Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tiny Dancer 3, or Not ALL Television is Evil

I generally don't allow Benjamin to watch very much T.V. I'm not one of those hardcore anti-television parents for whom watching television is tantamount to smoking crack, but I do prefer that Benjamin occupy himself by doing things other than staring at the idiot box.

Look at what happens when Benjamin watches TV... My vibrant little boy becomes a total zombie. A cute, chubby little zombie, sure, but a zombie nonetheless.

Still, there are times when the television can be - dare I say it? - an absolute godsend. This afternoon, for example, I was in the kitchen desperately trying to put together a lasagna. I was simultaneously boiling pasta, frying ground beef, draining spinach, and mixing bechamel and marinara, which meant that Benjamin wasn't getting any of my attention. He was about to go into full meltdown mode, so to buy myself 15 minutes of time, I let him watch a bit of a Mandarin-English preschoolers' program called Ni Hao, Kailan (which, to you Chinese folks out there, should really be called Ni Hao Ke Pa, Kailan).

Toddler + Television = Zoned-out Child with Glassy Zombie Eyes. Pretty scary, huh? And to think that this was his response to an educational children's program designed to be interactive and engaging. It would stand to reason, then, that a primetime television program geared towards an adult audience would really zombify him. Right?
Not really.

That's Benjamin watching Mommy's guilty pleasure, So You Think You Can Dance. And instead of getting zero enrichment from this cheesy, primetime show, he actually does seem to be getting something out of it, though I'm not sure what exactly. A good laugh, perhaps? Some slick dance moves? I'll let the toddler girls on the playground be the judge of that.
So let this be a lesson to all of you moms out there: reality television is "better" for your children than educational programming.

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