Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Adios, Dora

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I've tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid television in our house. I had grand ideas about my kids making it to kindergarten having not laid eyes on the boob tube. We own a TV, but don't have an antenna or any kind of cable/satellite feed into it. It's hooked up to a DVD player and hidden in an armoire. Simple to ignore, right?

Yes. Simple. Until about a year ago when I realized just how intense it is parenting a toddler--and what a welcome reprieve 30 minutes of relative quiet can be--and I caved.

Add to that the convenience of iTunes and live streaming videos online, and rarely a day goes by that B doesn't watch some toddler programming. This summer, with the move, flying on airplanes, videos on my iPhone, plus no friends to play with in AZ...blah blah blah....it finally happened. B got hooked on Dora the Explorer.

Correction: B became Dora.

We'd be driving in the car, and she say out of nowhere, "Mom, if you see a sneaky fox, yell Swiper!"

Or, she'd call me Boots (the monkey). Or Benny (the bull). Miles was renamed Swiper. And oh, the constant Dora monologues....at dinnertime, at play time, or in the grocery store, at full volume she'd launch into a whole conversation with herself:

"What a FUN trip today! What was your favorite part? I liked that too. Gracias! Thanks for helping!"




I could almost tolerate it (Dora is pretty upbeat), until B started saying she couldn't go to sleep at naptime or bedtime because Swiper might swipe her stuff while she wasn't looking.

She once cried out for me at 3AM, and when I stumbled into her room half-awake to see what was wrong, she said something about a polka-dotted robot butterfly chasing her and a troll bridge that we had to get over. It was a full-on Dora acid trip.

Another time, as a joke, Kris called B "Elmo" and she totally FREAKED out. "NOOOOO! I DORA, DADDY!! NO ELMO! D-D-D-D-DORA..."

And then there was her need to carry a map and backpack everywhere. It became just too much.

Did I mention this all took place over the course of just a month of Dora exposure?

So, yesterday, the Nick Jr. website was down and I took the opportunity to tell B that Dora is broken. And she may never be fixed. It was one of those spontaneous parenting decisions that I immediately questioned the wisdom of. I was essentially telling her that Dora is dead. And, for me, that means never using another Dora video as a crutch ever again.

Oh, the tears. The tears! (hers, not mine). But they only lasted a few minutes, thankfully, until I suggested we play with play dough instead. I was actually amazed at her resiliency. And today, when she asked for Dora, I said "oh, sorry honey. Dora's still broken." And B sighed and then asked to play with play dough.

This doesn't mean I'm totally anti-TV again. With the intense summer heat and lack of a routine in our new town, I still lean heavily on that distraction. We're just switching back to Sesame Street for a while.

I think I can handle living with Cookie Monster or Big Bird....(can I??)

What about you? How do you handle the TV issue with your kids? Any shows you've banned? Any shows you think are good for children?

6 comments :

  1. We love Veggie Tales, but had to ban 3-2-1 Penguins... it seems a little over my kids' heads (they're 3 and 4). They ended up acting out the naughty part and not really getting the correction part at the end. We also love old classics... Sound of Music, Mary Poppins (broken up into little pieces). We actually banned Sesame Street because my girls seemed to have a bad attitude for awhile every time we watched it. Curious George and Martha Speaks seem to be alright, too.

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  2. That's funny! I'm scared to let my almost 2 year old watch those things because they do get hooked so fast. I will let him play with the Kideos app on my iPhone but that's it for the kid programming. Sometimes he'll watch the same 2 minute clip five times in a row, but they're pretty good about changing up the stuff on the home page every couple of weeks. We don't watch tv during the day at all.

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  3. I too envisioned a media free environment for my kids. I started to cave with Baby Einstein when Jonathan was 2 because his dad deployed and I need 30 minutes to get dinner cooked. Then, when I was pregnant again, I really caved. Our limit, though, is only one thing a day. At age 6 it's getting harder to find stuff that interests him and yet still remains innocent. Adam (age 2) LOVES Barney and I have to say he's not too bad. At least he teaches good things like having manners and being a good friend. We like Thomas, of course, and Bob the Builder too. Sorry, they're all boy-friendly. I do like most PBS shows and am not a big fan of Nickelodean shows.

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  4. Oooh. And Veggie Tales is a good one too.

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  5. We don't have a tv either...just our laptops. Ethan can watch shows occasionally (ie - in a blue moon), like Handy Manny, or Imagination Movers. Dora and Diego are banned :)
    We check movies out from the library - like Signing Time, or something "educational" - like cowboys.
    Boy I sound boring. But my kids have a GREAT imagination!!!!

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  6. I laughed out loud to this story. Hubby thinks I'm a weirdo now. Thank goodness Chloe never got this bad. We too only let her watch what's on Netflix as this is the only form of tv we get as well. I also tried to avoid Dora and Diego for as long as possible, but its for freakin hard! She actually tires of these shows, whew! We have banned things like Lilo and Stich and Spongebob, as these make her mouthy.

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