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?