My daughter, Katie, likes to watch TV. All kids like to watch TV, right? No big deal?
My daughter is 11 weeks old.
When you hold her in the presence of the television, she must be upright so that she can see the screen. If you try to face her away from the television, she screams until you make the necessary adjustments.
We put her in the swing and turn on the mobile, which, by the way, is designed specifically for the entertainment of infants, but still, she’d rather watch “The Closer.”
I try to discourage this behavior. I know she’ll have plenty of TV watching time to come. It won’t be long before “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” rule her world.
I’ve tried a million other things to get her attention. Bright toys, rattles, musical bouncy seats. Maybe when she’s older, these things will work, but for now, nothing captivates her like our flat screen.
I know, I know. She’s not actually watching the show. She just likes the lights and the movement. Still, it just feels wrong.
But, ya know, sometimes a mom needs a break. It doesn’t matter if this break is of the bathroom variety, or maybe for laundry or to take a phone call. Sometimes I just have to put her down.
Sometimes I put her down in front of the TV.
Is that bad? Is it horrible? Does it make me a bad parent?
The tsk tsks coming from my grandma tell me “yes,” but I’m not sure it’s true.
“You moms are so different these days, always on the go. Babies just have to grow up so fast,” she scolded me. The disapproval was obvious.
So what’s a girl to do? As a new mom, I find myself grasping for anything that will capture Katie’s attention, even just for a minute or two. Sure, I love holding her, but it’s hard to unload the dishwasher or cook dinner with a baby in your arms.
Still, every time I turn her swing or tilt her up so she can see the show, I can’t help but wonder, am I rotting her brain?