I have no idea what's going on. I meet these parents, and inevitably someone will ask me, "Have you got the Baby Einstein DVD's yet?" And I say no, and they grab my arm with vigor and insist that I go out and get them, like, immediately.
And when I ask why, they whisper conspiratorially. "They love them. It's just music and dancing bears and bright colors, but the baby will just sit for as long as the DVD runs, sometimes twice. I can actually get the laundry done while they sit in front of the tv, laughing and babbling at the screen."
Now maybe this sounds reasonable to them, but to me this seems suspect at best. As far as I understand it, we're all supposed to educate their little minds, not "re-educate" them, and this bunch of dancing bears could very well be delivering the messages of Jim Jones or Chairman Mao and the parents would be none the wiser as they add the fabric softener to their whites. Maybe a subversive group has embedded subliminal messages in certain frequencies that only babies can understand, creating a little army of rogue saboteurs. Did they ever think of that? It could happen...
What's so odd about the insistence of these parents to get me to buy these DVD's is that they are generally these super-parents: making homemade baby food (organically grown vegetables, of course), cloth diapers, co-sleepers. And I am always a bit taken aback when they speak so passionately for television, which last I checked was recommended in extremely small doses for young children.
At it's root, this seems more like a tool for grown-ups to get a little downtime, which I understand. But don't call it an educational tool for the tot when really it's an escape tool for the grown-up. It's okay to need a break, but don't gloss up cotton candy with dodgy nutritional facts. It's still just candy floss when you get down to it.