I said Boob Tube, not Tube Boob!

It’s funny the things I have forgotten about Doodicus as a toddler until Aitch either does or doesn’t do something.

One of them is the TV watching. I’m fairly positive that Doodicus was heavy duty into The Wiggles right about now. Most definitely anything Baby Einstein (those lying bastards). Even when any kind of animation or repetitive jingle from a TV commercial would come on, he would stop what he was doing to watch.

Aitch, at almost 20 months old hasn’t shown the slightest interest for anything on TV, including the numerous Pixar movies I try to use as a distraction from her constant need to be “pup” (UP on my hip). She’s completely oblivious to my attempts at operation Cartoon Corruption.

Well, except when Doodicus is playing the Wii Fit. She’ll watch the mii jog, jump, or fall and she’ll stand right in front of the TV and giggle and imitate the mii. As far as I can tell so far, that’s the only 2D imaging she’ll respond to. This is fine, of course, but how do I get my own damn “mii” time without letting Doodicus spend hours on the Wii??

Here’s where I think one of the private, home daycare vs. daycare center advantages and disadvantages come into light (which, hell, I could be wrong and probably am, but hear me out).

Doodicus went to a daycare operated in Kasey’s* home. With hindsight 20/20 and all, we now realized Kasey let the kids watch TV waaaay too much. We got endless excuses as to why they weren’t out playing in the yard (no fence/too hot/too cold/she had a migraine/the kids WANTED to watch a movie/parents of KidA didn’t want them to get dirty as they were getting pictures later…), or why they didn’t go play in the “playroom”, which was located in her basement. You know…down a flight of stairs…where Doodicus got in trouble that led to Kasey kicking him out but no one seems to know what happened because SHE was upstairs (probably watching TV with the babies and nursing a migraine)? Yeah, THAT basement.

By the time Doodicus was four, the kid was a walking, talking TV Guide for preschoolers, including the channel, time and main characters. Within the first couple of minutes, he might even be able to provide a mini-plot since he’d probably seen the episode a half dozen times already.

And while that was frustrating for obvious reasons, I’ll admit that there are (and by god, STILL times) I’m happy to let him turn on the TV so he will just shut up and sit still for 30 to 60 minutes.  At least now his viewing preferences for Deadliest Catch or Dirtiest Jobs or anything on Discovery, have become way more tolerable than The Wiggles or Lazy Town, even though I passed the time fantasizing about the Blue Wiggle being a bad, bad boy off the set and the many positions Sportacus might be able to hold given the opportunity behind closed doors…

whoa…what happened…? I blacked out there for a brief second(s).

The luxury just doesn’t exist anymore. Doodicus would love to have the opportunity to quietly zone out in front of the TV or behind his Nintendo DS while on the other hand, the last thing Aitch is able to do is “chill”. The girl is balls-to-the-wall every minute she’s awake. I have no idea the cost involved in converting a room to be like one of those padded play areas they have in malls, but if I was ever to win that lottery we never buy tickets for, I would convert the front room into a mini jungle gym that she could practice her falls for her quickly budding stunt-double career (she intentionally falls head first off the couch…repeatedly…AND happily! – weirdo.). I credit her disinterest in TV to the daycare center’s environment, which keeps the kids busy with age-appropriate toys and crafts.

How old was your little one when you noticed their interest in TV? Do you try to moderate how much TV or are you like me and take every blessed quiet moment as a moment from God to not have to throw back another jigger of cheap rum?

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15 thoughts on “I said Boob Tube, not Tube Boob!”

  1. Granted, I & N are not identical twins and so this isn’t a perfect controlled study. They are 16 months old and are exposed to the same amount of TV, which is on for certain programs during the daytime — Nanalan, Blues Clues if they are up waaaay early, Miffy and Friends. N. is a TV addict. I thought that I. would be, because she showed the earliest interest in TV and particularly the Baby Einstein puppet show segments. But now she is only occasionally interested, whereas N. stands rapt before the TV for an entire half hour. When I put them in the pack & play and turn on a Baby Einstein DVD so that I can work out and shower, I know that as soon as the final credits roll, I. will want out. (And OK, N. maybe doesn’t have the best attention span, but she does have a larger vocabulary and better pronunciation than I.)

    Once a week the girls spend the day at my in-laws’ house, and from the moment they arrive until the moment I pick them up (6 hours or so), the TV is turned on. This drives me crazy, because it’s always some animated program that is way beyond their comprehension — I like them to watch puppet- or live action-based programs — and God, does it have to be for the entire time? D.’s mom used to babysit kids in her house, and I know she used the TV very heavily. Granted, it would be hard to entertain several kids of different ages and stages… but… I’m glad I’m not relying on her to watch the girls every day.

  2. Harry is like Aitch — no interest in TV (or, better put, no interest in *watching* TV — he loves to push all the buttons). We are somewhat anti-TV (for him — I am often horrified by how much TV *we* watch), but there are times when I’d like to be able to put something on and have him watch it, but he has zero interest. I got 3 minutes out of a DVD of Goodnight Gorilla once, and that’s about it.

    While there may be something to be said for TV exposure at daycare affecting interest at home, I don’t think it’s purely an in-home v. center distinction. Harry is in an in-home daycare, but only the kids who don’t always nap (i.e. the two four year olds) watch any while there, and they’re only allowed to watch movies their parents bring in, and only when the littler ones are asleep. So Harry has zero exposure to TV there. It was definitely a factor in picking this particular woman to care for him.

  3. Based on the one comment regarding multiple copies of the Lion King, there is still hope for Alex then. 😉 He was a much more focused child. He would play with a toy for more then 2 seconds and yes, as a single parent I used the TV as a babysitter/SHUT THE HELL UP FOR ONE MINUTE ALREADY tool. The boy started talking at 6 months and then stopped when he turned 15. 😉
    Marjorie is go-go-go and has started coming up with excuses for why she shouldn’t go to bed. Will stop in her tracks for any commercial that has a catchy tune and will watch Dora, but that is it. Damn Nick Jr. only has Dora on for half an hour in the evenings so I have 30 minutes to get what needs doing done before I have to get my eagle eye back on the girl so she doesn’t tear the cat’s tail off, or another head from a doll or shred a whole box of tissue or tear all the pages out of MY books, not her books though.
    So yeah, good luck with Aitch. Maybe it is just our little girls, or maybe it is that we are older with the girls then we were with our boys?

  4. P was always a little TV zombie. We didn’t let him watch much but he was in a complete zone when he would sit in front of it, from the time he first saw it until now. K, on the other hand, usually doesn’t care much about TV. In fact, it’s just been recently (and he’s nearly 3 1/2) that he’ll sit and watch a single TV show all the way through. I don’t mind most of the time but that me time is essential (especially since K also likes to be up and he weighs 38 lbs). I honestly am not sure how I’ve made it until this point. But I’m glad that when I’m done on the Wii, which he loves to watch, I can put on Dora and take a shower without him in there!

  5. Ooh. I expected to be the TV nazi my mother was, but I’m not. Jasper CANT GET ENOUGH. And I just need the quiet.

    These days, we mostly watch movies. I feel *slightly* less guilty about this. I try to think about the way films are a cultural experience to make myself feel better. He has seen ALL the vintage disneys and Studio Ghiblis (Japanese anime) for example. So instead of asking for Dora he asks for Toy Story 1.

    But we do get a lot of good role-playing out of it.

  6. The Mini has LOVED Elmo from the time he was four months old. When we first moved here, we were holed up in my bedroom for a couple of months while we had our house painted and our carpet replaced. There’s only so much playing you can do. He wasn’t really a fan of TV so much as he was a fan of Elmo. And to this day, he’ll watch very few programs, and forget movies. It doesn’t happen.

    LG has NO interest in TV at all, but that could be because in general, we don’t put it on. It’s off during the day, save for a couple of times a week that I put Yo Gabba Gabba on for the Mini, and she’ll maybe watch a minute or two, but otherwise, she could care less. She’s got things to do.

  7. Yeah, um, we had to replace the Lion King video more than once, from over use.

    I am a horrid mother.

    (Does it count that this particular child is now on the Deans list in college??)

  8. Dee and Nuddy both went to an in-home too-much-TV day care, but only 1-3 days a week so I let it slide. Now I can zone them both out as necessary by turning on a show. We typically have it on 30 min a day. I try not to abuse it, and there are certainly days with no TV, but when one is home sick, the DVDs come out in force!

  9. my kids are vidiots. From the moment we walk in the house, the tv goes on. Mag goes upstairs to watch HannahMontana/iCarly/Wizardsof WaverlyPlace/disnetwhathtehellever, and WIll watches Nick Jr. til dinner, then they take a bath, go to bed & Mommy & Daddy watch “big people” shows til bedtime.

  10. By gum, woman, you’re hilarious! Thanks for brightening my evening.

    Banana loooooooooooves the TV. There is only one show I let her watch (a good-night program) but of course there are DVDs as a constant temptation. I do limit her time in front of the hypnobox but oh does she ever protest. No matter how much I allow, she wants more. And Melon is shaping up to be the same way.

  11. My girl watched what I was watching until she was 2. So, we found out that she absolutely LOVED one particular weatherman. And she knew when Jeopardy was on. And she would watch some music videos on YouTube. Once she started daycare (around 15 months), they would let them watch videos and such also. Now, I’m not terribly worried about it – she gets out and plays. She watches TV. She colors and draws and plays with PlayDoh. She reads books. Whatever she wants to do, as long as she stops when I tell her that she has something else that she needs to do. She understands that she can’t watch TV in the morning on days when she has to go to daycare. She knows that she can sometimes con us into letting her watch something after her bath, before bed. She’d really rather run around outside, even if we sometimes have to drag her out there.

    However, she usually requires my presence while watching TV…

  12. I didn’t show my kid TV until she was two, and she didn’t watch very much until right before she was three, when I had various personal issues and discovered the TV as babysitter. But I now realize that she did probably watch some, not sure how much, at her in-home daycare place when she was before two, but she wasn’t there a lot. I’ve mostly recovered from the things that were preoccupying me (miscarriage and moving, mainly) but now she’s in the habit of watching a half hour or more here and there if I’m working or just want to sit on the computer.

  13. I was TV Nazi mom…. my daughter didn’t watch ANY TV until she was around 2. Not at daycare, not at home, not EVER…. except for at Grandma and Grandpa’s house where it wasn’t so much her watching TV as her falling asleep on Grandpa’s lap in the recliner while they watched a movie together.

    I never really had moments of my daughter truly crawling up my arse- I was lucky that even though she was CONSTANTLY doing something- she’s always been content, and in fact has insisted on her own “me time” since day one. I actually had a baby that would spend a few minutes quietly in her crib before hollering for changing or food!!

    Now- my daughter is glued to any screen that’s on… if the computer is on, she will stop mid-sentence and just stare vacantly at whatever is on the screen. I try to restrict computer/video game/movie time (heh- we live in the dark ages and have neither cable or satellite- yeah- hi! still a TV nazi) but some days it’s kind of like- oh please please please just go watch a movie and leave me alone for FIVE MINUTES!!!!! NOW- now when she’s old enough to do a lot of things on her own- she doesn’t need me for snacks, or to change her bottom, or anything- she crawls up my butt almost constantly because she’s bored!!! Of course, this is just to get permission to sate her electronics addiction. *sigh* I can’t wait till it’s warm enough to just kick her outside and tell her to go play in traffic!!

    omgosh sooooo sorry for the novel.. eep… can you tell i’m bored out of my skull right now??? :S

    1. PMM – being on bedrest gives you the green light to say as much as you want. So if anyone notices this reply to PMM, make sure to follow her link and help her find a way to pass the time while she’s on bedrest. While I know it must suck, I hope she’ll be on it for a while!

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