My son woke up this morning looking like he had slept with a giant snail. I know it's not a pretty picture, but if you can imagine, this is the polite way of saying that he has an abominable cold. For those of you keeping score at home, I think we are at number 6 or 7, depending on whether you believe the third base coach on the last one.
Nothing can inspire you to the heights of parenthood than a miserable little guy. I'll try just about anything. We read all the favorite books over and over and over again. I suspend my whole grains dogma and feed him whatever tastes good. (I mean, excuse me to all those amazing saint moms with their Omega 3s and whole grains, but when the kids are SICK? Who thinks brown rice is appetizing when they're SICK? Actually, who thinks brown rice is ever appetizing?)
So, in a stroke of inspiration, I decided to bring the little guy upstairs and sit in front of the computer. For some reason our television (which goes through our computer-- don't ask, it's a sore situation) doesn't pick up PBS very well at all. Of course, PBS is pretty much one of the only stations that can be really kid-friendly without veering off into marketing mayhem in its extreme. Sure, Sesame Street is a brand, but it's got lots of good things associated with it as well. Anyhow, I digress.
So I bring my son up, sit him on my lap and go to the Sesame Street web site. We click on a link called "Elmo's World". And no sooner does the little red critter appear and start to talk, then my son starts shrieking and crying his "get this freaky thing away from me!" cry.
Let me explain. My son is now a few months shy of two years old. He does not watch television. At all. No Sesame Street, no Wiggles, no Thomas. Nada. Zippo. Zip. Zilch.
His exposure to TV (though he's seen it occasionally at other people's houses or when we zip by the Target media department heading towards the baby-bottom department) is basically nil. Which means that he's apparently pretty freaked out when little red monsters start to talk. Then again, isn't that really a rational response? Think about it from a totally clean slate. You're this innocent in the world and you look up one day and there's a little red monster talking. Indeed, I think it probably is upsetting.
And truth be known, for as much as I myself enjoy television here and there, I think a lot of stuff on it is upsetting. And somehow, just not useful. Not interesting. Not imperative.
I was talking to my mom this morning and she had CNN on or something else and she said there was footage of an elephant going berserk trying to roll over a minivan in Hong Kong. I mean, excuse me? What is this, "When animals attack"?
And when I see how much coverage there is just in print and on the web of Anna Nicole Smith, I thank my lucky stars that I don't even have to change the channel, because I'm not watching.
Still, for as much as I love not watching TV (or rather, what I do with my time other than watching TV), there are definite moments where it makes me feel somewhat retarded. Take for instance, this FedEx package that I've been awaiting since Wednesday. "Free Upgraded Overnight Shipping!" the web site said.
Here it is friday, and I still don't have it. The web site showed the thing sitting in Indianapolis for two days (reminds me of a certain ice cream package that took a side-trip to Minneapolis for two days).
Nevermind that I have spoken with all my family in Ohio and they've told me about the superiority of the ice storm, about the fat shiny casings of ice around each tiny thumb of a branch. I'm dense. I made no connection whatsoever.
Finally, when I called customer service today, they said "Sorry, ma'am, it's the weather." Well, duh. Don't mind me. I'm living under a rock. Sometimes it's cozy warm down here, don't you know?