Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby Einstein

When H was about 18 months old, J, H and I were at a food tasting at a friend's house to support another friend's budding catering business. There were several kids there, and the hostess offered to put in a Baby Einstein movie to occupy them so we could visit a little more freely. I realized at that time that I had no idea if that would entertain H because I hadn't had H watch a movie before. Yes, I'd had the TV on in his presence, but we hadn't really sat down to watch something together for him before.

The hostess laughed saying that it was because I was being a good mom by not having my child watch TV yet, and I wish that were the case. The truth is in the go-go-go life of working full-time and socializing on the weekends, I felt like H was sometimes an extension of me, and just did what I was doing. Sure, I went to the pumpkin patch and other places I may not have had I not had a toddler, but I can't say that I felt like I carved out time for he and I to do toddler things. We didn't watch PBS kids in the morning, no Elmo's Potty Time or Letter Factory. No. All those things would start happening when I was home full-time. Alas...

Baby Einstein is celebrating their tenth anniversary. Ten years of creating books, movies and musical CD's, in addition to a lot of interactive toys, that aim to stimulate children in an age-appropriate manner. Ultimately, however, the goal is to create an opportunity for parents to have structured interactions with their babies and toddlers.

When I got the package, H was very excited, asking as I unwrapped the cellophane from the Special Edition Baby Mozart "Is that my surprise?!" Feeling the remembered guilt wash over me from that long ago incident, I realized I may have missed the interest boat with him for this particular DVD. I told him that he was welcome to watch it, and he sat dutifully for about ten minutes before finally asking "Are there going to be any words?" C, on the other hand, was enraptured. The colors and shapes that rolled gently across the screen had him mesmerized.

I know you're supposed to use it as a time to spend just with your baby, but Bless me Father, for I have sinned; I have a way to take a leisurely shower (I always showered daily before, I just get to enjoy it now) sans tears (mine and C's) and I even get to shave my legs everyday! I spend the first five minutes or so of the video talking about the different images on the screen and then I politely excuse myself to engage in my daily ablutions.

The board books, on the other hand, have been great for one-on-one time. Along with Baby Mozart, we were sent Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Farm Animals; more than anything it's nice sometimes to just be given a jumping off point...I have several textures in the book to have C try out, and then I can find other things around the house to mix it up a little bit. We already owned Mirror Me, the book about mimicking different silly faces, and H is still a big fan of it.

Lastly, we got the Lullaby Classics CD. I actually already owned this, and have to admit that I don't love it. I prefer some of the more fluid renditions of the classics but the arrangements have been "tailored for little ears" so I'll just get over myself on this one.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's so easy to get swept away in all the parties and obligations. Helping our kids discover the world in which we live may be our greatest responsibility as parents, but it doesn't have to feel like a chore. There are a lot of great resources out there to make our job fun, and Baby Einstein is one of them; I'm pretty sure it's because it was created by a mom!

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