Despite the fact that I have renewed my affection for the television in the past few years (thanks to the Office 30 Rock, Project Runway, and So You Think You Can Dance), I did not envision TV playing a significant role in Juliette's life. In fact, she didn't watch an ounce of it until she was eight months old; if we were watching something and she started to look at the TV, we immediately turned it off. I intended to religiously follow the no-TV-before-two rule, and then maybe allow a judicious amount of Sesame Street for educational purposes.
And then... well, we realized that we could actually eat breakfast and read the newspaper if we hooked Juliette up with Big Bird & co. I can't tell you how revolutionary that was, to eat breakfast and read the newspaper. To have a break, when, with Juliette's difficulty sleeping or napping without constant parenting, breaks had been few and far between.
So, the advent of children's television came earlier than expected.
Let's just say that Juliette now watches a little more than I'd prefer. It's not like we're setting her down in front of the boob tube and checking on her three hours later; it's just that diaper changes go infinitely better when a few hundred pixels chip in to help distract her. And those pixels are again at the ready - at the push of a button! - when it's time to make dinner, and a certain family member under three feet tall is tired, hungry, and cranky.
Recently, there was a day in which Juliette played outside for hours, played with toys inside for a couple more, napped, ate, went to the zoo and the library, and still managed to watch enough television to incite my mama guilt. Every time I hear Noggin's tag line, "It's Like Preschool on TV," I simultaneously roll my eyes in disgust at the obvious ridiculousness of such a statement and thank whoever came up with it for at least attempting to make me feel better about it.
I can only hope that we can continue to set limits, and that Juliette learns something from her TV time. She sure does love it, overwhelmingly so.
There's no better way to illustrate this post than with my favorite version of one of my very favorite songs of all time, encapsulated in a perfect YouTube clip. (Because yes, we've also discovered YouTube for tots. When an email needs to be returned, it's awfully convenient to open another window for the kiddo on my lap.)