Friday, February 26, 2010

Making Baby Brainy...Still Trying...

I'm so pleased that someone (Dennis) wrote a comment questioning my stance on television/DVD programing directed at babies and toddlers. This is an issue I am passionate about so I welcome debate. Dennis claims that the American Academy of Pediatrics is reconsidering their recommendation that children under two have no screen time whatsoever. If this is true, it would be an interesting change of direction. I'd like to see a link to this study--I couldn't find anything. However, if they do begin to suggest screen time for babies and toddlers, it wouldn't change my view that these products are a waste of time for this age group.

My view is based on parental observation. When my son watched these programs on two occassions, he was not responsive or interested in his surroundings. I could not engage him as he was transfixed on the screen (then again, maybe I'm just dull ;-). I find it impossible to believe that this flatened state is beneficial in any way.

Children under two (and older as well) must engage in learning that is tactile, kinetic, and emotional. A television or computer screen can provide none of these things. The only time it's suitable is when a stressed-out parent needs a break. DVDs are great when a tired parents needs a shower but play is far better for a developing mind and body. Let's call the television what it is: a babysitter. I use it in that way when I need to make dinner or an important phone call but I'm under no illusions that it will make my son smarter.

I think as children grow older, limited screen time is less harmful. As children begin to enjoy stories, programs with a plot engage them more. Videos can also provide down-time after a busy day. Again, I try to limit my son's screen time to under one hour per day. I even struggle with that sometimes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


In order to seek vengeance against me for limitations placed on Thomas the Train viewing, my son opened several drawers in the kitchen.


He looked at me, chin raised in defiance.

"What do you think of that, Mom?"

"I don't really like it," I said, trying to keep my cool.

And then, in a moment of pure rebellion, he pushed the first drawer shut with all his might. He cringed, waiting for the satisfaction of the slam. However, the previous owners of this house purchased drawers that close in a slow and controlled fashion (there is a commercial with a couple fighting and trying to slam drawers). He slammed four drawers and cringed every time, but each time the drawer closed silently.

He sighed and went to play with trucks. Triumph.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Breathing Room

Family Day. What greatness. Three day weekends are the best. They open life up a little...provide a little more space for the things that really matter. Such as...

Reading the paper. (Why do I find this sooooo hilarious?)

Laying hardwood floor. Notice the lovely blue wall colour selected by my friend, Shari.
Colouring on the windows.

Reading Mr. Men books in a living room tent. I think he's doing research.

Such a great weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Facebook Page

I decided to open a Facebook page for my Cameron's Corner column.

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The link is to the bottom left on this blog page.



Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Blue Planet Project

As you can see from my last post, I'm thinking about water lately. I started thinking about it again this morning as the dishwasher and washing machine hummed away. Then, my husband went upstairs for a shower. And none of this is acutally water we drink.

I was living in Kincardine at the time of the Walkerton Water Crisis. That was a dramatic reminder of how precious safe drinking water is to society. I had returned from Nepal the year before, a place where you can't open your mouth in the shower without suffering unspeakable gastro-intestinal issues. Suddenly, the drinking water in our little rural area was deadly all because of carelessness, pollution, and privatisation of water testing.

Recently, I found this interesting (and somewhat frightening) website. The Blue Planet Project is a Canadian-based global initiative to secure access to water as the fundamental human right it is declared to be. It works to protect the world's fresh water from privitisation.

Just received the coolest questions from my three-year old:

Where does water come from?

Something to think about.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

When we were in Kingston yesterday, I bought my final copy of The Ecologist. I've been buying this magazine regularly for the past decade or so. They are moving from a print magazine to an on-line magazine--something about conserving resources...

I've used their website over the years as well:

There are many things I've loved about this magazine: the writing, the information, the inspiration for change. This issue contains, among other things, a list of valuable resources for eco-minded folk.

One organization that stood out for me is Algalita, a US-based, non-profit independent research foundation examining the degree of plastic contamination in our oceans. They focus on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch described as "a swirling vortex of plastic soup estimated to be twice the size of Texas." Bleh.

I read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in an essay called "Plastic Ocean." Essentially, all our litter (air mattresses, tampon applicators, plastic dinosaurs) collects in this one place because of currents, etc. This organization studies the impact of this plastic (which breaks down and floats on the surface of the water) on the food chain. I think of all the plastic toys in our house and cringe.

Whatever happened to the "floatie" of Kieran's that blew away from the beach in PEI?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


There's a birthday in our house tomorrow...

Birthday preparations are serious business for a three-year-old...