Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wheel of Fortune: Rae's Gateway to Television

Before Rae was born, I was pretty adamant that her television viewing would be pretty limited and for the most part a non-exsistent part of her life for at least the first two or three years. I'll give you seasoned parents out there a minute to stop laughing at me...

...<drumming fingers on desktop>...

Are you done yet? No? Okay, take another minute to collect yourselves.


About three months after we brought Rae home, I noticed that she liked watching and listening to the giant wheel spin on Wheel of Fortune. She became alert, attentive, and even smiled. I don't know if I gave it much thought at the time, but I knew that colorful wheel was one small key that seemed to unlock something in her. Plus, since it was somewhat educational (work with me here) I felt there was no harm in indulging her in this new interest. Wheel of Fortune was our gateway drug. Pretty soon we were watching Jeopardy (I think it was the be-boops of the board being filled in)  and saw similar results so we indulged a little more. But I tried to resist indulging her during the day. We mostly listened to music (Jazz, Classical, and the Blues) unless I was nursing or she was napping then I watched shows Daddy didn't really care for like Top Chef or House Hunters. No harm, no foul. My plan was intact (sorta). Then "IT" happened...

Rae clutching Elmo, Christmas 2011
She saw Elmo. I can't even remember when she first laid eyes on the jolly red ball of fur, but she LOVED him. She smiled, cooed, baby giggled, and was so animated that I just HAD to let her watch Elmo. So, our new routine included one hour for Sesame Street. That was it! I put my foot down at Sesame Street...not for long though. Before I knew it we were watching Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, Cat in the Hat, Dinosaur Train, and Super Why. But enough was enough! The line has been drawn! She could watch PBS and that's it...very minimal commercials, education focused programming, and it wasn't so obnoxious that I wanted to gouge my eyes out (think Barney...gag!). No Nickelodeon! No Disney! Period!! (hahaha, yeah right!)

PBS eventually became a bit dull (for both of us) after we watched some of the same episodes for the one hundredth time we I had to find something else. I went over to the dark side...Disney Jr! To my surprise...I LOVE Disney Jr (way more than Nickelodeon*) and it is on more often than PBS at this point. Rae LOVES Disney Jr, which is way more important than my loving it. Even her Dad will sit and watch an episode of Sofia the First or Little Einsteins (her all time favorite) that he has never seen before and Rae isn't even be in the room. I tease him about it (usually because I've seen it four or five times already and want to watch grown up programming like Criminal Minds or Perception).

We quickly slid down this slippery slope that I never intended to be on in the first place! Where were the brakes to this cartoon madness? How did we end up here?? How do we stop it???

Rae hugging Doc McStuffins, Christmas 2012
Looking back I can tell you exactly how we ended up watching cartoons as much as we do and it is a very simple answer. Rae was animated. That's it. That is all it took for me to venture onto that slippery slope. My daughter smiled, laughed, bumped her butt on the floor, shook her arms, and showed more emotion during a couple of cartoons then she did before we allowed her to watch them. The shows engage her. Entertain her. Calm her. Teach her...of this I have no doubt. I have no intention of putting the brakes on at this point. We have fully embraced the cartoon madness because it brought something out in her that, until the first spin of that giant wheel of color, we never really saw. Her smiles and giggles are a drug for us and if that means we watch endless hours of Octonauts, Doc McStuffins, or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood then so be it...

*Just to clarify: I don't really dislike Nickelodeon that much, but I have to draw the line somewhere. We don't let her watch SpongeBob (or shows like it) due to overstimulation. Sure she may laugh, but it is a bit much for her to process at times and she becomes anxious.

**We spoke with her doctors about the TV shows she watches and how often and we were told not to worry about it since she has very limited mobility. Plus, I try to work on her therapy positions and exercises during her programs because she is more distracted and less likely to fight me.

In the video, she was watching The Rescuers Down Under by Disney.
This was taken around Christmas of 2012 and those giggles and grins are worth every frame. 

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