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.
10 thoughts on “No Apologies…My Kid Watches TV.”
Ha ha, I let my kids watch TV. Pretty sure with 3 under 3 there is no way I would function without it. But, my almost 3 yr old knows all his numbers up to 10, most the alphabet, and talks like crazy. My 19 month old isn’t too far behind him and my not quite 6 month old crawls. As moms we need to do what we need to do to survive and we need to ignore the people telling us we are wrong. You are doing awesome Momma! Keep up the work! (how do you get her to keep her socks on?!? My kids have them off instantly once I get them on unless shoes follow within 10 seconds!)
Totally with you. I dont think that research tells the whole story anyway. I have a wicked smart, verbally advanced 21 month oldand I am 39 weeks pregnant. You better believe we spend 2-3hours some days laying on the couch watching tv. I know for sure I watched hours of tv as a kid and still turned out fine. Research can suck it 🙂
AMEN!!! Thank you SO MUCH FOR THIS! I will no longer feel guilty about letting my kid have screen time, which I have been feeling every single time its on–after hearing about that article stating kids not having screen time before 2. There’s enough shit out there making us feel guilty as moms for doing this, that, not enough, too much…ENOUGH!!! If a little screen time keeps them entertained, is educational and gives us just a little bit of SANITY back to enjoy living again, that is way more necessary that going crazy and potentially losing it on our children. That would be WAY MORE DETRIMENTAL. Also, this study makes it sound like TV time under two would CAUSE behaviour issues, and doesn’t take into account the TEN MILLION OTHER FACTORS that influence behaviour, many of which are NOT environmental (and many that are). Keep the posts coming–you have great insight and humour, and some days your stories are what I need to realize we are not alone in the follies of parenthood!
I think it is more about *what* you let them watch, and that it is not the only thing they do. Says the mum who also needed to survive 😉
One of the sad things about motherhood is the guilt… it really drives me nuts sometimes how we are made to feel guilty about just about everything 😦
Mines only 14 months and not only does he watch TV but he also uses apps on the IPad. The child development psych would scream abuse I say life skills for the digital age 😉
My children are now teenagers. 17, 15 and 14. Stairsteps huh! Anyways when they were your daughter and son’s age I HAD to put Barney or Blues Clues on the tv… for my own sanity. But at times I would watch with my kids and realize that they were learning good things!
My daughter is now a senior in high school. She will be entering college next year with 27 college credits already. She scored 26 on her ACT, which assures a FULL scholarship!
My oldest son doesn’t like school much. He’s very intelligent and is capable of everything my daughter is. His personality is just different. He loves and excels at sports and he loves making people laugh. He is 15 and works… manual labor… with his Uncle after school and on weekends.
My youngest son is probably a genius, if he were to be tested. He is active in all sports, and very good, but he’s also kind and caring, he is a thinker and level-headed problem solver.
All 3 of these people know they can talk to me about anything, and they do. They aren’t perfect by any means, no one is, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Sorry to go on for so long, but I wanted to reassure you and anyone who reads or has commented because I’ve gone through where you are now. Trust me… letting your babies watch tv is perfectly fine.
It’s more about the values and morals the parents teach their children than whether or not they watch a few kiddie tv shows. You sound like you’re doing a great job!
She watches tv, likes to flirt with our waiter, AND apologizes for spilling water. That’s a future supah-stah, there!
I totally feel you. I have twins who are 2 and they watch about an hour of television a day. When they were little we didn’t really do tv but by 18 months mommy and daddy needed occasional down time. So, we would do a 15 minute show a couple times a week. Then by 2 we really started to let them watch more regularly.
Television has been surprisingly good for my girls who are speech delayed. They have been making huge strides in speech since being allowed to watch Sesame Street, Barney, and the Wiggles.
You go girl!!! You be the mom and decide what is best for your kids and your sanity.
I may only have one child, but nevertheless the occasional Disney Jr or PBS show is a godsend. I hate it when professionals make me feel like I’m a horrible mom for leaving the TV on while he watches (even though he’s usually playing during), but those 20 minutes I get to myself throughout the day make it possible for me to not go crazy on the little guy the rest of the time.