I have a library of Baby Einstein videos that were given to me by my aunt. When Ikaika was younger, he watched them when we visited my parents and occasionally when we were at home, but he never really "got into" them. I even thought about passing the videos along now that he's older.
But the other day, when Koa was fussy and I was looking for a distraction, I popped a Baby E DVD in and, to my surprise, Ikaika was thrilled! He was totally captivated. Lately, he's been requesting Baby Einstein in the evenings and I'm all too happy to oblige him. In fact, as I type this, Koa and Ikaika are sitting quietly in the living room, snuggled under blankets, watching Baby Neptune (the one about water).
It surprises me that my 2 1/2 year old would be so into these videos. There's no plot, no dialogue. It's just nice music with colorful pictures. At first, I thought this was strange but I'm starting to grasp how great this is.
We've been watching "kids movies" and "kids shows" with Ikaika. There are plots, characters, jokes, etc. He likes Cars and Toy Story and the Incredibles. But when he's watching them, I can't help but notice how he's absorbing the behaviors, dialogues, and values of these movies - whether I like them or not. My friend doesn't let her kids watch the Incredibles because of the suicide attempt in the beginning ("suicide should not be in my 5 year olds vocabulary") and I was perturbed by Babe, where I felt like the message it was sending about domestic violence was totally not okay.
My 2 year old is old enough to hear and repeat. He's old enough to absorb and act out. But he's not old enough to process, to understand, to filter the good from the bad. I can't be so naive to think that he's enjoying the action/animation while overlooking the violence and/or subtle moral undertones. Even TV shows are sometimes annoyingly influential.
So, we still watch PBS, Disney Jr., Go Diego Go, etc. We watch Disney movies together on family movie night. I'm not going to die on this mountain. But, I'm happy to let him watch morally neutral Baby Einstein and, frankly, I hope it holds his interest for years to come!