Thursday, January 17, 2008

Think Outside the TV box

I grew up in a house where the TV was on a lot. I mean, hours at a time. In fact, when I was a kid, we were the first house on the block and among my friends to get cable. This didn't negate the fact that I come from a family of major readers. Both parents and my brother read incessantly and I probably read way more than the average bear, about a book a week or so (in a world of people who, on average, do not read a book a year).

But when I started thinking about trying to conceive, I swore there would be no TV for my little junior. Once Little Man and Boo were born, things went haywire and that good intention is now gone. Who knew I would spend literal hours at a time pumping breastmilk and sitting holding a very slow eating baby on a boppy. Also, I wasn't the only one feeding Little Man. Katie is a big fan of watching sports on TV so she would hold him with the TV on.

This was not a problem initially and I didn't feel too guilty. Little Man couldn't focus very far. But now? NOW he can see the TV and, boy, is he interested and, boy, do I feel guilty about him seeing it at all because of a possibleconnection between early TV viewing and ADD/ADHD, (though as the link to the google search will show you, it's open to debate whether or not there is a link to early TV viewing and ADHD).

As a matter of fact, this morning, after his breakfast and play time and cuddling time and swing time, I just needed to get dressed so I plopped him on the couch surrounded by toys (frankly, perhaps all the shiny toys that giggle, wiggle and squiggle may be the ADHD catalyst). Normally he will entertain himself in such a fashion just long enough for me to pull on tights, a skirt and a turtleneck, but not long enough for me to also brush my hair and teeth. Today he was mysteriously more content. Apparently the TV was still on to the weather report.

Damn. I'm that mom. Watch out or I will be putting diet coke in his bottle (though I am tempted to put bourbon on his owie-teething gums).

Related to regular TV, Little Man also has access to dog TV. We take Little Man and his canine companion in the car together with some regularity. This past sunday on the way to go hiking, Little Man was giggling up a storm.

"What's he laughing at?"

I glance back and he's watching Roman the dog bounce around the way back of our SUV. With each turn or jostle, Roman would slide or skid and Little Man would giggle like mad. We decided that Dog TV might be the most entertaining thing ever. Maybe I am not warping him too badly after all.


Stephanie said...

Confession - I actually tried to get Ellie to watch TV when she was smaller but she was totally not interested. Adult TV, Baby Einstein, nothing interested her and she wouldn't even look at the TV if it was on.

Now, different story. In the last three months, we've accumulated a small library on 2 year old appropriate TV and movies. I think now is the time to start limiting TV...sigh...there's always something to be working on.

Jessica said...

After D had his asthma attach a couple of months ago, turning the TV on was the only way I could get him to sit still long enough to nebulize him. He watched a lot of Food Network that week, and I don't think he's any worse for the wear. I did cringe a bit when I realized that the things that held his attention most were the ads, but why not? They're brighter and louder than the surrounding programming. Fortunately, we have Tivo, so by the time he's old enough to really *want* to watch TV we'll be able to skip them.

Julie said...

A. most enjoyed the weather channel as a baby and nothing else. How as a 3 year old I have to limit TV because he loves it and sadly also his on-line games. I feel like it is just the beginning. On the plus side, long car rides or plane rides are a wonder with a DVD player.

lisa said...

Owen loves tv--always has. Liv will watch only certain things.

Christopher used to rave about getting rid of the tv. Um, then he wanted a 50 inch plasma.

It's crazy. We watch a lot of tv, and I'm sure our kids will. I'm lucky in that it's getting so I don't feel I have to turn it on as much because the kids are starting to play together instead of watching the tube.

I'm also trying to get them more into music (which they do love) for background noise instead of the television.

But mostly, I'm over the tv guilt.