Monday, 20 April 2015

Why I love my electronic babysitters

I'm having one of those months. You know the kind, your four year old decides this would be a perfect time to regress back to the age of 2, your boss feels that the 200 clients she manages on her own simply aren't enough, and it's up to you to figure out how to juggle the bulging diary of an overworked boss, your backside breaks yet another chair, same old thing really. But as any mum will tell you, sometimes when life keeps handing you lemon after lemon, you need a few things to save your sanity. For the housewives of the 1950's it was bottles of alcohol hidden in laundry baskets, but for me it's electronic babysitters.

These days it's a cardinal sin to admit that you allow your children free range of any electronic entertainment that their little heart desires. To the point that I actually resisted buying my daughter a children's tablet for a year, simply because I didn't want the other mothers at the store to judge me. But I'm here to tell those Judgy Mcjudgersons that they're missing the bigger picture by insisting that their children entertain themselves rather than plonking them in front of a TV screen so you can retire to your happy place for an hour or so. (or in my case go to the toilet without an audience). So today I am here as an advocate for every television that remains switched off during the day, and video console which gathers dust on weekends while children argue in their bedrooms over who can do the louder armpit farts. So below is a list of exactly why I love my electronic babysitters.

1. It's the only time children sit still
I'll get the obvious out of the way first. You turn on the television, and your children instantly become mute zombies. They also desire that you become a mute zombie, because every time you speak over the television they miss yet another glorious few seconds of Hulk and the agents of S.M.A.S.H (and let me tell you, the dialogue in some of these shows is pure gold.) When you have a child who only operates on two speeds, super fast and at the speed of light, then you will do anything you can to make them have an occasional rest, short of tying them down. The TV is the perfect solution to this problem. It also puts a stop to the million questions children ask you over the course of a day. Suddenly they don't want to know why you're calling the guy letting his dog take a dump on your nature strip horrible names, because they've got more pressing things to worry about, like how is Batman going to save the day yet again when he has no real powers. You can also rest safe in the knowledge that they won't take the choice phrases you yell through your curtains to school or kindergarten the next day because when the TV goes on, they hear nothing else. It is truly magic.

2. They learn things you don't have the energy or patience to teach them
Thanks to the wonders of children's television Miss K is gaining a wealth of knowledge I have no ability to teach her.  Waybuloo is teaching her yoga (or yogo as they call it, which is confusing around here, because that's a brand of chocolate yogurt), something which will benefit me greatly when I decide to enroll in a mummy and me yoga class one day, and my daughter can do the downward facing dog while the other children are sitting on the floor sucking on their thumbs.  Thanks to the psychedelic shows like Teletubbies and Baby Jake she's learning the dangers of doing psychotropic drugs like LSD (because you cannot tell me all of the people involved in those shows weren't tripping balls the whole time they were making that crap.) The access to the child safe videos on Miss K's Leap Pad have educated her to the awesome wonders of screaming goats, and excellent physical activities such as parkour.  I will admit however that after watching some of those videos I had to rescue her from the top of a mattress that was stacked on its side against a wall in our spare room, as she decided one viewing of these videos was enough to make her a parkour expert. (Either that or her cousin's obsession with Spiderman is really starting to rub off on her.)

3. You can subject your children to countless hours of lectures without losing your voice
This one actually bugged me at first until I realised I could use it to my advantage. Every children's show these days has an important take home message, whether it be the uplifting always be yourself, even if you are a barely evolved caveman, or the more surreal never impersonate a multi-millionaire CEO of a large corporation, as you'll end up in a wacky series of hi-jinx that will be next to impossible to explain to your parents, and may end up with you losing your computer privileges for a week. These days I take special note of all of the messages that come with Miss K's favourite shows, simply so that when she inevitably breaks one of the cardinal rules set out by her beloved TV, I can just sit back and say "Well you should have done what Elmo told you, and you wouldn't have ended up nearly cracking your own backside on the pavement." It hits home quicker than the hour long lectures I used to have to give just to drive a point home, and it comes with pretty colours and spontaneous singing, which is something I haven't attempted since my last night spent drinking butterscotch schnapps.

So people, please go easy on the electronic babysitters, they are more valuable than you realise. I think there are some of you who owe your televisions an apology, and maybe a little hug. Go ahead, I won't judge.

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