It’s finally happened. I made it 20 months without her, but I’ve finally embraced Peppa Pig.
As Miss Belle is baby number one, we set out with a fairly strict TV rules. Just like we did with the fairly strict healthy eating/no refined sugar, biscuits, cake rules (which have been somewhat slackened I’ll admit). Not because I wanted to walk around with a flashing neon sign saying ‘my baby doesn’t watch TV’, but just because it was some sort of parental gut feeling my husband and I had. I know lots of small children who watch TV but I’d heard various bits of advice from family and friends that made me want to limit it if I could… they shouldn’t watch any TV til they are two, “wallpaper TV” or background noise is distracting and can delay their speech, yada yada yada. One bit of advice was that it was better to watch TV together, so it was like an activity, and talk about what we were watching. Ok, let’s do that I thought. Because let’s be honest we all need a quiet 10 minutes on the sofa every now and again.
So quite a while ago we introduced Thomas the Tank Engine – feeling that because this TV programme was around years ago, it must somehow be more acceptable or better for her than all these modern cartoons. We watched it as kids so it must be OK, yes? She loves trains and that theme tune – well, it is immense. I know the words off by heart now. Miss Belle’s face lights up when she hears it. She’s not at all bothered about the boring 10 minute cartoon either side of the theme tune, in which no doubt Thomas has been asked to be a Really Useful Engine, and then either doesn’t listen, or does something stupid so as to feel silly, before realising the error of his ways. (There’s a theme there isn’t there. And I’ve spotted it. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhh.)
But now I can get stuff done!
Putting Thomas on quickly became less about sitting and watching it together, and more about me being able to chop an onion for dinner without a screaming toddler pulling on my leg shouting ‘up, UP, UP!’ at me. It’s alright when you can leave them on a play mat for a few minutes, but it’s really flipping hard to get anything done at the minute. Sometimes I just need her to sit still or at least stay at ground level when I’m holding a knife.
Bored of Thomas not being really bloody useful or entertaining, I decided it was time to branch out. So, I started recording a few episodes of Peppa Pig to see what she would think, and because I knew the episodes were shorter so hopefully she would sit and actually watch it without climbing all over the sofa and onto the windowsill. Well, I didn’t have to worry. What is it about this Pig? Does it have magical brainwashing properties? Why after two episodes has she been transfixed into a loyal Peppa Pig fan, who now regularly throughout the day shouts ‘Pig!’ and points to the TV? There must be some clever magic marketing trick there…
So now we have developed a little routine in the mornings – I can get 10 minutes to myself to get showered without her climbing into the shower with me/pull all the toiletries out of the wicker basket, or I can run downstairs and put some washing on or put my makeup on without her emptying foundation all over the bed. It’s revolutionary! Do I feel guilty that her shape sorter no longer cuts it and that Peppa Pig is my new weapon? Slightly, yes. Is it bad that if she has a full on meltdown like the other day when she wouldn’t get out of the Tesco trolley, that I ask her if she wants to go home and watch Peppa Pig? Is this bribery acceptable? Surely a couple of cartoons every day won’t hurt?
How do you feel about toddlers watching TV? Are there bigger things to worry about?
And what’s the next programme I should get ready to unleash?!