So, it’s no secret that Philip and I were pretty strict with our son, Jack, and his television time. Except a few times when he was really sick and I turned on “Sesame Street” for a few minutes, he didn’t watch any TV.
He still doesn’t. He’s 2 and a half and just isn’t interested. In watching the actual television, that is. He’s more interested in turning it off and pushing the buttons. He doesn’t get much opportunity for that, since we keep our TV in an armoire and don’t have it on when he’s awake. He does get to watch some skits on the computer after breakfast most days — just about 10 minutes worth, and he loves Elmo and “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
I seriously thought that it was our stellar parenting that made him not love television. I felt totally smug about it. We just had really nurtured such a creative kid, my god, he doesn’t care about TV! He doesn’t need to sit there passively! He’s a genius, and it’s all our doing! Woo hoo! Nevermind that Philip and I were raised by televisions and turn it on as soon as he’s in bed.
Even when people would talk about their 2-year-old watching a TV show, I just did not get it. Seriously? The kid will sit still? I couldn’t imagine. Jack is always on the move. (Except when it comes to books — he will sit and read book after book with us, which, again, I decided was because of our superb parenting.) He has no patience for sitting in front of the TV. I mean, we’ve tried. One dreary day this winter, Philip and I got “Toy Story 3” On Demand and tried to watch it with Jack. It didn’t work at all. He lasted about 5 minutes, and I thought, I’m not going to force my kid to watch TV. Even though I totally kind of wanted to. I need a break, man!
But now we have another kid. And I have to remind myself over and over that I am not raising Jack 2.0. Genevieve is her own little self. And she loves television.
We went to breakfast on Sunday as a family, and she squirmed and squirmed until she could see the tiny television in the corner of the restaurant. Apparently, CNN is big-time entertaining for 5-month-olds. She was hooked on it. I sat her in her carseat and she kept twisting around to try to see the news. And during Jack’s nap on Sunday, I was watching old “Sex and the City” episodes, and she sundialed herself around on her blankie until she could see it, too. The Masters golf tournament? She craned her freakishly long baby neck to see that, too.
So, apparently, we are just normal parents after all.
In other news, go read this book:
Here is a link to it on Amazon. And here is a NYTimes review. This has some of the best writing, actual writing, that I’ve read in a long time. Each chapter is told from a different perspective, and would be a great short-story on its own. But all together, well, it’s just delicious. And if you’ve ever worked in a newsroom, it all hits a little close to home.
Happy running. And reading.