Idiot Box

Everybody says too much TV makes your kids dumb. I’m going to start limiting David’s TV time, because it’s making him too smart. And making me look dumb.

We are in the car when David says, “Mommie, this box is recyclable.” He’s eating a snack in the backseat.

“Maybe. Some plastic can be recycled.”

“It says it’s recyclable. See these arrows? That means you can recycle it.”

“Where did you learn that?” I ask surprised. This kid can’t even read yet, and he knows the symbol for recycling?

“TV. Mommy, do we recycle?”

“Um, no — well — uh, we do recycle our pop bottles,” I search for answers to appease him.

“You should recycle everything to keep the earth clean so that there isn’t trash everywhere.”

“Did you hear that on TV too?”

“Yep. So are you going to recycle all our trash now?”

I try to explain to David that we live so far out in the middle of nowhere that there is no collection site to take our recycling. It’s true, but I can’t shake the feeling of guilt that’s starting to wash over me. “My kid thinks I’m a slacker because we don’t recycle,” I think to myself.

“If we don’t recycle my world will get dirty. They should make it easy to recycle.”

“Yes David, yes they should.”

Environmentalism isn’t the only thing David’s learned from TV. One day after playing outside I told him to wash his hands. This was in the fall when the Swine Flu scare was in full swing.

“TV said your hands get germs crawling all over them, and you shouldn’t touch your eyes, or your mouth, or your nose because you’ll get sick. You should wash your hands all the time, and you’re supposed to wash them for 20 minutes,” David tells me as he lathers up.

“That’s a long time to wash your hands.”

“Yeah, so we don’t all get sick. And you could even die.”

“Hmmm, well you certainly won’t get sick and die if you wash your hands for 20 minutes several times a day. But you might need to use some hand cream. David, I think they said 20 seconds.”

“Nope. It was 20 minutes. Do you wash your hand for 20 minutes mommy?”

“No. I don’t wash them quite that long.”

“You’re going to die.”

After a trip to the ER for a busted lip that wouldn’t stop bleeding I had this conversation with David.

“Why did that doctor sound funny when he talked?”

“He just had an accent. I think he must be from Europe. People who are from different parts of the world sound different when they speak.”

“You shouldn’t say he’s different Mommy. That’s not nice. It’s OK if we’re not all the same. It doesn’t matter. Some people don’t look like us, but it’s OK. We’re supposed to like them anyway.”

“Let me guess. You heard that on TV?”

“Uh-huh.”