I made mental notes when I was growing up on what kind of a parent I wanted to be. I was visiting a cousin who was babysitting her neighbor’s 2 year old. My cousin held a towel in front of the baby’s face while we watched an episode of Friends.
Upon asking the obvious question, I was told that the child’s mother did not want the child to be exposed to TV until the age of 2. It hampared brain development she noted. I diligently tucked this piece of wisdom into a corner of my brain to be retrieved at a later time.
When kiddo was born this piece of information resurfaced and I was determined to not let my kiddo watch TV for as long as I could. Hey, take an idea and make it better, is my philosophy.
I would take kiddo to the library and read book after book after book. I would haul bags full of books. They would be bursting at the seams and I probably did not get as much groceries as I got books. A big shout out to the Public Library System. We read Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and were right there with the caterpillar as it metamorphosed into a beautiful butterfly. We marvelled at the colors, words and the beauty of life. Soon we graduated to Berenstain Bears and laughed and cried as sister and brother took us through many adventures. We learnt important life lessons and ate many honey toasts in celebration of mother-daughter hood. Out sprang the Rainbow Fairies from behind the bushes and we read many tales of magic and wonder. It lifted us right into the Magic Tree House and off we went chasing books like one would chase butterflies.
Very soon, kiddo was reading on her own and I did not have to do much reading to her. When she read, I read. When she asked, I answered. When she was curious, we searched. My point being that I believed in being a parent who walked the walked and talked the talk. I did not watch TV while she read. How else, does one lead by example I ask?
So much so that once when kiddo was being treated for a severe case of bug bite and had to spend a few hours in the ER, her friends Phineas and Ferb gave her company while the doctors did their magic.