May 07, 2010

Convenient Experts

There's an ongoing disagreement between me and my wife about television, of all things. She's of the opinion that television is bad for our seven month-old son, whereas I think that's just plain nonsense.

The basis on which I build my side of the argument is that, after an hour-and-a-half of attempting to entertain my boy face-to-face, I'm pretty much desperate for something else that can hold his attention for awhile. And, since television--particularly the "Nick Jr" channel--seems to delight him to no end, I have a hard time finding any problem with it. Besides, watching Nick Jr may actually one day result in the boy learning some Spanish, Chinese and sign language, so he'll have surpassed all his father's communications skills by the age of five.

My wife, on the other hand, always falls back on "experts." After arguing my position until I'm out of breath, she'll always just click off the television and say "All the experts agree television is bad for babies."

I really get frustrated with my wife's "experts" argument, because it's entirely unfair. For starters, she doesn't have to name specific people, or even their professions: they're just "experts." She doesn't even have to bother to tell me where she heard or read of these experts and their position on infant television viewing. They're just experts, and they're all in agreement. How can I even begin to argue with that? I can't even cite leaked e-mails that show experts have been fudging their research numbers and subverting the work of other experts who disagree with them. It's exasperating.

What makes it all even more irritating are the uneven ways by which my wife implements her interpretation of the advice of the "experts." For example, I've noticed that television viewing is particularly bad for our son when I fall back on it after exhausting my own personal Daddy powers. However, television is perfectly permissable if my wife wants to take a ten minute shower.

Television is also okay if my wife has to conduct some business on her computer. Apparently, her understanding of the experts is that yelling "You're doing good, Honey!" from two rooms away to an infant watching "The Smurfs," is entirely acceptable and promotes infant health. However, the moment Daddy flicks on the tube in an attempt to assuage a fussy baby, I'm informed that the "experts" all agree television is rotting our child's brain as we speak.

The rate of brain rot, the experts say, accellerates in direct proportion to how much Daddies may find relaxation and entertainment from the television viewing. Television is at its worst for babies when it seems to be annoying Mommies. It's all based on very complicated research and numbers. It's science.

Personally, I'm inclined to think my wife may be spouting a bunch of bull. I know a thing or two when it comes to throwing bull. You could say I'm something of an expert.

Posted by Ryan at May 7, 2010 06:26 PM | TrackBack

good stuff... & writing
(answer: -> large cardboard box maze)
RSS link?

Posted by: dc at May 8, 2010 02:31 PM

Just want to let you know how much I appreciate a Dad's perspective. I used to think men were sucky when it came to helping with kids, and I've realized they've just given up trying - and I don't blame them.

I think you're great with your boy!

Posted by: Beth at May 9, 2010 06:06 PM
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