superdumb supervillain: Move On Up

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Move On Up

When Roo was born, nearly four years ago (her big quad birthday is this Saturday, she was actually due on the last Leap Day!), I had some pretty strong opinions on the evil TV babysitter and, specifically, about the diabolical hegemony of Baby Einstein. I was vehemently against letting babies watch television and was certain I'd never become one of those moms. Umm, whatever.

My own personal love of all media kind of trumped my first-time-mom-snootiness within five or six months. I discovered cable preschool-focused programming like Noggin, Playhouse Disney, Sprout, etc., and I realized that there's plenty of tv that kids can actually learn from. Who knew?! Oh, wait a minute… I had totally forgotten that I learned pretty much all of my grammar and counting skills from Schoolhouse Rock way back in the seventies.

So with an open mind, we watched Baby Einstein's Baby's First Moves DVD with the whole family. It seemed more engaging than the Baby Einstein videos I remember seeing when Roo was a baby, maybe a little more briskly paced and edited along a more concise theme instead of being random images and music. I remember thinking the old videos looked a lot like cable access back in the day. (My husband is still suspicious– he thinks Disney and Viacom are THE MAN, so to speak– but even he noticed the quality jump.) I didn't feel like the kids were being Stepford-ized or patronized in that tone educational TV sometimes adopts. It reminded me of the cinema verite film clips on Sesame Street where you would see what other kids were doing. There was one about double dutch jump-roping that I thought was the coolest thing ever when I was little. My attempts at recreating those moves failed miserably, though.

At 4, Roo is older than the target audience (she's more in the Little Einsteins zone) but she got a kick out of watching babies clap and trying to get her brother to play along. Jasper, at seven months, is probably the perfect demographic for Baby Einstein, which spans roughly from birth-18 months or so. He hasn't really shown much interest in TV yet, possibly because he prefers watching his sister watch TV. He liked seing the babies clapping, especially since he has just mastered that move. He's also fascinated by the kids dancing and jumping, so I suppose he'll try to do that stuff next.

Baby's First Moves is a fun way to reconnect with your baby. Ideally, you should be playing with your child and reinforcing the concepts shown in the DVD anyway, but if you need a gentle push or a refresher on how to play, the Baby Einstein DVDs (and books and toys and peripheral products) are a handy tool.


  1. I felt the same way about television when I had my first, 17 months ago. Someone gave us a Baby Einstein video and I was at least impressed by the use of classical music (I'm a proponent of the link to brain development). If baby was wakeful when I needed to shower or prepare dinner, I would pop in the DVD and he absolutely loved it and responded verbally and physically. So, a couple of times a week, he's allowed 20 minutes max of Einstein Time and I do my best to verbally reinforce what he's seeing (he can name many of the objects himself). It can't be all bad!

  2. I just rented school house rock from the library. My kids loved it and I still remember all the songs... yes, we do learn from super why and others...I was a first time mommy (anti-tv) snob but learned that tv's ok in moderation!


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