Monday, December 21, 2009
In the wake of the recent lawsuit involving Baby Einstein/Disney vs. Some crazy lunatic of a woman with unreasonable expectations, I found myself thinking about what we parents stress about involving the development of our little ones.
Sure I buy into the theory that in order for your child to develop, one must give them proper opportunities in which to flourish. Do I think that sole opportunity comes from a video that I can purchase for $19.99 at some huge baby store selling anything and everything and expect my child to begin composing symphonies or speaking 4 languages by the time he's a year old? No.
I do think that supporting your child's develoment with different materials or classes can possibly be beneficial but also fun for your kid and (gasp!) enjoyable for you, since it provides time for you to set aside and bond with your child while you're doing it. However, I'm pretty sure such materials and groups were designed to be used as a supplement or in conjunction with a parent's loving efforts. You can't expect that by plopping your kid down in his Bumbo in front of the Sony for an hour a day, while images of sock puppets and colored bubbles dance around to the sweet sounds of Beethoven, will someday produce a 4 year old that can recite Dostoyevsky
Don't let me fool you, I consider myself an open minded mom, one with her finger on the pulse of current trends and one who is interested in all the new learning tools. I do try to expose my son to various avenues in which his personality and learning capacity will be enriched. I'm also not ashamed to admit that one of the reasons I do it is to meet other new moms that are in the current stage of life that I'm in at the moment because life (and in my case) stories of poop, are best when shared.
This also makes me guilty of being the type of Mom who owns and is currently testing the principles of a baby sign language book for the purpose of teaching my child another way to express himself and communicate with us. I have zero expectations however that he'll be standing on stage-right at the Grammy's in 5 years signing the lyrics to Lady GaGa's latest hit while the closed captioned audience looks on. But rather that he'll simply be able to squeeze his little fist open and closed indicating he wants more milk when he's hungry, rather than us wasting 10 minutes doing the: "did he pee? Is he tired/bored/overstimulated/teething etc... " rundown, when all he wants is to eat.
I also don't anticipate that my son will be running an Ashram in India someday just because we go to Mommy & Me Yoga once a week or that he'll become an avid marathon runner or an Olympic athelete just because I wheeze my way around our neighborhood with him in a jogging stroller, while I struggle to lose the rest of the baby weight brought on by 9 months of ice cream binges.
I guess my point is, perhaps the issue lies within the high expectations we place on ourselves and others.
Rather than relying on "something"to teach your child how to be a genius and suing Fortune 500 companies when you don't get your unrealistically desired results, why don't you just get on the floor and interact with your little one, have fun and be a positive role model while you try to raise a decent kid.
I don't know about anyone else but if my son grows up to be a caring person, one that is compassionate of others, respectful to everyone around him, well mannered and appreciative of what he has, as well as generous towards those that have less, I'll consider this whole growing and learning "experiment" a success for both of us. It's my hope to raise a boy that has a zest for life and takes great delight in trying new things because his parents have instilled confidence in him to support such traits.
Do I hope he'll someday go to a good college so that he'll have great opportunities in building a successful life? Of course. But at the end of the day, if he decides to skip all of that and winds up becoming the next "Rap Video of the Year" nominee, then it's my hope that he'll be proud of how hard he had to work to get there.
I also hope that if he wins, that it will be his Mother that he'll thank, not a DVD. :)