I was home yesterday with Petunia, who was recovering from some sort of illness. Maybe croup? It is hard to tell with her, since she doesn't get the telltale "cross between a barking seal and Darth Vader" cough. She gets a fever and a sore throat, and gets clingy and cuddly and just wants to hang out in some adult's arms and watch TV.
So that's what we did, because I was tired- she hasn't let me have a good night's sleep since last Thursday- and I hurt my foot on Saturday, possibly by serving as her human walker for one hour too many, so a long walk (another favorite of hers) was not an option.
Even when she's not sick, Petunia gets more screen time than Pumpkin did at her age. I could make a lot of excuses about not wanting to have Pumpkin associate her little sister with new restrictions on her TV viewing, but the truth is that I'm just a little more laid back about it. Hey, it is a cliche for a reason.
We don't really watch much actual TV. Pumpkin watches Dora (and so does Petunia, because she's there, too), and we occasionally watch some shows on PBS Kids- Sesame Street, Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, and the show with the weird gang of word nerds who go around fixing stories. But mostly, we watch DVDs. Petunia's favorites are the Signing Time DVDs- both the original and the Baby Signing Time DVDs. So far, the only sign she knows is the one for "more", which she uses to mean "give me a cracker" as well as "more".
When she gets a little older, I suspect she'll be as enamored of the Noodlebug DVDs as her older sister was.
Pumpkin has moved on- she tolerates Signing Time and Noodlebug for her little sister, but when she gets to pick she chooses one of the Leap Frog DVDs (we have Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, and Word Caper, and I swear they've taught her more about phonics than anything else has) or one of her Chinese DVDs. She is learning Chinese with a teacher, but we find the DVDs help reinforce the vocabulary, especially since we don't speak Chinese ourselves. We have most of the available Chinese DVDs at this point- I wish someone would make more that would teach some new words. Our favorites are the two Follow Jade DVDs and the The Adventures of Walker & Ping Ping DVD (we have the one with both the Great Wall and Chinese Market stories).
I used to feel a little guilty for our use of DVDs. We certainly know plenty of people who have sworn off TV altogether. But I'm over it. The DVDs and Dora help me get dinner on the table with a minimum amount of crying. They are a great non-food reward for Pumpkin. I truly believe that they have taught Pumpkin useful things- from sign language to how to sound out words to how to count to ten in Chinese. Presumably, they will teach Petunia useful things, too. And really, it would take a hard heart to deny her a snuggle and a show when she is sick. She points at the TV, and looks at you with her big, hopeful smile, then looks back at the TV, then back at you. I should consider myself lucky that all she wants is a Signing Time DVD!
What about you? What are the favorite DVDs/shows at your house?