Max’s first word when he wakes up in the morning.
Is this wrong? Maybe. Does it allow me to eat breakfast undisturbed? Hells yeah. So if my toddler being a movie junkie is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.
Okay, so I do wanna be right. I’m not Lindsay Lohan’s mother for God sake; I actually do want my kid to turn out normal. So I have to ask myself – is Max spending too much time with the electronic babysitter? Will too much tube make my boy a boob?
There’s this theory (I hope it’s just a theory) that too much television watching causes ADHD in small children. I hate to admit it, but it does make sense…
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics was published in 2004 proposing that “the viewing of television by children less than two years of age is linked to the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) later in life. The study found that the quick-paced action and frequent scene shifts of many programs “train” the brain to perceive this type of rapid movement as normal when real everyday life clearly moves at a slower pace. When a child perceives this overstimulation to be the norm, it makes sense that they would be bored by and expect more excitement from everyday life. How can we expect a child who is used to being entertained by flashing lights and quick moving animation to be interested in what their considerably less high-tech teacher is saying in front of the class?”
I have just one thing to say in response to these scientific results: eek.
Maybe this explains Max’s boggled facial expression as he watches Cars, or Wall-E, or – his fave – Toy Story 3. He’s not thinking “wow, cool, look at that!”, he’s thinking “whaaaaaaaaat the fuck is thaaaaaaat???” Confusion escalates to terror when he sees TS3’s monkey with the cymbals. Can’t blame him; that chimp makes me wanna go hide under the bed and suck my thumb.
I’d be sad to see Toy Story 3 go; I’ve watched it about 40 times and could watch it again right now and still be intrigued. God bless you, Disney Pixar. But part of me (my right hand, specifically) would be happy to take all the Thomas dvds and put them in the blender. “They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight…” The theme song haunts my dreams. It’s the soundtrack to our lives. What does shunting even mean???
Sometimes I also find myself spontaneously breaking into a British accent. This can’t be healthy.
But that wretched song makes Max dance, so I gladly tolerate it. I know one day this stupid song and these little wooden trains will be treasures, placed on a high shelf somewhere, reminders of a simpler time when my little boy, now out there in the big world, was safely under my wing.
So… do I say “No, Max, no more movies today.” Whining ensues, followed by pouty face, then outright crying, then, my favourite, thrashing. When he pounds his fists and forehead on the couch – that’s the best, isn’t it? I know I need to ignore this behaviour so he knows it’s not working, but that’s easier said than done. His unjoy is a dog wrapped around my leg. I just want it to stop, and after a long day at work I’ll do anything to make it so – anything! And when one little flick of a play button can return us to complete and utter tranquility, how can I resist?
Today’s verdict: choo-choo.