I feel as if I’m slowly being driven mad. I knew maternity leave this time would be a different experience. Last time it was mainly my mom and I for about 10 days, taking turns with Stella, and watching whatever we wanted on TV. Famously, we watched the season whatever # premier of Dexter the day I got home from the hospital, all of us joking about exposing my newborn to a vicious yet loveable serial killer. This time, we can’t do that, and not just because I had to drop premium cable. I’ve turned into one of those moms who watches the TV selection like a hawk, not wanting my little girl to be somehow shocked, scared, or jaded too young by something she may see on the boob tube.
This, in and of itself, is a good thing. Kids should not watch too much TV, and they should not watch just anything and everything that an adult would. The problem is that when you’re locked in a house with a toddler for roughly 14 hours a day (awake), that’s a whole lot of non-adult programming. And no, we don’t leave the TV on constantly. We try to have music or quiet time daily, and sometimes we’ll turn it on some innocuous show (Seinfeld, for example) just to give the adults some kind of break.
Stella now actively requests what she wants. This is a good thing, and not too long ago, would have been something I would have dreamed of. Now? A mixed blessing. She’s tired of her old favorites the Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi. Instead, we endlessly cycle Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby videos (pronounced “bideos,” dontcha know), peppered with the occasional nod to their forerunners in our household, Baby Signing Time and Baby Babble. It’s the same thing, over and over and over again. In addition to being just irritating after 15 showings, these things have no damn plot. At least the BG and TU have a damn plot, even if it’s silly. These “bideos” are just random scenes and imagery. Educational? I guess so. Unless you’re a grown up. Then it sucks the vitality from your brain.
It doesn’t end with “bideos.” We get stuck on literary loops as well. I do not like Sam I Am either anymore after reading Green Eggs and Ham 685 times a day. Olivia has Saved the Circus a whole hell of a lot as well. And Duck? Well, he now officially Goes Potty. Again and again and again. As delighted as I am that Stella has rediscovered her love of reading and books, I do wish we could diversify a bit. I am tempted to hide some of these books.
I know in 2-3 weeks, I’ll be able to get out and we can start having short excursions away from the house. In the meantime, I just count the minutes to Stella’s bedtime or those times when Crispi or Oui-Oui (which seems to be Will’s mom’s official grandmother name) take her out and about, allowing me to be a grown up for a while.