Thursday, March 11, 2010

Does your child watch too much TV

I think one of mine does.  A few nights while we sat reading a new book (yes I know this seems weird in a post about my children watching too much TV), my 5 YO was struggling to read because he had a stuffed up nose.  After sniffling repeatedly, I asked if he thought a tissue might help out, and he said, “No I think I need some Nasal-next.”

“Don’t you mean Nasonex?”

“No, I think it is nasal-next.”


This isn’t the first time he has quoted some commercial or infomercial.  On several occasions, I have been woken up (usually by my wife) to go downstairs at 2 or 3 in the morning, to tell him to turn off the TV and head back to bed.  At 5 YO, he doesn’t have a real good grasp on time, so I usually forgive these incidents.  The fun starts the next morning, when my wife and I get a very succinct recap of various products marketed at that hour of the night.  One particular morning we were informed that we must go out and purchase a “Big City Slider Station.”

“Um, ok, what the h-, um, what is that?”

“It’s a fast and easy way to make mini-burgers. Just scoop, press and cook. Mommy will love it.”

This had my interest.  Not because it involved food, but because I could recall having heard that exact same thing before.  I flipped on the TV in the kitchen, selected a channel that is usually laden with infomercials and “As seen on TV” products, and we ate our breakfast listening to the TV.  Within 15 minutes, we were lucky enough to hear Billy Mays (may he rest in peace) extol us on the virtues of the “Big City Slider Station.”  And yes, my son was able to repeat a majority of the commercial verbatim. 

Skip ahead a few days, I hear the familiar “Ahoy thar matey’s” of the Spongebob Squarepants’ theme song.  As soon as the song ended, I heard my 5 YO say “aww, this is one where Spongebob <interject some hilarious Spongebob event>”  Peaking around into the family room, I saw that the episode hadn’t even started yet.  Interested that I might have found yet another one of his TV eccentricities, I sat through the 12 minute episode with him.  This isn’t torture for me, I actually enjoy Spongebob.  My all-time favorite episode is Sailor Mouth.   At the start of the next half of the episode, a short title screen was shown and I asked my TV addicted son what this one was about.

“Umm, this is where Patrick <interject an equally hilarious Patrick event>”

I repeated the experiment over the next several days of Spongebob episodes.  Sometimes I asked if he could read the title page, no.  Sometimes I switched the channel right after the title screen and asked him for a more in-depth description of the show.  He was able to retell the entire storyline and describe much of the action that takes place.

I presented my wife with the results of the experiment, gave her a demonstration.  She was not impressed with either his uncanny ability or my painstaking research.

Over the past few years, we have been able to divert some of his couch-potatoness to things like Mythbusters, Time Warp and Discovery Kids.  This has not always proved beneficial, especially when he began quoting Discovery Health when my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child or when he describes things from Dr. G Medical Examiner at dinner. 

I can’t wait until the day he and I can sit and watch Dune with the volume off and not miss a line of dialog.  “The beginning is a very delicate time.  Know then that it is the year 10,191.  The Known Universe is ruled by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, my father…”

Note: My children are very active, they do not watch TV all the time, do very well in school and they are actually avid readers as well.  But they do seem to have inherited the trait of turning on a TV set every time they enter a room whether they watch it or not.  I really don’t need a visit from CPS.  Thanks.

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