Friday, November 14, 2008

I love Electronic Babysitting

Today while Avram and I cooked dinner (venison steak and mushroom meat pie. Trust me, we don't normally eat good food all the time - it's just that I don't mention the countless days we have burritos or spaghetti) we popped on a DVD of Max and Ruby episodes, a Nick Jr. television show based on Rosemary Weller's books. Lydia before that was "helping" me make pie crust - which is not something a two and a half year old can help with without driving her poor mother crazy. So we had to get her out of the kitchen, and fast, before she tried to help Avram braise the venison at the hot stove.

Lydia, bless her heart, went and faithfully watched several episodes of Max and Ruby whilst Avram and I finished up dinner preparations.

Which brings me to my whole point, which is that I have to laugh when ever I read/hear that as part of good parenting I shouldn't use the television (or laptop and DVD) as an electronic babysitter for my children. Instead I should watch shows with them, and interact about the decisions the character's make, the bright colors, counting and whatnot.


I exclusively use TV/DVDs as a means of babysitting - when Lydia's sick and can't do anything else, when I'm cooking with something she can't be around for, or when I have to nurse Elisheva down for a nap, and Lydia is constantly doing things like talking loudly or screaming in Elisheva's ears.

When I'm free enough to pay attention to Lydia, which is most of the time, I wouldn't use that time for TV anyway; there are a lot more fun and valuable time-using things we can be doing, like drawing all over my belongings, or throwing our little pumpkins we picked around the living room, like they're balls (and yet after a month of this they haven't gone bad yet....).

I'm grateful for TV's ability to "electronically babysit." It means don't worry about Lydia burning herself with dinner, or sitting on Avram while he's doing homework and I'm taking care of Elisheva. Of course, she only gets to watch DVDs like this once or twice a week, and not several times a day.

But when I do hear the strains of "Max and Ruby, Rub and Max!" floating through the air as I finally am able to finish the pie crust, I say a little prayer of thanks for DVDs, and once again wonder how parents who always watch TV with their kids to help them be stimulated ever get anything done.


  1. This is unrelated, but Thora I just had a BRILLIANT idea! I thought of it all by myself!
    As I was making potato leek soup, I was lamenting the fact that I had no chicken bouillon. Then I got excited about making my own broth after Thanksgiving and storing it. But I couldn't think of a way to store the broth without it going bad, unless I stored it in the freezer. And I couldn't think of a way to store it in the freezer without it being difficult to access, being frozen in a huge chunk. Then, my BRILLIANT idea: I could freeze the broth in ice cube trays! That way, the broth would be available in small amounts for soup! Just chuck in a few broth ice cubes!
    I'm sure somebody else has thought of this before me, but I'm really proud I came up with it on my own.

  2. That's a good idea - now I just need to go and buy ice cube trays! It is hard, because you can make tons of homemade stock, but it's hard to store.

  3. I constantly bemoan the fact that Oliver has no interest in TV. I WISH I had an electronic babysitter! Unfortunately these days we are joined at the hip, and not by my choice. Unless, that is, we're someplace like, oh, a restaurant, or store, or parking lot. Then, of course, he wants to be rid of me like a bad habit.

    So yay that you can use TV etc. that way. I applaud you. And it makes me feel better, btw, that your kids eat a whole grain breakfast every morning, and my kid occasionally eats cold cereal for dinner. His choice, I swear! :)

  4. I watch tv with my kids!

    I will say though, they are a little older. So mostly we watch things that are interesting to me too (Mythbusters!)

    (And Morganne LOVES Max and Ruby too)

    But then my expereice as a work at home mom, lead me to many interesting "baby sitter" choices. Pads of post-it-notes are the best. Pens and a pad of those will get me a good 50 min.

  5. I know I'm letting Willow watch too much TV when her first comments of the day, or everytime we go into the living room (where the TV is) is, "Moozie? Moozie! Moozie!!!" She loves watching her moozies. I will very rarely use TV for babysitting, but the only reason is that I live in my sister's basement, and so our lives are built around another mom in the house. (I know, glares of jealousy bombard me from every side.) Her undesireable desires come entirely from my own weakness--I like to put a movie on whenever I am doing something that requires bodily effort, but not mental engagment (cleaning, sewing, knitting, cooking, etc.), which is most of a mom's life. So when she starts showing those disturbing tendencies (inconsolability when the TV is off), I make myself be a better person and do my own work without my automatic mental stimulator.