My child watches a lot of TV. Before I had children I gave long winded speeches when the subject of child rearing came up. My children would only play with wooden blocks, sculpting gnomes out of organic felt and colored beeswax. I would mash their baby food by hand from organic vegetables, eschewing sugar and additives completely, the way my mother had. Since I own my own business, I envisioned taking care of my child at home, building a warm gingerbread house full of German hand made clothes, vintage toys and cups of hot chocolate as we read books far beyond her developmental level. And most importantly, my child wouldn't watch television.
The first thing I discovered was how impossible it is to make a trip to Whole Foods for organic vegetables with a teething six month old on two hours of sleep. I would have to let the handmade baby food thing go.
As she began to crawl and then walk upright, I realized that my baby would not be calmly lounging in a sling around my shoulders as I cut fabric and sewed dresses. Her fingers, the one time I tried, came dangerously close to my needle and her drool covered the silk of my 200 dollar custom dress. My implements were delicate and dangerous. As the fork in the road appeared between stay at home mom and continuing my business, I chose to work and put her into daycare. The school itself is Montessori, where they do a much better job of sticking to the whole no TV, wooden toy aesthetic I'm so fond of from afar.
I discovered the pure, manic joy that a plastic Dora the Explorer doll can bring to a two year old. Barbies are yearned for like a sexy plastic crack pipe, there are never enough of those bitches in my house to satisfy my daughter. Their wardrobes outmatch mine in size and luxuriousness( someone made those little dresses by hand before I bought them at the Thrift store, I think smugly. F you Rudolf Steiner.)
And now the television. Dora, Dragon Tales, Calliou, Diego, Swiper,Max and Ruby and the funky characters from the slightly disturbing postmodern Yo Gabba Gabba are my daily companions. Their songs get stuck in my head, forming the backdrop of my day.
"Come along to Dragon La-aaand!" I think absently as I clean, sew, have maritial relations, whatever. Cloying and clinging, the musical accompaniment to these cartoons is almost criminal.
"Someone sat down at a synthesizer and composed that evil song," I think."They probably went to Julliard. They sold out, now they go to cocktail parties with their former classmates who are first chair violinists. They're ashamed, instead of claiming the Backpack song they tell everyone they've been traveling in Europe."
And I feel sorry for them, for about a minute, until a commercial comes on and I'm stuck again.
"Max and Ruuu-by! Ruby and Maa-x!"
Max and Ruby, by the way, is a story about a pair of bunnies, brother and sister, Max and Ruby. The Ruby rabbit clearly has OCD and the Max rabbit seems brain damaged.
When my mom watched this show with my Ruby(not the rabbit one) for the first time she called me.
"What is this show with the neurotic rabbit and her brother? Is he supposed to be retarded? They can only take this PC crap so far." she said.
"I think he's a little slow."
"Well, it's killing me. That fucking song is stuck in my head now."
Since I read a study showing the positive, pain reducing impact of cartoons on children during medical procedures( seriously) we have had the TV on 14 hours a day since Ruby got sick. It helps. A lot. She can be mid scream, outraged that I've once again insulted her dignity by holding her down and forcing a plastic syringe of nasty medicine down her throat, and a commercial for the Rapunzel Barbie will come on. She stops crying, and each time shouts
"I WANT TO BUY THOSE TOYS!"
"What do you have to do?" asks Jeff.
"Get a job,"she says, resigned.
Ruby is, by the way, currently unemployed. She's looking for work to feed the Barbie habit. Her skills include-
Plastic food chef and
Identifying the red cars on the highway
She's proficient in
Etch A Sketch
If you hear of any ballerina, princess or insurance adjuster positions let me know, I can fax her resume ASAP. We will, of course, have to negotiate salary.