This evening, right before bath time, L spilled her sippy cup of water all over the hardwood floor in the living room. She stood in a puddle of water next to the coffee table and looked at me with those little wide eyes as if to tell me that she had done something wrong. When I walked over to her, she looked down and her soggy socks and started to try and walk away. She slipped and lost her footing, but she didn’t fall. I realized what had happened, scooped her up and grabbed some paper towels to clean up the water. And when I started to clean it up she looked at me with those same giant blue eyes and said, “Oh NOOOOO! I sorry!”
This may not be such a big deal. But so many things happened in that moment. Like, I realized for the first time that, while she has previously exhibited some knowledge of what is going on around her on a deeper level than I expect her to, she actually KNOW THINGS, you guys. Like, she knows that she made a mistake. And then that the proper and polite thing to do was APOLOGIZE. And she’s not quite 18 months old and she walks and talks and sings and dances and it is like she learns more stuff so quickly that I can barely keep up! And it makes me feel so full of this immense joy that I feel like my heart might actually explode. But it also makes me so sad that SOOOOOON she won’t be my baby anymore. (Which, I guess, makes it pretty awesome that I get to do all of it simultaneously with her brother, who is just a year and 24 days younger than her. Yes. Most of you know that already.) But Oh. My. GOD. My baby is a PERSON.
That’s not really the point of this post.
I read a lot of stuff about the development of the brain of babies and toddlers. And, like, how they shouldn’t watch any TV before they are two years old. And then it is supposed to be a REALLY small amount. You know, you have all read the same things. And for a long time, with L, I was really stringent about letting her watch ANYTHING. And then I got to a point where I knew that, with her NEVER SLEEPING and all of that, I would need to find some SECONDS to do ANYTHING else and that might require DJ Lance Rock. And things worked out well. A half hour of DJ Lance was enough for me, when she was seven months old and bouncing up and down in some contraption or another, to do dishes. Or PEE. Or brush my teeth. And life was better.
And then I had Baby O. It was then that I realized, not only do I no longer have time to read these articles about baby and toddler brain development, but I don’t have time not to turn on DJ Lance for 30 minutes so that I don’t stab myself in the eye so that I can get a break (read: trip to the emergency room which would be the only way I would get a break most of the time). And I said, “Fuck this. I get to decide these things.” After all, my mom said that, at 18 months, since I was unable to walk due to an injury sustained during birth, I would watch entire episodes of Sesame Street and could read well by the time I was four. So, yeah. The articles say that allowing children under two to watch television will cause them to have ADD. And they will be socially underdeveloped. And BLAH BLAH MOTHERFUCKING BLAH. But the people who write these articles CLEARLY don’t have a four month old and a seventeen month old sucking the ever-loving sanity RIGHT OUT OF THEIR SOULS. Nope. I am sure of it. So my kid watches “Elmo the Musical” and happily sings the theme song to “Yo Gabba Gabba” but she also apologizes for spilling her water on the floor. And she interacts with everyone. And she shows NO signs of any kind of ineptitude in any area. Do I let her sit in front of the TV for 10 hours per day? No. (And that would make me a total asshole, b t dubs.) Does she watch 2 hours per day? Heck yes. And you know why? Because I’m the mommy. And there’s another tiny, demanding little guy needing something during pretty much ALL OF THE SECONDS in which she isn’t. So there.
In your face, article writers who make moms feel guilty about stupid shit. My kid is gonna be a damn genius.