Just in case you weren't worried enough about how you were screwing up your kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics (Motto: Causing Paranoia in Well-Meaning Parents Since 1930) has reiterated the statement that letting children under two watch television is the leading cause of socialism, bed-wetting and letting the terrorists win.
Okay, it's not quite that dire. Letting your baby watch television is only going to stunt their ability to read and become a productive member of society.
Back when LO was a tiny thing, I took this proscription against baby-TV watching seriously. To the point where I felt guilty for watching television while I breastfed LO. (You'll notice that my taking the statement seriously did not mean that I ceased and desisted the behavior. No, no--I just felt guilty about it.)
Then LO became mobile and my personal hygiene took a nose dive. Because when you have to choose between a shower while the baby is napping and doing some paid work so they don't turn off the hot water, you generally do the paid work. Then one day, J, who is the unofficial voice of reason in this household, turned on a Baby Einstein-style program for LO while the child was having a meltdown. LO dried his eyes and then didn't blink for the entirety of the program. He was entranced. We got a half hour of quiet. It was glorious.
Soon, we (and by we, I mean *I*) were sitting LO in front of Baby Class once a day so that I could get something done. According to the AAP, I am officially a BAD MOTHER.
If that wasn't bad enough, the article that is pointing its accusing finger at me came out while I was recuperating from the daycare plague that LO brought home to share with the whole family. What does one do while recovering from a snot-tastic head cold from hell? Watch as much Daily Show, Big Bang Theory (and shame of shames) 19 Kids and Counting as one possibly can. So not only has LO been getting his regular fix of his educational (ha!) baby show, but he's also been seeing and hearing lots of things I'd rather he didn't repeat. ("No, honey, you're not going to have 18 brothers and sisters. Because I said so, that's why.")
On the one hand, I wonder what world the pediatricians recommending this stuff come from. J suggested they must all have au pairs--and I posit that the au pairs park the kids in front of the tube when the parents aren't looking. Raising a kid without occasional TV time is next to impossible for any non-Luddite, non-hippy, non-it-takes-a-village-plus-a-regular-babysitter-to-come-over-daily-to-give-you-time-for-things-you-used-to-take-for-granted-like-two-minutes-to-brush-your-teeth.
On the other hand, I always feel I need to take these kinds of recommendations with a grain of salt. Or a salt lick. The AAP says that children watching TV are not playing with or interacting with their caregivers. And that's the one ill-effect that is touted for allowing little ones to suckle at the teat of the boob tube. So provided I play with LO and interact with him the other 23.5 hours per day, does that mean we're good? Because I'm not about to turn on the set and leave it going all day to entertain LO. (Not that it would even work. I usually get about 10 minutes out of any half hour baby show these days).
On the third hand (didn't know I was using Vishnu's arms for my points, did you?), I am most definitely a member of the TV generation and I don't see how it has harmed me. I grew up on a steady diet of MTV, Night Court reruns, rushing home to make sure I didn't miss the opening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and watching my VHS of The Princess Bride so much that I literally broke the damn thing. And other than the fact that I know all the words to the Jem and Holograms theme song (Je-em is truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!), I don't feel that my juvenile TV watching has had a negative effect on my life. Yes, I can quote classic television and 80s movies with far greater accuracy than I can name Constitutional Amendments, but does that really detract from my ability to be a real grown up? (Don't say yes).
So I'm not going to stop rotting my child's brain. This article is another example of parents being told that they need to be perfect, where I'm just aiming for mostly good enough. And personal hygiene that doesn't have strangers giving me a 20 foot berth.