I remember waking up as a kid, carrying my favorite blanket and pillow out to the living room, and turning on morning cartoons to entertain myself while my parents slept, or showered, or whatever it was parents did at 6am in those days. My own daughter, now 4, has no such luxury. Sure, she gets up by herself, dresses herself, heads downstairs to the living room (opening and closing the not-so childproof gate behind her), and finds some form of entertainment or another until she’s ready to come wake us up, or watch me finish my shower. But the TV thing has become far too complicated.
She can turn on the TV and the satellite box (and even, I have learned, reprogram the remote in ways I cannot undo), but she can’t read yet, so she can’t scroll through the list of her favorite shows, all carefully recorded for her, or sort through the guide of shows currently on the air to get her Curious George fix. She knows how to load the DVD player, but again, the lack of reading thing gets in the way when she needs to change the input on the TV (and read the input choices) to view the movie.
It’s not that I don’t think I could train her. She’s smart enough to learn anything, I’ve realized. It’s half that I like that she has to entertain herself with coloring because the TV has become a child-proofed toy. And it’s half that the thought of my 4-year-old knowing as much (okay, more) about electronics as/than I do just rankles me.
I can still recall having my mother call me in my college dorm room to walk her through reprogramming the VCR’s clock after a power outage, and wondering why she couldn’t master this very simple task. I can just imagine the electronics that’ll come out by the time my kids are in college, and how I’ll need their help to run them. But at least, for now, I know how to operate the TV better than they do.