Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Baby Genius

I'm so out of touch, I thought my mom was making it up when she sang the Hannah Montana song, "GNO". (Which is what we had last night. Four generations of a girls night out!) What do I know? We haven't had t.v. our entire marriage and I am past listening to Radio Disney. I'm sure the Disney Empire will begin indoctrinating my child soon anyway. Her diapers (We use disposables while on vacation, which I HATE. I miss the didees.) have Disney characters on them. She can't even see them and they are already targeting my baby.

I heard recently on the radio that a huge percentage (I forget the exact number) of babies have a Baby Einstein product in their home. They have toys and videos and music all claiming to make your baby well... a genius. I think it is hilarious! This morning I found this often quoted statement from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). The AAP policy statement reads:

"Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant care givers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged."

Again...HILARIOUS! Does it actually say that babies and toddlers have a "critical need for direct interactions with parents"? I don't think it takes a "grown up genius" much less a "Baby Genius" to figure that one out. What have we come to? It makes me sad/horrified/sick at some of the crap that is slung at poor unsuspecting parents, who I'm sure have the best interest of their child at heart, but are too dumb to recognize a cunning and brilliant marketing plan.

Now I can't bash the evil empire too much seeing as they do pay many of the bills around here (Gramps works for Disney) and we do get to go to the "Happiest Place on Earth" more often in one year than most people do in their lives, but still. He's the first to admit it. Motivated by money, they will lie to people to market a product. I don't expect anything different from them, and I don't fault them, that's what businesses do. But as a consumer I also have a choice as to where I put my dollar.

I'm not the AAP, and we make up most of our parenting up as we go along, but seriously... What happened to rocking babies in a rocking chair, letting them play in the dirt and to pick their nose? Why are we obsessed with making our kids "geniuses"? Let them be. Actually scratch that. Don't. Play with them, read to them, sing to them. As Dr. Laura recently pointed out. We have enough "smart" kids. Do you have any idea what the IQ of the Unabomber was? As a woman married to a man that ranks very high on the intelligence quotient, I can tell you that I appreciate the fact that he is respectful and kind more than the fact he's "smart".

Not to mention that ITS NOT WORKING. For all these geniuses running around how many of them have obtained an education, have intact families, can carry a job, or be contributing member of society? Maybe we should get Disney on board with marketing a product like Baby Kindness, Baby Respectful, or Baby Love Your Neighbor. But then again, it probably wouldn't sell.

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