TV Is Our Friend
I have a confession: I love Barney. Heck, I'll say it: I just love television. The American Academy of Pediatrics be darned.
The two hours every weekday morning that my preschoolers are anchored in front of the set is the only time of the day I can get something done without fear of the dog getting a haircut or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ending up in the VCR.
I started as one of those impossibly idealistic parents who swore her children would never watch television. Finger-painting and algebra flashcards would fill my progeny's days; homemade puppets and needlepoint would provide their entertainment.
My resolution lasted all the way until the first month of my second pregnancy. In a fatigue-and-nausea-induced moment of weakness, I acquiesced and allowed my son to watch "educational" programming. I had my first uninterrupted nap in two years. By the time my second child was a toddler, I had recanted my TV prohibition altogether. I believe my third child's first word was "Elmo."
Today, we're a true 21st-century family. Our viewing diet includes "Dora the Explorer," "Dr. Phil," "Arthur," "American Idol," NBA, MTV, CNN and HGTV. But lest you think me a complete sellout, let me assure you, I still have my standards: I don't permit my children to watch anything with flesh-eating aliens (at least not before bedtime), I haven't given in to their cries for premium cable and they don't have TV sets in their bedrooms. Yet.
But I've come to realize that TV is our friend. Once, I was foolhardy enough to turn my back on the kids without my electronic babysitter on duty; I paid for it with a lovely marker mural on the dining room wall and orange-juice-and-Cheerios soup in my lingerie drawer. It won't happen again.