I think a reason why I make it a big deal to read so much to Sloan is because in the back of my head I feel it will counteract all the TV we let her watch. I can admit that the television screen works wonders when it comes to settling her down for bed or when mommy and daddy need to buy some time.
Don’t worry, it is not like we give Sloan the remote and let her channel surf. Rather, she primarily watches one station: BabyFirst TV.
If you have never heard of BabyFirst TV, good for you! Well, I don’t want to frame it as such a bad thing. Let me be up front and say this…Sloan absolutely loves the programming. However, for adults, it can really start to wear on you over time.
In my opinion, BabyFirst TV offers a slightly bizarre range of programming. Stars of the network include a puppet bunny with freakishly large hands, three mice that look like Chuck E. Cheese rejects, and a blue rip off of Kermit the Frog. Much of the footage of actual people is embarrassingly outdated (A common question Sid and I ask each other: When do you think this was filmed?). If you do happen to watch something you like, don’t worry, it will be aired again in just a couple hours. BabyFirst TV is a station ripe with questionable characters and constant repetition.
Then again, the station is not about me (except for the same 3-4 commercials that are targeted at parents all hours of the day). It shouldn’t matter to me that the closed captioning is inaccurate, the graphics at commercial breaks have spelling errors, and some of the rhyming is questionable at best. From what I have heard, and what should matter most, BabyFirst TV excels at using bright colors and upbeat music while teaching such skills as counting and vocabulary.
Although I can’t confirm that those lessons are resonating with Sloan, we do know for a fact that at the very least she enjoys watching the shows just for the heck of it. She can be crawling across the living room in the opposite direction of the television and the moment one of the jingles plays she will stop what she is doing and turn a full 180 to watch the screen. She can be fussy and nothing will seem to please her until we put her in bed with us and turn on BabyFirst TV. We can be driving back from Murrells Inlet and we can keep her happy during the long drive by using one of our phones to bring up a BabyFirst show on YouTube.
So, who cares if the programming is annoying or if she is learning anything? At least it keeps her happy, right?
Now it is time for a confession. Even though I don’t necessarily get excited about watching BabyFirst TV, I do have a soft spot for the sing-along show that comes on late at night. If Sloan happens to be up around 10 p.m., we will watch it together and I will sing to her. On most nights, it will finally put her to sleep.
One final confession. Because I have seen the same shows over and over and over and over, it seems as if the level of annoyance is starting to fade. Instead, a sense of comfort and fondness seems to replace it, even when I see the same “Harry the Bunny” episode or listen to the “Peek-A-Boo” song for the millionth time. I definitely can’t say that about Sidney’s reality shows. Don’t Blink.