November 25, 2009

Brainy Baby & Handsfree Mommy

There are times when you just have to put the baby down. No, no. I'm serious. If I held him all day (as all of us would love to do)... the laundry, the schoolwork, the cooking, and all of life as we know it would grind to a halt.

I know you are shaking your head in unbelief. "Who would put a baby that cute down in a walker? Are you kidding me? And in front of a television set?"

Sad, isn't it?

Life must go on - even with a cute baby in the house.

Being a mama that doesn't like television that much, I have to rely on videos we purchase, rent or get as gifts. We chose to prevent TV from rotting our brains a long time ago after noticing that almost all TV was trash anyway. I don't like having control over the agenda (and there's a lot of agenda-pushing these days - even on children's programming). Oh, I'll watch TV now and then. I have been known to sit through a Law and Order marathon when visiting the in-laws over holidays - to be sure... just so you know I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty.

We're a 'prime-time'-challenged family. Don't ask me who is an American Idol because I will only stare at you and blink. I have never watched a full episode of Glee, or Lost, or Desperate Housewives. I can also finally admit that I've only seen one series of 24, too. I haven't even seen a day's worth of PBS programming since my ten year old was about 2. The brief year that we did pay for cable, we were sickened by the advertisements (too many companies catering to non-kid-and-family-friendly bents) and astonished by the amazing amount of unwatchable gobbledygook available to fritter our brains away on.

Our past experience with TV and Cable Programming is why I have some standards for my videos. I didn't say HIGH standards because I'm sure there's a stricter and more godly mom out there. Certainly there are more classy and polished homeschool families as well... some that might scoff at us for allowing our kids to see Lord of the Rings or collect Sponge Bob DVDs. I met a Christian homeschooling mom once that didn't allow her kids to watch Veggie Tales, either. Even the adults like them in our house - sorry, but we don't find being silly offensive even in a serious world. We aren't above enjoying some twaddle now and then, but it has to be clean twaddle.

Lately we pretty much watch any videos we have that will keep baby's attention long enough to afford us thirty or forty-five minutes of free time. Free time offers us the ability to use BOTH hands while eating a sandwich for lunch, enough time to get a subject completed for school, or enough time to rotate the laundry, cook dinner and/or do the dishes. He's almost too big for the swing and already too big for the bouncy seat, so the TV is our friend.

Brainy Baby is the latest edition to our kid-friendly DVDs (product was sent to us to review). We have one or two Baby Einstein shows, a slew of old PBS VHS tapes, and almost all of the Disney movies. There's quite a selection, but not many of the flicks we have will hold baby's attention for longer than five or ten minutes. I wondered if the Brainy Baby would be any different. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised that they were.

I even conducted a little scientific research of my own by observing what the differences in the movies that he likes the best are verses the ones he won't watch. It seems that Kohen (as an 8 month old baby) is interested most by other babies (especially faces), real animals, and talking or singing (things that Brainy Baby all contain plenty of). He's not so interested in animation, 2D objects (such as alphabets and shapes), or comics. He zones out watching adult movies with talking scenes as if he's really interested in them, but will fidget and balk at Sponge Bob. What he loves the best about his Brainy Baby shows are the baby faces and the talking and moving children and people. He'll literally sit through the whole show until they do the alphabet part. He adores the Laugh & Learn (for ages 1-3). We have the ABC's show, too, and look forward to growing in to it.

I love it that he's learning something besides how to flip a crabby patty (no offense, Sponge Bob lovers). And as much as I love Sesame Street, there's only so much of the "Honky Ducky Dinger Jamboree" that I can handle. We were thrilled to add these baby-friendly DVDs to our collection so Kohen can learn while being entertained. Selfishly, we're also glad that he likes them because it affords us hands-free moments in our daily routine that keep our house from complete chaos.

And that's a GOOD thing.


Michelle said...

He is so precious!Now that I have recovered from sleep deprivation 8 years later, I really miss the baby stage!

Kohen is a neat name. It is the first time I have heard it as a first name.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

In Christ


Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

We're kind of stuck with our satellite tv, thanks to the 2-year contract which would cost a small fortune to bail out of. But we didn't have cable for many, many years. I think I liked it better that way. It kills me that even though we have HUNDREDS of channels, there are times I cannot sit down and find ONE DECENT SHOW that I'd like to watch!! It's ludicrous. When our two years are up, I'll be campaigning for it to go away. We'll see how that fares, since I only care a 1/4 vote.

That little Viking is so darned cute! Great shots. :D

Hannah @ Reflections of a Face said...

My family and I aren't big on TV, but, we still have standards. There is only one show that we, as a family, watch together- 18 Kids and Counting.

My 2 year-old brothers were never big on TV. They still won't sit (or stand :P) for any show of any length. They'll dance to music we put on, though. Instead of the TV, we use "blanket time". They each get a toy and sit on the blanket beside mom or an older sister. This way, we can do chores, do or help with school work, etc. Of course they have to learn to stay on the blanket, but it is a very handy tool!

Melissa Stover said...

i've found that tess is very entertained by herself on video. i pop in dvds i've made of her and the kids and she will watch. she doesn't seem to pay attention to any other tv unless it's milo and otis (she loves animals).

Laura said...

Disney offered refunds to parents that bought the Baby Einstein dvds, like the one you reviewed here..they don't supercharge a babys brain but actually for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs, infants understood on average six to eight fewer words than children who did not watch television. careful what you wish for ...My son used to watch these and it was great as a babysitter however I really regret it now, he had some delays and I can't help but wonder if the dvds had a part of that..

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I tell students to learn difficult lessonsby going over them many times. Now, I also suggested to them, these flashcards to try out. Its quite simple to create these flashcards even for a technology newbie like me!

Anonymous said...

Can I ask you a favor? Could you please make a list of your educational videos? Thanks.

In a homeschool conference I learned that the baby is "the lesson". We hardly can't accomplish with babies but older children will learn a lot as they help out. My husband taught me how to be a mother as he was the oldest of many siblings. He was always helping at home.


John J. McGeough said...

You have a beautiful child. You are also perfectly on target about the content of television. So much learning and quality family time could take place if we just turned the silly thing off. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Denise said...

A very well balanced article, Heather. Thank you. I would like to correct Laura, who posted a comment. You were reviewing DVDs from BRAINY BABY, not Baby Einstein. Many people get the two confused...BIG difference! I just read that BRAINY BABY has been scientifically studied and proven to teach children. No loss of vocabulary either! Einstein has issues, but please don't confuse with Brainy Baby. These DVDs are wonderful and very educational! For all of us, the lesson is that CONTENT matters! DVDs are great, but they must be educational, like Brainy Baby.

cindy said...

Here's an article from NYTimes re: the Baby Einstein refund. Brainy Baby is named in the same legal complaint, even if they haven't offered a refund.

They do make good baby-sitters, though. :)

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE the pics you take! He's got the BEST facial expressions. :)



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