Sunday, December 17, 2006

That Magical Milestone

There is a milestone in every child's life that is not mentioned in "What to Expect" books. There is no line for it in baby journals, and mothers don't compare notes as to when their children acheive it. But it is a critical one nonetheless.

Yes, I am talking about the day a child first pays attention to a television program. For the whole 15 minutes.

This is, as many milestones are, bittersweet. After all, it marks the passing of babyhood. However, for a busy mother, it is also a thing to be celebrated. Because even mothers who seriously limit television for their children can always use another tool in their kits. One that allows them to complete an important phone call. Or get dinner on the table during the "witching hour".

Tony reached this milestone today, while his brothers and sisters were outside jumping on the trampoline. Since this is something he can't participate in yet, he was stuck inside with me without a ready source of entertainment, as I was busy baking Christmas cookies. He had already unloaded the dishwasher, the roundabout cabinet and the plastic cups and bowls. He had banged the mortar and pestle until we were both practically deaf. He was not interested in snacks or his push car. He was simply underfoot, close to a hot oven, so I decided to give the TV a try, just to see if it could distract him long enough for me to finish the cookie batch I was working on. I put on "The Wonder Pets", and darned if it didn't do the trick. He was completely captivated for a full 15 minutes. I simultaneously rejoiced and felt totally guilty, as I rushed through and completed my baking.

Many of you mothers will understand me when I say "yipee" and "uh-oh" at the same time. Now I must resist the urge to turn to television too frequently when I need to get something done. It is no longer his lack of interest that keeps the TV beast tamed, it is my discipline, which is imperfect at best. But at the same time, I am relieved that there is something I can turn to in desperate times that can buy me the few minutes that I need. I cannot send him outside or to play a board game, as I can with my older children when I want them to turn off the television. He has to be in my sight, and sometimes I need him reliably occupied. Today, this is within my power.

So, happy milestone day, Tony. And good luck to this mom!

4 comments:

Jen Savard said...

FANTASTIC!! I know there is some despair in this catagory but I say YIPEE!! I consider myself a fairly adequate mother and was totally thrilled when my kids bcame glued to the set.I am also on the other end of the parenting spectrum with older kids and can see that it didn't scar them to be in front of the T.V. for a couple years and they have outgrown it for the most part. As for their father tat's a whle different story! Although I do like parking him in front of the T.V. so I can get things done too!:)

Maura said...

It's so interesting that as I read this blog -- my three year old is watching Wonder Pets. I love that show! It combines music, cute animals and such a great message.

nutmeg said...

I thought you were going to blog about Joey "getting" and liking Math! Here's to wishful thinking for the both of us...

sigh


Mae (my 2 year old) is addicted to Signing Time. I can't stand Wonder Pets (sorry!) but ALL of my kids love love love it. So Mae knows all the words to the songs...

Annie Bizzi said...

Okay woman, with five kids and about to deliver, where in the world are you getting the energy to make Christmas cookies! What an inspiration--if the tube helps with that, so be it!