I suppose my philosophy regarding television is similar to that of many parents - not that it is all too relevant considering my child is nine-months-old - in that I don't want Nora to watch a lot of it. I'd rather she be outside, be creating art, be reading, be playing with other kids, with us, writing her first novel, whatever. But I don't have a huge problem with TV in small doses. Really, I think it's just fine. It's a hallmark of the modern age, and I'm not gonna go around pretending it doesn't exist. Plus, sometimes it is awesome. It is AWESOME. Like when I used to work at home on Tuesdays with Nora, and I'd have a deadline, and Nora would be making her way over to the dog bed to lie down with Cecilia, because that seemed like a good, clean, normal idea, and I'd put on our Baby Beethoven video (thanks, Sheila!) and it solved everything. Nora would sit still and I'd get my work done in time.
Also, I think there is something sweet and comforting about watching TV together from time to time. J and I love the prospect of staying in and watching a movie. I'd never really sat and watched TV with Nora before, but just a few weeks ago we were at my grandmother's, up early, before anyone else. I was watching the news while the baby played with her toys, and upon flipping through the channels I noticed that "Sesame Street" was on, a show I haven't watched since I was a little kid myself. I picked Nora up, sat her in my lap, and we sunk into the couch and watched Elmo and Big Bird and learned about the letter T.
I liked it because babies are busy people, constantly on the move, so it was rare for her to remain so still and quiet for more than five minutes, warm in my arms, on that rainy, early morning.
There's a quality issue, too, I think, when it comes to television. Quality for the parents, really, as in I like some kids' shows more than others. For instance, my reaction to Barney is an instant desire for a quick death, while Nora really liked it. So that's not one we'll watch together.
The "Sesame Street" episode was another story, though. Charming and funny, but also reminiscent of my own childhood. So this morning, I was once again watching the news as Nora played, when she banged her head on this toy she's currently obsessed with. It's a little plastic table with a variety of musical instruments on top (thanks to Sheila, again!) and Nora thinks it is the greatest invention that ever was. Better than her parents and better than Cheerios. She's learned to pull up on it and as she's not that steady yet, she slipped on the rug and bumped her chin on the table.
Her little face crumpled and she started to cry so I scooped her up and, while it is not normally my first inclination to console with electronics, I wondered, as she whined in my arms, if "Sesame Street" was on somewhere in the great litany of cable TV stations.
It was. And - success! It was like nothing had ever happened. Or more aptly it was like an old, forgotten friend had made his way back into her life, like, "Hold up, HOLD UP ONE SECOND, Elmo's back? WHAT?!?"