Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to watch TV with an infant

This past week I traveled to Los Angeles to spend some time with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, James, who is approximately 18 weeks old. My brother and SIL have always been big tv fans (shocker!), but since having a baby let's just say that their ability to sit down and watch a full program is somewhat....well, nonexistent. The baby is fussing, the baby needs to be changed, fed, rocked, entertained, or a myriad of other things that begin with "the baby needs..."

And that's they way things go. Once you procreate and become the caretaker for another (presumably) human life, your priorities tend to change. Making sure you keep up with the latest episode of True Blood quickly falls to the bottom of your to do list. But after observing my family's tv-watching habits over some weeks, I think I can confidently give you a helpful list to prepare you for How to Watch TV With An Infant.

Because the one you thing you need in your life is baby tips from someone with no baby. Am I right?

1.  A DVR or TVIO is an absolute must. Babies are not concerned with any fixed schedule and you will certainly not be able to sit down and watch a show live. Set a season pass and get back to pumping that breast milk.

2. The more brainless the show, the better. By the time 4 in the morning rolls around and you are on your third feeding of the night, you're not going to watch keep track of who is who on The Wire, the latest international crisis on The West Wing, or who is sleeping with who on Grey's Anatomy. You are going to turn to the favorite shows of every new mother: reality shows on Bravo like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. No brain cells required. By the way, for men this slot would probably be filled by late night ESPN or CNN. My research indicates that it is just as brainless.

3.  Things with bright colors, music, and lots of movement are your friend. So if you were thinking of giving up on Glee I suggest you stick with it. Babies won't care about the inconsistent plots or characterization; they'll just give the crying a break when Kurt dances around in a colorful outfit and sings like a girl.

4. Make sure your tv, DVDs, streaming movies, etc. have closed captions. This is a necessity, especially when you can't keeo the volume up for fear of waking the child who just FINALLY fell asleep after you spent the last hour walking around the house bouncing them and going "shhh shhh" in their ear.

5.  Don't expect to get any more than 1 hour of tv-watching in per day. Sure the kid will go down around 8:00 at night, but you are going to be so exhausted you won't make it more than halfway through Game of Thrones. Also, trying to keep all those kings straight? Not gonna happen. I mean, I have trouble and have no kids or social life to speak of. What chance does a new parent have?

Hopefully this little list will help prepare you for the reality of child rearing. Sure, there's other stuff you are supposed to do like making sure you child develops synaptic connections, social skills, and a basic ability to survive, but come on. We all know TV is the most important.

That's right, kiddo. Meet your new babysitter!

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