The electronic babysitter

by Kristi Van Dyk in

When I was preparing to become a mom for the first time, I swore I'd never use television as a babysitter. That my child WOULD NOT watch any program before 2 years old, and that, if he/she did I would sit down and talk through any educational value with him/her as we watched. I had heard too much research on the early effects of television and the brain, that I simply didn't want this for my baby. However, as most resolutions do, reality sets in and you're forced to compromise. My compromise came when Benjamin was born. I did lots of his feedings while Kayleigh was napping/sleeping or playing with Daddy. Yet, there were still time when I had to feed the baby while she was awake. It was difficult for both of us ... she always wanted to share my lap with Ben (not because she's a snuggler but because she was jealous). So I needed something (at least once a day) to keep her occupied while I was occupied :). In a morning of desperation, I flicked on the Disney Channel. The result was instantaneous (though not in the way I expected). She stared into the television, saw her beloved stuffed animal singing and dancing on the screen ... screamed "MICKEY!!!!" and ran to get her toy. After that she stared, mesmerized, at Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while clutching her Mickey doll. (I'd be worried at the blanket staring except that she stares ONLY at Mickey. If it's a Donald Duck or Goofy feature, she's wandering the house again in seconds, only to be brought back whenever she hears that silly mouse's voice).

The 30 minute program brought us both such joy that it's become something of a routine. Eat breakfast, watch Mickey, change dirty diaper, run errands ... :) And each morning (whether she wakes up at 8:00 or 9:30) she expects to see her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. No amount or reasoning can explain with her the concept of a television programming schedule. ENTER: YouTube. Since Kayleigh really just loves Mickey, if she sleeps through "the clubhouse" we just pop on YouTube and watch a recorded episode ... yesterday she was content to simply cycle through "The Hot Dog song" about 25 times ... If she keeps sleeping in, I'm going to have to find another solution because I can't take too many days of THAT!!!

At any rate, Kayleighs love for Mickey is incredible. Last night we were coming home late from Grand Rapids, at least 2.5 hours past Kayleigh's bed time. Her brother was conked out, but she was too hyped up (playing in the "fountain" with Grandpa and her cousins was just too exciting). Mommy and Daddy needed a few moments of quiet: ENTER: iPhone, YouTube, and Mickey Mouse ... RESULT: Singing, happy baby instead of constant whining.

End result: Mommy can still be vigilant about time spent watching television (it's really the only show she watches), but it's probably okay, for Kayleigh to fall in love with her 1 program :).

[caption id="attachment_371" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Kayleigh's morning Mickey fix"][/caption]

Here she is dancing away to the music on the program ... at least she doesn't sit while she watches :)

Morning Mickey Fix 7-11