When Isabella was born, I decided to follow the AAP's guideline of no tv before the age of two. Of course, we didn't last the full two years. Isabella started watching Sesame Street once a day around the age of 15 months, and this past summer, she started watching Clifford once a day as well. However, in the later months of my pregnancy, I started relying on the television to entertain Isabella a great deal more than I did before. I was so exhausted I could barely move most of the time, so whenever I needed 10 minutes on the couch last September and October, I would switch on the tv for her. I never wanted to use the television as a babysitter, but use it I did and now, with the twins in the picture, I have no choice. If I'm nursing them and Isabella is particularly "spirited" at the time, I turn on the tv to calm her down and keep her occupied for a half hour. Nursing two babies at the same time with no hands free to redirect a trouble-prone toddler is a risk I'm not often willing to take. I used to feel a lot of guilt each time I switched on the tv for Isabella. The tv is now mama's best friend.
Recently, Isabella has started watching Caillou on PBS. I had never heard of Caillou until my grandma bought Isabella three Caillou books, and I noticed on the back of the books that they were based on the television show. I found it on PBS, and growing sick to death of repeat episodes of the Big Red Dog decided to see if Isabella enjoyed watching it.
She did, and Caillou is now the only show she wants. The show is pretty decent as far as kids' fare goes, it's pretty PC, and Caillou has friends of different races and backgrounds. Yet when I've mentioned to friends that Caillou is one of Isabella's favorite shows, they're shocked that I let her watch it. According to at least four of them, Caillou is "too whiny" and they don't let their kids watch the show because they don't want them emulating Caillou's "Nooooo! I don't want to" or "That's not fair!". These friends don't know eachother, so it's not as if their opinions are part of a vast conspiracy against the bald four-year-old.
I haven't noticed an uptick in Isabella's obstinate behavior since she started watching Caillou. She's been kicking around those phrases for a long time. But, I'm curious: Do your kids watch Caillou? What do you think of the show?
A friend recently turned me on to our cable provider's On-Demand preschool channel, but there are so many choices and I don't have the time to wade through all of them. If you have any recommendations for toddler programs that are at least somewhat educational and won't make me want to pluck out my eyes with a fork upon the 455th viewing, please leave me a comment.
Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement on my preschool post. Isabella LOVED the preschool open house we attended on Saturday morning. The second we entered the room, she took off to play and never once looked back to see where we were. She was completely comfortable in a totally unfamiliar environment. Of course, her reaction might be different when I tell her I'm leaving, but I'm very proud of the way she reacted. Her first words as we were walking to the parking lot? "I want to go to preschool again!"