Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stay @ Home Dad hits the front page

I was interviewed about TV being used as a surrogate babysitter for children for this article in the Newark Star Ledger.

Parents refuse to pull the plug on kids' TV, study shows
For tots, electronic baby-sitters are a way of life
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Star-Ledger Staff

With an infant and a toddler at home, Stacy Theilmeier of Verona needs some help. So when she wants to take a quick shower, she turns on the television for 2 1/2-year-old Sydney. And when she wants to get 1-year-old Chloe settled in bed at night, Sydney goes off to her room to watch TV.
"I worry she watches too much TV. It's a normal kind of mom thing," said Theilmeier. "But I'm being realistic about it. I have two highly demanding
children and this frees me up to do things like showering."
The Theilmeier children's TV use is typical of American families today, according to a new study released yesterday by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found a significant number of very young children are routinely exposed to media.
Two-thirds of children 6 months to 6 years old watch some television every day, as do 40 percent of very young children (6 to 23 months). These numbers, experts say, indicate television is so much a part of family life that many parents are ignoring the American Academy of Pediatrics' advice that children ages 2 and under should not watch television at all.
"I had this sense of kids clamoring to use media and parents trying to keep their finger in the dam," said Victoria Rideout, the project's head researcher. "I found that not to be a very accurate picture in most cases."
Rideout and her colleagues conducted a similar survey three years ago that found the same high levels of TV viewing among young children. This survey looked at why and how parents and their kids watch media.

The study's results are based on telephone interviews with 1,051 parents and some focus groups. Respondents gave two main reasons why their children use media: It's educational and it serves as a baby-sitter.
At the same time, most parents (83 percent) said they try to choose age-appropriate shows. About 60 percent said they have rules about the amount of time their children can watch television.
Carlo of Montclair makes sure his sons, Giancarlo, 4, and Matteo, 16 months, watch only educational television and he tries to limit the commercials. But while he and his wife Julie(a)nne have set time limits, they tend to creep up a little higher than he'd like.
"We shoot for one hour a day, but often it's a little bit longer, if I'm making dinner," he said. Salgado estimated the boys watch one to two hours of television a day. "It's really tough. The 4-year-old is glued to the set."
The study also found that children are likely to watch more television in homes where the TV is on all or most of the time, or if they have TVs in their rooms.
High rates of TV viewing among young children have led some experts to ask the academy to alter its recommendation of "no television." A better strategy, they said, would be to create more age-appropriate, educational content.

Just weeks ago, DIRECTTV unveiled BabyFirstTV, the first cable and satellite channel to provide 24-hour programming for babies and toddlers.
At the kickoff ceremony, Edward McCabe, physician-in-chief of Mattell Children's Hospital at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the channel's advisory board, echoed the argument for better programming.
But critics argue that the long-term effects of TV are not yet known.
"There's no evidence that it (TV) is educational for children under 2," said Susan Linn, a Harvard University psychologist who heads the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, which is against marketing to children.
"What research we do have points to that it can interfere with cognitive and language development and takes children away from creative play, which is the real foundation of learning," she said. The coalition is suing both Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby, the makers of music and videos to young children, for making allegedly unfounded claims that their products are educational.
"It's important parents get honest information about the potential harm or benefit to exposing kids to screen media," she said. "It's a short-term solution with long-term implications for children's behavior, health and values."
Peggy O'Crowley covers family issues. She may be reached at or (973) 392-5810.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Monkey Style

I don't know if this is the final piece of proof to sway those who don't believe in evolution, but ...
even though while eating little ones wear bibs and sit in highchairs with big assed trays they usually manage to get 2 to 5 teaspoons of food on themselves, the chair and the floor. This being the case I always have to brush them off before I let them out of their highchairs else-wise that'll be another 3 teaspoons of food on the floor (ant season is on the way too).

So I'm picking pastina off of my toddler while listening to the radio and notice that rather than putting them on a plate on napkin for the last 90 seconds I've been popping them in my mouth monkey style!
Makes me wonder if I've ever done that before without noticing it?


One thing I find endlessly cute about my toddler, and his brother when he was a toddler, is that everytime I take off his shoes he wiggles his toes without fail.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

"Daddy I know everything"

My preschooler had his third soccer class this past week, and I'm glad to say it's been going well, much better than the first time around, the first class he tried to hide behind me and refused to participate. Now he's one of the more aggro kids and most talented kids in the class, nothing too aggro though, I wouldn't put up with that, just appropriate sports aggro.

So when ever we go to the park where the soccer class is we get ice cream before we leave. Well the Ice Cream man hasn't been around so when we get home we'll walk around the block to the store to pick up some ice cream.

Anyway he got some huge prepackaged cone today, I let him eat half of it, as I was wrapping up the left over portion he asked me for a cracker to get the sweet taste out of his mouth.
I asked who taught him that, Mommy, one of his Grandmothers? He said no, I said, "Well how do you know that," to which he answered, "Daddy I know everything."
I had a nuclear stress test yesterday, the doctor administering it seemed to think I probably didn't need it, and kept asking if I told my primary care doctor that I was having chest pains, which I didn't. My doctor said I may have Mitral Valve Prolapse, and a slightly enlarged heart, neither of which is a big deal. The "Nuclear" doc said those wouldn't really warrent a nuclear stress test, which made me think (a) is my regular doctor just being thorough (b) is he just sticking it to my insurace by having me do these fancy assed expensive tests and (c) what the fuck is the nuclear component in the stress test?
The nuke doc had a little box of radioactive material on his desk, which I meant to ask about but forgot when the treadmill got cranked up because it was taking too long for my heart to get stressed.
ANYWAY I said all of that to say this, they put a bunch of "electrode" type things on my chest which my preschooler found interesting, I told him they turned me into a robot. He's into robots lately because of the movie Robots and a SpongeBob game that has robots.
So I peel a few electrodes off of me and tell my son, "I'm going to turn you into a robot," and stick them on him and he starts freaking out and crying.
I'm like what's the matter, and he starts saying, "I don't want to be a robot, I don't want to be a robot!"
I explained I was only joking and take them off of him, five minutes later he puts some back on himself and starts pretending to be a robot.


My preschooler will turn four this month, his feet don't look like baby feet anymore it's weird.