Monday, November 20, 2006

Tied to the Tube

You know that bread I made last week that I was so proud of?  Well, the bread I made today kicks that other bread's ass.   Today's bread was light and fluffy and flavorful and delicious.  Yum.

Of course, the bread I tried to make over the weekend was a doughy mess, because I only put in half the yeast the recipe requires.  Oops.  But today's bread more than made up for it.  I've already eaten five slices, just to prove it.

Enough with the bread soap opera (Days of Our BreadAll My Bread?). 

When I was little, reading was sort of a mandatory activity in our house.  My mom tells stories of us reading together in bed for hours every morning when I was little, and as I grew older, my brother and I had to go to our rooms and read for a half-hour every night before bed.  Pretty soon I was trying to read books by my little Strawberry Shortcake nightlight, furtively sneaking the books under the covers when I heard footsteps approaching.  The first book I stayed up all night reading was It, by Stephen King.  I still remember how scared I was, how I didn't want to go to the bathroom that night for fear of what was in that sink drain....  I don't think I've read a Stephen King since.

Anyway, reading is still a big part of my life.  I have to do (get to do?) a fair share of it for work, and always have a couple of books going.  And we read to Addie a lot--we make weekly trips to the library, and my mom saved every one of my children's books (numbering in the hundreds), so we have a good stash at home, too.  Addie loves books. 

She'll even turn off the T.V. to read them.

Oops!  So there's my big admission.  We let our kid watch T.V.  Call child services.

An hour or two a day, actually.  Oh, we only watch PBS or parent-approved DVDs, but she's definitely in front of the tube for part of every day.  Which allows Eric and I to have a conversation when he gets home, or gives me time to make bread, check email, or to direct some attention Nolie's way.  Addie learns from these shows, you know.  She has a precocious vocabulary, a strong sense of narrative, and an affection for characters.  Much of this must come from all of the reading we do.  But part of it is from the great kids' shows she watches, like Bear in the Big Blue House or Dora the ExplorerBarney makes me want to put my own eye out, but she's not that into him, thank goodness.

I don't think any of my friends with kids let their kids watch T.V.  Or at least they won't admit to it.  Others I know are adamant about it, rabid even.  The anti-T.V. brigade.

So the question is, why?  I know there have been studies done that suggest that babies shouldn't be exposed to T.V. because it can alter brain development.  Actually, someone told me this.  I haven't really seen them enough to know if they make sense or are valid (Steve, feel free to send the links my way).  But what's wrong with kids watching Sesame Street?  I mean, isn't it T.V. for kids

Okay, so some of you might say that this


is the problem.  That catatonic, drool-inducing, creativity-killing properties of T.V.  Right?  Is this it?  To be honest, this doesn't bother me that much.  I think Addie gets a much needed time out now and then when she watches a show.  It gives her a change to lay on the couch and relax.  It gives us that chance, too.  And Addie still wants to read, and play with toys, and see her friends, and paint pictures.   


Does all of this sound like an excuse to you?  Did you watch T.V. when you were growing up?  Probably.  And probably the kind with commercials and guns and stuff like that, too.  And that probably wasn't good for any of us.  But is there a middle ground?  Can I let my kid watch T.V. without suffering massive guilt over it, without comparing what you are able to withstand with what I can withstand?  Hmmm.  Maybe not.  But maybe a little bit of guilt is worth a little bit of quiet for all of us.

So, if you don't want your kid to watch T.V. at my house, I'll respect that.  But a little T.V. now and then works for our family.  So there.


  1. Are you calling me out?

    But, seriously, I don't think I'm <i>rabid</i> exactly, but generally speaking, I think kids under three should stay the heck away from the tube. And, since you enjoy reading so much, maybe you should read this:

    But yeah: Addie is a phenomenal communicator (not to mention super-sweetness), and you're doing everything right as near as I can tell. If my kids catch a few stray cathode rays while at your house, I'm going to be (mostly) ok with it. I promise. (I'm confident that the family can find something more interesting to fight about.)

    I'm also a big believer in "whatever works for the family". For instance, we have a fence running through our living room. (It clearly delineates the boundary between "kids' mess" and "parents' mess".) Not everybody is comfortable with interior fencing, but it works for us. There y'go.

  2. The url continues like this:

    Maybe I'll try pasting the whole thing into the 'url' box above. *sigh*

    Also: how embarrassing when your formatting doesn't get formatted.