Sunday, October 25, 2009

Queen for a day

posted Sat, 23 Oct 2004

Today turned out to be better than promised by the morning. I went to Stephen and Leigh’s for lunch. I thought we were just going to have cheese and crackers while we worked on this site, but Leigh had made me a special birthday lunch. We had crab cakes, grilled zucchini and summer squash, biscuits, and chocolate cake. AND I got to wear the birthday tiara! How’s that for a nice surprise?

Tiaras are an essential part of all birthday celebrations.

They are about to cancel their satellite TV and tivo. The only thing they really watch now is The Daily Show and they decided it wasn’t worth $65 a month. Leigh and I used to watch Queer Eye, but we got bored with it after about seven episodes. Leigh is taking one class at night and Stephen is taking three. When the baby gets here, there really won’t be any time to watch TV. Leigh doesn’t want the baby to watch TV anyhow. “I didn’t watch it when I was a kid,” she says. “When my sister and I were bored, my mother would give us each a spoon and tell us to go outside and dig to China. And we would.”

My sister took a child development course during her master’s degree program. Watching TV is really, really bad for babies. Really bad. It creates ADD-like behavior in them. “Children shouldn’t watch TV until they are actually old enough to talk about what’s happening on it,” she said.

My friend Lauren noticed behavior differences between her six month old daughter Lily and the 18 month old son – “Zach” – of her friends. The friends came over for dinner one night. Lauren gave Lily a wooden spoon to keep her occupied while Lauren and the girlfriend got dinner ready, but the girlfriend popped a video in the TV for Zach. “He loves that video! He’s been watching it since he was Lily’s age!” the friend said.

Lauren told me she had noticed that Lily was more verbal and more engaged than Zach, despite the age difference, but thought it might just be sex or personality differences. I got my sister involved in the email conversation and Jenny was pretty sure it was the TV. Lauren doesn’t let Lily watch TV. “I get to spend little enough time with her as it is. Why would I put her in front of a TV?” she asks.

I would caution parents from going overboard on the no-TV thing, though. Except for one or two years when I was a kid, we didn’t have a TV at all when I was growing up, and look how my siblings and I turned out. We are all college graduates and two of us have advanced degrees. My brother is an architect and my sister is a nurse practitioner. Be very careful.

Complete digression: How long before my neighbors across the street figure out that the trash guys are not going to pick up the seven cinder blocks that have been on their sidewalk for four months now? Doesn’t it bother them to see them out there?

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