Am I Turning My Children Into Junkies?
My babies are already watching TV and they are only 16 months old. I’d love to tell you it’s just a little Baby Einstein now and again but they are already hardcore with an unfortunate affinity for the Wiggles. During every mealtime you will find my babies strapped into their booster seats in front of the TV vacillating from laughing and giggling like little impish maniacs to straight zoning out while eating their breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve admitted publically a tendency to allow my preschool daughter to watch TV and not make a big deal out of exactly how many minutes she logs. A lot of times she, like her mama, likes to have it on as background noise while she colors, runs around the house or tells me stories about who got in trouble for using a “bathroom word” in the classroom. But I didn’t think my twins would be into it so early. But here’s something really crazy: the television during meals is actually a form of therapy. And no, not just for me.
As you know, we’ve tried every trick in the book to get Sadie our miniature twin to eat like a normal baby. And by normal baby I mean at least take more than one bite of food in any given meal. If you know me and you know my column, you know what a struggle this has been for us from the moment we took her home from the NICU. Despite the g-tube she has which helps her get extra nutrition, mostly overnight; she hasn’t gained an exceptional amount of weight. Funny enough, when I wrote Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay I distinctly remember advising parents not to worry so much about what their kids eat or don’t eat. At that time, I had a kid with no food issues so I had not experience dealing with one who literally doesn’t eat. Let this be my mea culpa. I didn’t know. I didn’t understand that that advice is not for all parents. And we are definitely not the only exceptions. And so, I’ve worried enough about what Sadie eats and doesn’t eat for an entire worry army. I’ve earned a Silver Star in worry.
Sometimes the parenting “rule book” has to be thrown away completely in order to be the best you can be. I don’t know if there are any hard and fast rules about parenting but I do know that plopping kids in front of the TV for every meal is frowned upon in most circles. But in our family it’s exactly what we need. And if we’re ever going to get rid of the button, the kid’s gotta eat - which leads me to the overconsumption of Wiggles in our living room.