As much as we would like to sometimes deny it, television is a big part of our everyday lives. While sure, too much television is never a good thing, totally unplugging it in this day and age almost seems impossible, too.
Cartoons were a huge part of my life while I was growing up (with my two main idols being Jem and She-Ra), and every week I literally could not wait for Saturday morning to come by so I can watch some of my favorite shows after eating my mom’s breakfast specialty of waffles and a scoop of ice cream (this was still the ’80s, mind you). And of course, my 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son are no different and the moment their allotted television time comes on for the day, they get super excited to watch their favorite PBS, Disney Junior and Nickelodeon programs before spending the rest of the afternoon outside to play.
And I’ll be completely honest here by saying that many of these cartoons actually have a special place in my heart, too. I can’t here a Mozart tune these days without getting teary-eyed and thinking of The Little Einsteins, which just happened to be my daughter’s first favorite program on the Disney Channel when she was just 18-months-old (where did the time go by?). But with every cartoon, the Einsteins only lasted for about six months until she became obsessed with another hit animation: Dora! Before you know it, the bilingual brownie-coiffed backpacker was plastered all over her bedroom walls and on her bed sheets and clothes, and toys, and well, I’m sure you get the picture.
By the time my daughter turned about 3, her little brother decided to switch the channel on her one day and they both accidentally discovered a whole new world: PBS! Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog became their life, as it did mine and to this day I can’t look at a monkey in a zoo without thinking that he might try to follow us home or imagine my dog growing as big as the size of my house over night.
With all of those fun-filled (and sometimes very educational) programs behind us (because nothing ever lasts more than a few months with them), my kids are now obsessed with Doc McStuffins and Team Umizoomi, meaning that they love to play pretend “doctor” while counting each other’s heartbeats and solving math problems during dinner time (How many peas can we throw on the ground before our dog tries to eat them up? Let’s find out!).
If I had it my way, they’d be watching cartoons for the rest of their lives. But like with every stage, before you know it, they’ll be totally hooked on iCarly and The Wizards of Waverly Place faster than I can say recite the Einsteins theme song. They are only so young for so long, right?