by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
So I’ve recently been alerted to the hullabaloo surrounding Baby Einstein videos. It seems that Disney is offering refunds on their “educational” videos because they’re apparently not turning infants into baby Einsteins after-all. I was absolutely shocked to find out that I wasn’t the only person duped into thinking I could raise a teeny tiny Mozart through no hands-on parenting of my own. It made perfect sense to me that I could sit my children in front of a DVD that shows colorful felt sock puppets moving at a pace slower than my grandma on the interstate highway and expect them to come away a prodigy. The only movement any of my kids produced after watching Baby Mozart was in their Pampers. So, yeah, I’m mad. After I finish writing this, I plan to get in line and ask for a refund on Baby Beethoven, Baby Monet Discovering the Seasons, Baby Galileo Discovering the Sky, Baby da Vinci from Head to Toe, Baby Shakespeare World of Poetry. I guess my only question is: Am I going to have to prove that my kids are not that smart? Is there some sort of a test? Can I have the test administered in-home (my kids don’t necessarily “not perform” on demand)? Also, will I get a refund on Baby McDonald even though my almost two-year-old, Matilda, can identify most animals that typically reside on a farm? Will I only get a partial refund if Sadie can oink like a pig? The problem is, I’m not sure if she learned it from watching hours and hours of “learning” DVD’s or if I accidentally taught it to her on my own. It’s also possible that she picked it up at the park, in a story book, from her sister, dad or nanny. But, just like with the Swine Flu, it’s going to be difficult to pinpoint the exact source so I want my damn money back.
Baby Newton Discovering Shapes is in my DVD player right now and Matilda can recognize a triangle. Is this some sort of nutty coincidence? If not, can Disney prove it’s not?
The thing is, I’m no a genius and neither is my husband (although his parents beg to differ) so I figured I’d try to circumvent genetics and use this convenient shortcut to get them into an Ivy League college of my choice. At only about 15.99 a pop it seemed like a good deal. But now I’m finding out that I’ve basically been robbed! Next you’re going to tell me that I have to take the twins off the wait list for Princeton. This is bullshit.
Some dude named Aric Sigman, a psychologist and author of Remotely Controlled , a book about how television is ruining lives (God, I hope he doesn’t mean Real Housewives of Atlanta) says, "It shows what many of us have been saying for a long time, that the virtual life cannot beat real life when it comes to language acquisition in children. None of these videos or educational TV shows can rival or supplant babies talking and listening to parents."
So now you’re saying that talking to my kids might somehow be better for them than expecting to raise their IQ the old fashioned passive way? Do I have to take them outside? Will the park raise their IQ? If not, can I sue the park? I’ve got a lawyer so the hard part is done. Now I just need to get a judge to take my case. Should I just sue the park or nature in general? This could get complicated. It’s so so hard to find a good scapegoat these days.
I’m just worried that naysayers are going to look into other products and deflate my expectations in them. I don’t want to find out that my “Potty Train Your Baby in an Hour” book wasn’t worth the money or that the Shamwow is…well…a sham. Do I only think my car is that clean? If I find out that I only think I’m getting salon style haircuts from the Flowbee I’m going to be more than a little bit bummed.
The bottom line is I really believed that Baby Einstein videos had the power to up their IQ and it’s going to be a long long time until I can trust again. Although…I’ve heard wonderful things about Your Baby Can Read. And at only 14.95, I smell a winner.
Susan McLain, General Manager, The Baby Einstein Company responds to the media coverage of the refund: Setting the Record Straight