Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Open Letter

Dear Lady who Developed the Baby Einstein DVDs,

Thank you. Thank you.

Because of you, I can place my child in his swing in front of the television while he watches nature footage and listens to classical music and learns the names of exotic jungle animals and that Galileo is really smart. Because of you, I feel slightly less guilty about the space and time I need to take a deep breath and, oh, finish a load of laundry, or actually read a chapter in my novel. Furthermore, for whatever reason, your DVD zones my son out enough that within two minutes he's fast asleep (even after I've tried every trick in the book to get him to succumb to Morpheus).

Some people may say that you are the Anti-Christ for turning children on to television. Some people will tell you that babies have no business watching television and that their brains are turning to mush. Some people want to sue you for not making their babies smarter (despite the fact that you never promised to). However, I would like to remind you that for every parent out there, who condemns you for your programs, there are ten (or hundred) more like me.

We are mommies who want very much to do the right thing, but who are also human. And tired. We are mommies who refuse to surrender to commercial television, but know that their babies are too young for PBS. We are mommies who don't like letting their little ones watch any television (even Baby Einstein), but who know that we are better parents for having some space to ourselves, and that for whatever reason, Baby Einstein seems to work. We are mommies who do what we can to get it right, and then still feel guilty.

I write this letter as my almost seven-month old croupy baby has finally dozed off to sleep in his swing in front of Baby Monet after an afternoon of fussing and fighting and fuming.

I know he's not any smarter than he was a half hour ago after listening to the Vivaldi and seeing the seasons change before his eyes. But I know this: he's finally resting for awhile. And that's a hell of a lot more than I could do for him on his own.

With sincere gratitude,
The Contemplative Chaplain

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