Another study out today about the cognitive uselessness of educational television for infants:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK. This is not a huge revelation, really, but I am sure that the Baby Einstein brand and their many imitators are irritated, as are parents. Does anyone really expect their baby will become smarter because they watch a 20-minute DVD with pictures of animals and puppets and a ball dropping over and over? Well, I hope not. Let us get to the real issue: there isn’t a parent alive who doesn’t need A DAMN BREAK. Listen to this Harvard tool:

"The best thing for our kids is to provide them with stimulus that we know is positive for their brain development," (pediatrician Dr. Michael) Rich said. He suggested activities like reading, singing, interacting and stacking blocks to help children.

Well, duh, sir, DUH. Parents do this naturally, over and over and over. And may I suggest that YOU do that every single day, every moment that baby is awake. And when the baby sleeps, feel free to:
Pay bills
Return phone calls/email
Clean your house
Cook with fire
Clean up the dog poop
Any other activity that precludes having a noisy small being attached to it.

Oh, are you having some difficulty getting all that done in a couple hours per day? OHHHHH. ASS.

TV is a babysitter, yes it is. Parents need babysitters. Should your baby be plopped in front of Nick Jr. every morning for five hours? No. Should you feel bad about an episode of Dora The Explorer engaging your child so you can competently argue a mistake on a bill with the idiots from Comcast while Customer Service is open? NO.

I swear.

People forget that shit just has to get done. I don’t know what the hell my parents thought I was doing, but no one was monitoring my TV intake, much less stacking blocks with me, and I’m a friggin’ genius. CALM DOWN, PEOPLE. I’m not afraid of Sesame Street, and you should not be either. I’m not really sure about the whole Bert and Ernie relationship, though.

With babies, you are pretty much just moving them from station to station: holding, rocking, baby swing, bouncy chair, car seat, free crawl/roll, front pack, back pack, wagon, stroller, crib, repeat until walking and then GATE EVERYTHING OFF. FACT: pre-TV moms pawned babies off on older kids, crabby Grandma, or left them in cribs for HOURS. This super-focus on providing children with super-enriched environments, supposedly to produce the superior child that will above-average his or her way to Harvard to do another study like this one, is just another cultural phase. It is an outgrowth of the whole “greed is good” period, where your child just becomes another measurement of your success.

Sigh. I will tell you what to do.

Love your baby. Smile at him, pick him up, hold him and tell him a joke he cannot possibly understand. Look him in the eye and ask him what he thinks about things, and pay attention to whatever his response is, seriously. Never talk down to him. Show him how things work. Let him make a mess. Have books around your house for him, and you, and let him see you reading and wonder what you are doing. Let him have some quiet discovery time to push over blocks or eat his own toes and think about that. Don’t entertain him every moment, let him figure out how to spend some time entertaining himself. And when you need to make that damn Comcast call or just sit for a moment and have a cup of coffee, plop Junior in front of the TV for a few minutes, guilt-free. He’s gonna be fine, because you are going to finish your stuff and be ready to see him with a smile and open arms again.

Common sense, moderation in everything, and exploring and respecting the wonderful and natural bond between you and the baby you brought on board.

Study THAT, Harvard, you ding dongs.