Sunday, September 19, 2021

My early approach to parenting depended heavily on Barney and Pooh Bear videos

Elissa and Chloe, circa 1997

Back in the days when I worked nights and took care of Elissa all day, I had a go-to set of VHS tapes I would unashamedly use to distract her while I got stuff done.

This particular parenting technique is almost as old as television itself. You give the kid some Cheerios and a freshly filled sippy cup, sit them down in front of the TV, and let them happily watch something fun and age-appropriate while you fold laundry or whatever.

We had a wide range of videos we would show toddler Elissa, but the ones in heaviest rotation were undoubtedly Barney and Winnie the Pooh.

I know a lot of parents turn their noses up at Barney because...I don't know why? Because they think they and their kids are too cool for a goofy purple dinosaur? Eh, whatever. All I know is that goofy purple dinosaur did a whole lot to reinforce the lessons we were already teaching our kid about kindness, politeness, and putting the needs of others on par with or above your own.

God forbid, huh?

As for Pooh Bear, those videos were hilarious. There was a lot of adult humor in there that would make me laugh whenever I was able to pay some attention to the TV. Tigger alone is always worth the price of admission.

There were times I would feel guilty for pawning my parental responsibilities off on the VCR, but in retrospect, it was fine. There are certain things that must get done around the house, and sometimes you need electronic assistance in getting them done while simultaneously keeping your kid from wandering off and, say, tumbling down the basement steps.

Ultimately, all of our kids turned out OK. Maybe a tad neurotic like Pooh Bear himself, but really, who among us isn't?

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