Monday, May 5, 2008

My Love/Hate Relationship with TV

Evan Watches His Favorite Sesame Street Character--Cookie Monster!

I haven't always been a TV junkie. I may have had a show or two that I watched regularly, but I didn't veg out in front of the tube all day (except maybe cartoon Saturday!) When Evan came along I was really diligent about keeping the TV turned off. When Evan turned 18 months old, I started a Bible study. He came home from the nursery talking about "moobies." I found out they watched movies on rainy days. It was one of those if you can't beat 'em, join 'em moments. All of Evan's little buddies were already watching Sesame Street. I thought, "Well, Sesame Street is educational, at least." So, we became regular viewers of Cookie Monster and Elmo. Sesame Street has clever little parodies for grown-ups to enjoy (probably to encourage parents to watch with their kids.) We also rented Elmo and Blues Clues movies from Netflix. I felt like a failure, in a way. But at the same time, we had fun watching together and talking about the show.

Around Christmas or New Year 2006, Evan went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. He came back talking about JoJo's Circus. I told him I didn't know that one, and I thought it might be on the Disney Channel, and I didn't think we had it. After some surfing I found the channel, and we started watching a new show together. So long Sesame Street. So long PBS. Hello Disney. We also discovered the Wiggles. And the Doodlebops.

The Potty Makes a Convenient TV Chair

Evan would sit like this in front of the tube, mesmerized. We joked about how he had reached a state of Zen. One day we had the Doodlebops on, and I said, "Evan, Mommy doesn't like the Doodlebops." And he said, "I like the Doodlebops." We had a similar conversation about the Tellytubbies. "Evan, Mommy doesn't like the Tellytubbies." "I like the Tubbytubbies."

I watched him as he watched the TV. Were IQ points oozing out of his brain? Was he going to become a couch potato? In spite of these worries, I can't say that I haven't used the TV as an opportunity. I have taken showers or gotten laundry started with no hassles, because a favorite show was on. Evan's favorites were the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (known among my parent friends as toddler crack) and Handy Manny. I remember dancing along with the Hot Dog Song at the end of Mickey Mouse. I was doing the dance that Goofy the dog does, and Evan cried out, "Goofy!" I wondered if he was identifying the dance, or making a commentary. When Evan started to give up his nap, we decided to spend part of that time watching Curious George on PBS. I'd get Duncan down and check my email. Evan would run in and ask me, "Are you going to watch Curious George with me?" We'd sit together and watch TV. Side by side.

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