Meyer discovered the DVD player. Until recently, Ashlee and I had been impressed with Meyer's seeming disinterest in television. Aside fromt the occasional identity theft commercial or episode of SpongeBob SquarePants
, he ignored the tube entirely.
Still, through several gift-giving occasions, Meyer managed to build a small library of DVDs. From time to time, we'd play one of Meyer's DVDs—sometimes he'd even ask us to pop in The Aristocats
or Monsters, Inc.
—but nothing on the screen kept his attention. Meyer was always more interested in blocks, books, and household destruction.
They say (by "they" I mean any child development expert that has said the following) that small children are stimulated by watching other children sing. That is, videos of preschoolers singing should inspire toddlers to break into song. I thought Meyer might be an exception to the rule. He preferred to learn songs from Mr. Green, the music teacher at his playcare. At home, Meyer would ask me to play his favorite songs—"The Alphabet Song," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "You Are My Sunshine," and "If You're Happy and You Know It"—on the piano. I spent many afternoons singing and playing these three-chord standards while Meyer danced and sang along.
Then Meyer discovered Sesame Street: Kids' Favorite Songs
, one of the DVDs in his collection. Elmo, Telly, Zoe, Big Bird, and crew sing all the classic children's tunes and invite viewers to join in. Apparently, Muppets make better song leaders than daddies, so I have been replaced by technology, much like John Henry or the protagonist in a bad science-fiction movie. When Meyer discovered that Barney also leads songs, daddy-at-the-piano has gone the way of the electric typewriter, the car phone, or WebTV®: What was once novel and convenient is now unnecessary and cumbersome.
I suppose Meyer was bound to become a TV-watcher; after all, his parents certainly are. And I suppose I should be glad that Meyer prefers DVDs that are interactive—that invite him to sing, dance, and use his imagination. As a fellow lover of Muppets, I can hardly chide him for loving the furry monsters he sees on television. He could do much worse. Still, my feelings of loss are inevitable. Maybe Kate
will go through a daddy-at-the-piano phase. Maybe I can catch her in the rye before she goes over the cliff of children's television dependency.