The boy loves the Despicable Me franchise.
And why not? It’s awesome. I love it, too. If I had the skill, I’d talk like Gru all day long.
(Note, Despicable Me is an Illumination Entertainment movie about a supervillain who adopts three little girls in order to advance a dastardly plan, only to have the little girls melt his cold, despicable heart. It also features a bunch of little yellow guys–his minions. The movie has a direct sequel, Despicable Me 2, and a third on the way. There is also a spin-off movie called Minions about the origins of the little yellow dudes, and several shorts.)
Anyway… the boy loves these movies. We’ve taken to calling the three available full-length movies “baby crack” because as soon as one starts, his attention is absolutely riveted to the TV.
It comes in handy.
Now… before y’all start with the comments about how bad television is for kids and whatnot, let me make it clear that we do not use the television as a babysitter. Well, not a long-term one, anyway.
There is a period in the mornings while Margaret is getting ready for work and I’m still doing my morning tasks that letting the boy revel in the adventures of Gru, Dr. Nefario, Margo, Edith, Agnes, Lucy, Silas Ramsbottom (hehe… bottom!), Dave, Kevin, Bob, Stuart, et alia is useful.
I don’t think for a moment the boy understands what’s going on, or is even invested in and of the narrative arcs. More, I think he’s attracted by the colors and shapes and sounds. Those Illumination folk really know what gets a kid’s attention. It’s a little scary how Jack’s attention gets so directed. If I need to get away for five minutes for the bathroom or to wolf down a bagel, I can pop Jack into the play saucer, put on any of the three Despicable Me movies and instant rapture.
Like I said… it’s useful.
We’ve had on other TV during this morning period. Acceptable and expected kid’s shows like Martha Speaks, Book-a-do, and Sesame Street. Meh. They just don’t measure up in any way to Despicable Me.
I’m not concerned. For one… it shows excellent taste in viewing. Second, it’s not like the kid watches a lot of TV. Outside of that one period in the morning, the boy doesn’t really watch television. Usually, the day is made up of me holding him as he inspects his toys, shakes and rattles his toys, tries to fit his toys into his mouth, mistakes my beard for a toy, tries to put my beard in his mouth, etc.
Our days are packed.
If the TV is on, it’s just on in the background because it’s what I do. Even if I’m half-watching, he’s busy using my beard as a trapeze.
Television is going to be pretty unavoidable, but I’m glad he’s starting out with some quality viewing.
Rest assured. We’ll be responsible parents and not let the TV become a surrogate for us. At the same time, I’m not going to deny the boy the absolute pleasure of Gru and friends. I’m right there with him.