One tends to raise one’s first born with a lot of idealism. Strangely enough, you make the most mistakes with your first-born. Before sonny was born, I had read up a lot of books, scanned the internet for issues, problems that new parents face and the solutions that “experts” offered. For all that reading, my 21 month old still co-sleeps with us and cant self-feed.
One issue that most groups are very vocal about is TV watching. The American Pediatric Associations recommends no TV before age 2 and thereafter only for 15 mins at a time, not more than 2-3 times daily. We’d met a couple who very proudly told us that their son (who was about 15 months then) had no attraction for the TV. Their secret? In the first 12-15 months or so – they didn’t watch any TV in his presence. So now, when the TV was turned on, he found nothing interesting about it. As a brand new mother – I was most impressed and I vowed that we would watch no TV with sonny around – because we didn’t want a TV addict. For some months it worked fine.
Once my in-laws left us, the technicalities of this working left us floundering. Besides winter was upon us – and who the hell wanted to go out when it was minus 20C. So it began with an odd episode of Friends here and there. And slowly it grew.
Once sonny turned about 1 year old – we started getting Zee TV. I cant tell you how much I was pleased to hear programming in Hindi. So all TV watching guidelines went flying out of the window. Sonny too enjoyed some ads and would come running out to watch them. I found sonny too had likes, dislikes about certain songs, title tracks, etc. But no major love for the TV yet.
Friends and relatives told me of how – just to get a break – they would sometimes turn on a favorite cartoon show for the kids. Of how the kids remained glued to the show, till it was turned off. And I thought – hey that’s not a bad idea – a show here or there – just “so I get a break” cant hurt, can it? So a few evenings, I would turn on PBS and sit and watch Clifford with sonny – explaining things to him in Hindi (since the show was in English). But within a few minutes, he would run off, leaving me watching the TV alone.
I even lamented to a few friends about it. We were pretty sure that once we got to India, sonny would get hooked onto the TV – plethora of Hindi programming, plethora of channels with the latest songs, something was bound to connect with sonny. But what do you know, he still doesn’t give it more than a cursory look and then runs off outside. Except for maybe a song here or there (and Don tops the list) nothing on TV can hold his attention more than a minute.
And as I write this, I am wondering – what the hell is wrong with me? I didn’t want sonny to get the TV habit and I did everything about it for 1 year to make sure TV stayed off his list of fav things. And now here I am wondering – why cant he sit still to watch any cartoon? Any one got any ideas to keep an active 21 month old busy for a while, while mommy checks out her blog-pals?