spinning doodads and flashing lights. We like to refer to these items as “education” or “developmental” tools. Some are actually fun and you can see their benefit, such as Mr. Firefly. We hover it above her head and sing the Mr. Firefly song*. But today I introduced to our child that ultimate symbol of a tuned out and disassociated America, the television. Although we had received a gift of some Baby Einstein DVD’s we had decided that it would be better if we didn’t try to use the TV as a diversion. “Let’s engage our child with songs and books,” we said, “not with the mind rotting content of a dumb box.” WE WILL BE THE BEST PARENTS EVER!

Today Alison had a meeting so I am left all alone with our little angel. Alison left at 7:00 AM and I put Zoe down on her “activity matt” to wiggle. I started to straighten up the living room and Zoe started to make some “I need attention” sounds, so I propped her up on the Boppie® Activity Center, which kept her busy for about five minutes. The next time she started to make sounds I didn’t hesitate, I ripped the cellophane off the age 0-3 Baby Einstein® DVD and popped it in. So, we (I) made it one day shy of her eight-week birthday before I tried to use the TV to entertain and distract her. I’m not proud, but I would do it again. And to be perfectly honest, if she likes the molded plastic sloth with flashing eyes on wheels better than the hand-made wooden horse, then she gets the sloth. As for my efforts to straighten up the house while she was “learning from the TV,” I was out of luck. Ten minutes into the video she started crying. Maybe she needs an iPod?

* The Mr. Firefly Song – “Here comes Mr. Firefly, suck the fluid from your eyes. When he fly’s through the air, he will take all your hair. If he fly’s way to near, he will land in your ear. If he goes for your toes, what he really wants is your nose.” Yay!

See photos of Zoe at "http://picasaweb.google.com/dbglass"

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