I Want DJ Lance Rock's Hat

Posted by: , September 15, 2010 in 9:21 am

DJ LanceAt some point before my daughter was born, I had read that watching TV before the age of two can be detrimental to a child’s development. It had something to do with being able to tell the difference between 2D and 3D images…or something to that effect. So, being optimistically irrational (or is it irrationally optimistic?) new parents, we vowed to keep TV from our daughter’s eyes until she was two.
For the last 16 months, we’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to that vow. Actually, our daughter made it easy on us, because she never really showed any interest in the TV.

But, I’m the kind of person who hates silence, so even if I’m not watching TV I like to have it on for the background noise. Just because my daughter wasn’t watching TV, didn’t mean that I couldn’t, right? So, often when I was playing with my daughter in a room with the TV in it, I would have it on in the background.

At first I would watch whatever I wanted, trashy reality shows included, but as my daughter got older I felt like I should at least have something educational on in the background, so I’d switch the channel to Animal Planet, Discovery, or the Science Channel while she was in the room.

The other day, while perusing the channels for some background noise, I found the Sprout channel (an offshoot of Nickelodeon geared towards preschoolers) and a show called Yo Gabba Gabba.

Yo Gabba Gabba is a show that’s as crazy as the name implies, filled with odd characters like the giant red cyclops “Moono”, children that like to dance, and catchy songs about everything from brushing your teeth to not biting your friends, all lead by a dancing man in a fluffy orange hat, DJ Lance Rock. However, the very core of the show is all about teaching preschoolers positive lessons, while keeping them entertained with songs and skits that portray those lessons in a very basic and repetitive manner.

For the most part, my daughter has always been pretty oblivious to the TV’s presence, but when we first turned on Yo Gabba Gabba, and the opening song started playing, she stopped dead in her tracks, turned around and walked toward the TV, and started dancing and laughing. It was like watching a moth turn and fly directly into a bug zapper that had just been turned on…only with less zapping and more dancing.

It was so cute to watch, that I couldn’t pull her away from it, but after the opening sequence ended she lost interest and walked away on her own. My wife and I thought it was so funny that when the next song came on we pointed at the TV and told our daughter to watch; which she did and started dancing like she did before.

The vow was broken.

Not only had the vow been broken, but I liked the show so much that I added to our DVR’s recording list, and now we have a permanent rotation of five episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba for easy viewing, on demand.

Actually, to say that I “like” the show is probably an understatement, since my daughter rarely watched more than the opening sequence, and I usually find myself watching the rest of the show alone as she plays with her toys. In fact, the other day I actually found myself getting excited that Jack Black was the special guest on one episode, and I chose to watch that episode before any of the other ones that had been recorded.

So, maybe I went against my word and let my daughter watch TV before she was two, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my sixteen months of parenthood, it’s that many of the thoughts and opinions that I formed before I was a parent about what the “right” thing to do is, have changed and evolved as my daughter has grown and developed.

In reality, my original vow has only been altered, not broken. I still don’t plan on plopping my daughter down in front of the TV for hours at a time, and I always try to emphasize the activity involved with the songs of Yo Gabba Gabba by dancing and singing with her.

If a TV show can teach my daughter how to make picking up her toys fun, how can I protest?


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