Monday, May 9, 2011

Cartoon Confession

Last spring we went on a family weekend to Chicago. We stayed in a hotel. Turo woke up early. We discovered PBS kids. Up until this point Turo had watched a little Tsehai Loves Learning and some youtube videos of the marching band and Sesame Street. We could have told him that this was something special for hotels and continued on with our non-tv ways.

But we didn't. We realized we could buy ourselves a few extra minutes of rest in the morning with the magic of Curious George. Or check e-mail thanks to Sid the Science Kid. And with the demise of the nap and the arrival of fall, cartoons could help break up a very long day. The lovely folks at PBS had created a tool that allowed me to clean the bathroom without "help" or take a shower in peace.

Then there is the tv guilt. It seems like this badge of honor to keep one's kids away from television. Yet, I find many ways to rationalize media time. It's PBS. There are no commercials. It's educational. The family in Dinosaur Train even has "adopted" across species. It was winter. I need to mop. I want to have an uninterrupted conversation with a friend who spent a year in Palestine and Israel. Plus, Turo might actually be learning a thing or two. One day use the term migration to describe how his Auntie Jess would visit us from California. Another day he was wrapped in a blanket and called it his chrysalis. Those are terms he totally learned from The Cat in the Hat. Now that we can be outside more maybe my reliance on TV will decrease, but then again a quiet hour is appealing no matter the weather.


  1. We have a lot of TV guilt too and try to limit it. Have you pulled the card yet? Lots of games to occupy their time (and teach some skills probably too).

  2. While we would have a tv on in a room PJ was in as a baby (sacrosanct to many of our friends)she did not watch tv (wasn't interested in the programming we were choosing). One week before her second birthday I arrive home from Ethiopia with Little Dude and the tv goes on! Fortunately Little Dude ignored it so we were able to FEEEEEEL like we were following the AAP guidelines of no television until 2 years. Lately he has been paying attention though. Fortunately he just turned two, so I guess he can still be a genius.
    Yes, I feel guilty about it, but not as guilty as when I am a bad mother because I am stressed out. If Sid the Science Kid and Cat in the Hat allow me to get a few things done that in turn make me a better mother, I am okay. Plus, I absolutely know my kids are learning positive things from the shows. AND I love the transracial family in Sid and the adoption storyline in Dinosaur train. Initially I even tried to pretend that Sally and Nick were brother and sister (Nick has the same hairline as Little Dude.) I call my mini-van the thing-a-machigger.
    I try not to judge myself for the tv thing. Besides I have to save my judgment to aim at others who let their kids watch Disney!