We’ve done our best to expose Stella to as much enriching material as possible. Our house is full of books. Most of her toys have some educational value (although I must confess that as she’s gotten older, some of these toys are just SO FUN that we buy some crap toys). While I know you can’t put too much pressure on a baby this young, why not provide all the raw materials needed for later? I vaguely recall one of my early blogs discussing fabrics used in infant clothing/linens in which you ‘d see friendly hippos, tigers, lions, monkeys, and…..cows and/or lambs. Hello? Ecosystems, anyone?
So, while she doesn’t get it yet, I (and I am pretty sure Will) always provide corrections whenever we’re just vegging out to the tube or even reading a kid’s book. For instance, Yo Gabba Gabba has lots of good ideas and lessons and then turns it around with an animated song stating that “Bears/Gorillas Are Your Friend.” Not. I always explain that a real gorilla would probably rip your arm off and beat you with it whereas a bear would just eat your face off. The science geek in me blossoms every night when we read “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” when I point out that Dimetrodon was not, in fact, a dinosaur, and was extinct long before the Triassic. I also have to admit that I run through the Geologic Time Scale every night when we’re eating dinner in our high chair. I’m pathetic. I do the ABC Song, too.
One thing that does mystify me is the juxtaposition of educational material with utter hogwash. As I’ve written a billion times now, Bubble Guppies is a huge deal at my house. Overall, it’s a cute cartoon with non-obnoxious ethnic variation, music, and lessons on things like the solar system (it does pain me that Pluto is no longer included as a planet), music, seasons, etc… But then they have these really goofy idiosyncrasies, such as scenes where the mermaid children (presumably underwater, since they’re hovering with an occasional bubble floating by) are cattle herding in the desert or playing with animals on the moon; the guppies will have space helmets on (space = anoxic. Check!) whereas the “moon bear” and “moon raccoon” do not. So which is more ridiculous? The fact that there are merchildren? That there are bears and raccoons on the moon? Or the fact that the latter do not apparently require oxygen to live? And since when are pirates loveable characters for small children? Did they not attack/rape/pillage/burn/steal?
I suppose I’m a purist. If a cartoon is for fun, let the anvils fly.