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Reason For Mommy Guilt # 291,734 February 16, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.

Today I officially began the process of rotting my daughter’s brain. That’s right, my 13-week old daughter was babysat for a few minutes by the TV today. And you know what? I don’t feel one bit guilty about it! Okay, maybe a little guilty, or I wouldn’t be confessing to the Internets and looking for some validation. Here’s what happened:

1:45 pm It is the middle of our day. Kaitlyn has had 3 bottles, 3 diaper changes and one nap. I have had two cups of coffee, two pieces of toast with jam and am thinking it’s been almost 5 hours since I had that. Lunch would be nice today. Also, the pitcher of Similac is almost empty. What to do? The TV has been off most of the day due to the snow and ice obscuring the satellite signal from reaching my DirecTV dish. When it comes back on it is tuned to the SciFi channel and a show called “First Wave”. It’s about a man who uses Nostradamus’ prophecies to search out the supposed secret alien plot to invade Earth. A girl who has been humiliated Carrie-style has just caused a boy to spontaneously combust. Just by looking at him. Um, huh?

But back to the brain-rotting. Kaitlyn has been sort of reclining on my left arm, making cute goo-goo sounds and being generally adorable. But then she starts straining to sit up, bobbing her head back and forth and saying “eh..eh..GEH” which translates to “hey, I can’t see the TV!” So I sit her up, she looks right at the TV and busts out a beatific smile. Hmmm…So here’s the part where you should call Child Services, because I am obviously a selfish, neglectful mother. I place her in the bouncy seat, set her about 3 feet from the TV, and look for an appropriate show for her to “watch”. The best I can come up with is “Miffy and Friends”. I go to the kitchen and quickly throw together a sandwich and make the formula. As I’m doing this I’m listening to the TV. Kaitlyn isn’t fussing, she must like it.

Now I don’t know anything at all about how TV shows are created, but I suspect that people with experience in child research have something to do with children’s programming. I’m sure they have done studies that influence the speed at which the announcer lady talks, her soft, melodic tone of voice, the important lesson learned by Miffy and her friends in each episode. Plus, the show is based on the books of Dick Bruna who writes and illustrates the most lovely children’s books. I grew up with “Tom Thumb” and “The Egg”, both of which appear to be out of print. I’d never even heard of Miffy until Mervyn’s started selling the stuffed toys.

Anyway, so I put Kaitlyn in front of the TV today. And she didn’t mind. I never understood moms that had babysitters that came even when the mom was home, or when I read about someone having a nanny. I didn’t understand until my mother-in-law came to stay with us. Once she had recovered from her surgery, but still wasn’t allowed to drive herself back home, she wanted to help me around the house. I still remember when we were planning her stay and she said “I’ll help you with the baby” and I said NO! I assured her I was used to taking care of the baby during the day and didn’t need any help. And then one day, when I was trying to help the boys with homework and start dinner and feed Kaitlyn, I sheepishly asked her if she would mind giving Kaitlyn her bottle. I felt guilty asking! But it was such a HUGE relief to hand her over and be able to do other things. After that I had no problem asking MIL to help. Now it’s just Kaitlyn and me again, from 8:15 am to 3:45 when the boys get home, and it’s not always easy.

It’s 2:30 pm and “Maisy” is on. She seems to like that, too.



1. Dawn - February 16, 2006

Yeah. I Was all “TV for my child – NO WAY!!!” until I hadn’t bathed or eaten alone in a couple of weeks. Then I was all “Gee, I really see the value in Ruby and Max – There are great moral lessons here.”

Remember. Everyday that you make it through without killing a child and most everyone has food and maybe a bath – That’s a good day.

2. Beth - February 16, 2006

yes, i had the same epiphany.

basically, if they are alive, clean, not bleeding externally and fed when David gets home, I’ve done my job.

Davey and Ellie are *very* familiar with Miffy and Maisy.

3. mama_tulip - February 16, 2006

I credit television for my daughter’s ability to ask me for things in broken Spanish.

And when he’s really tired but can’t fall asleep, a Baby Einstein video knocks Oliver out every time.

I’m all for television.

4. Mary Tsao - February 16, 2006

Welcome to my World! Come on in, the water’s fine…

This is the funniest post, especially the last sentence. Do you know that?!?!

5. Nixie Knox - February 16, 2006

I sometimes feel guilty about the t.v. Sometimes. But then if it weren’t for a half hour of t.v. after school, my kids would never have dinner.

6. Mother GooseMouse - February 16, 2006

Tacy was – no sh!t – a few weeks old when she started turning to look at the TV. She hasn’t turned away since.

Sometimes I get fed up and turned the damned thing off. Most of the time I use it as a great opportunity to get snuggle-time from a girl who is rapidly outgrowing snuggles.

7. Tigerlily - February 16, 2006

Thanks to Sesame Street in some pretty hefty doses my Mother says I learned to count from 1 to 10 in Spanish, French, AND in sign language before mastering it in English.

TV can be educational and entertaining if used correctly. I say go for it!

BTW – You are ROCKIN’ your side bar! Just look at those book jackets and text! Go Elizabeth!!

8. Nancy - February 17, 2006

If it weren’t for Sesame Street breaks, my baby child would do stuff like drag the stepstool from the side of the kitchen to the counter and grab the huge knife we use for cutting bagels. I say, if it smacks of educational, it’s fair game.

9. Trisha - February 17, 2006

When my boys were smaller, while my anti-media Mom was babysitting them, she lasted about an hour before putting in a video!

10. Izzy - February 22, 2006

No no no! Do not feel bad. At her age, the bright colors are just a nice distraction so you can have a couple minutes to do things like pee, make formula etc. It wouldn’t be much different from sitting her in a window that had a particularly stimulating view. But since little ones see bright and contrasty things better, things like Maisy with no real dialogue and lots of music and bright colors is actually the best choice.

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