This week has been full of trips to the bathroom, cleaning floors, couches, and car seats, lots of baths, and a whole package of diapers. Stomach bugs are the worst. OK, I can imagine worse things, like a dragon infestation or something. But stomach bugs are NO FUN. Especially when your spouse is traveling so you and your sick one are just there. Alone. With cats who poop on the floor in protest of you not cleaning the litter box every day while puking your guts out. Zero fun, Sir.
Last week, riding a surge of frustration, I decided to shut the door when I went to the bathroom. It was the first time in my 16-month old's life that I've done that when I'm home alone with her. I just wanted to pee in peace, alright?! Well, she banged on the door, screamed, cried, and then all went silent. Completely silent. In the 15.5 seconds it took me to shut the door and sit on that porcelain throne, my attempt at a peaceful trip of relief turned into a frenzied panic, "What are you doing, Victoria?!" "Victoria, where are you?!" WHY CAN'T I PEE FASTER?
I launched out of the bathroom, pants down, toilet unflushed, to find my daughter had scaled the bedside table and was milimeters from her tiny fingers pulling a huge framed picture down on herself. She had managed to get her foot stuck inside a toy, and when she saw me, started screaming bloody murder. I mean, WHAT THE?! HOW DOES SHE?!
May we all find the perfect balance between rotting our baby's brains and finding our own happy place. Good luck, Mammas.
1. Super Simple Songs - cute, cute, cute videos! This is by far and away my favorite channel to watch. Songs are well-made, catchy, and overall great. They don't crank these bad boys out as quickly as I (or my toddler) would like, but it's a fair trade off for the quality. They have adorable original songs, loveable characters, and different artistic styles. They started off to specifically teach English to second-language learners, and I really appreciate the resulting grammar control and variety of vocabulary. They have my favorite holiday songs, too. Halloween and Christmas are covered pretty well. This is also where we got our cleanup song we now sing for our bedtime routine every night.Some of Victoria's current favorites are: Who took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? and What do you Hear? and Yes, I Can and Wag your Tail. I wish I had the talent to return the favor and sing them an ode of gratitude, but instead I will just type, Thanks for being so awesome, Super Simple Songs!
2. Little Baby Bum - Arg. Little Baby Bum is often the bane of my existence. My toddler loves these videos but they more often than not drive me BONKERS. The pros: lots of ultra-traditional English songs, constant additions to the channel, my kid loves them. Cons: graphics are not as good as some of the other stations, many of their characters drive me crazy (here's lookin' at you, Itsy, Papa Bear, the astronaut Ba Ba, and that creepy Bingo dog they started with), and they use the same music tracks for multiple songs, so the obnoxiously simple melodies just sit in your head. Forever. Also, since it's a UK company, pronunciation often drives me crazy (wheels on the BOOS? No. Bus. BUS), and they completely, utterly, totally butchered Yankee Doodle. He rides into an Old West town riding a British royalty horse and then feeds the horse chocolate? I can't even... And, the kid who sings one version of "Mary had a Little Lamb" has a lisp or pretends to have a lisp. I don't fancy my kids learning that Mary is pronounced "Mawy." To be fair, I have seen improvements in their choice for singers, and they also produce a lot of American English versions these days. Anyway, rant aside (thanks for enduring) the quality of the videos and music suffers, no doubt due to the rate at which they come out with new videos. But, really. Who needs 11 versions of a terrible rendition of Wheels on the Boos?
3. Baby Signing Time - The BST videos and the later Rachel and the Treeschoolers aren't videos we watch aren't from one channel, unfortunately. You can do a search, or FuntasticTV has them in a lot of their playlists. This one has been one of my favorites because the woman who sings them can actually sing (Emmy nominated), there are a lot of educational and original songs, AND it teaches sign language to you. So many good things in these videos! They are well-made and professional, too.
6. Classical Baby - I wish there were more videos like this. Classical Baby has animated "music videos" to accompany well-known classical music. If there's one thing I don't mind having playing in the background while I'm trying to get something done, it's classical music. I would love to link to it, but Classical Baby is from HBO Kids, and they are very good at pulling their videos down when they find someone posted it on YouTube. Never fear, though. It will go missing for a while and then pop up again, posted by someone else. There are three "episodes" - The Dance Show, The Music Show, and The Poetry Show. Classical Baby is our go-to for our Sabbath and "chill" days.
7. ABC Kid TV - Perhaps not an aesthetic for everyone, I like this channel because it has videos of songs not covered by the others - American folk songs! I like being able to share songs like Skip to My Lou and She Will be Coming Down the Mountain with my kids. There's something very homey about it. They have John Jacob Jingelheimer Shmidt, and other classics that if I don't expose my children to myself, they will not be guaranteed to hear since we are out here in the Middle East - not that I couldn't live with my kids not knowing about John Jacob, but, tradition! Legacy! My kids are already at risk to not know a thing about how I grew up or the countries to which they are citizens, so every little bit counts! And the songs are done "right." For example, Take me out to the Ballgame has the classic old organ piping away. Just makes you want to go to IKEA for a hotdog and watch a game of cricket while pretending you're watching a comprehendable sport like baseball...
10. Baby First TV - There's a paid subscription app for Baby First TV that has a few free videos each month. That's how I thought to look for this YouTube channel. Overall, I am fairly neutral on these. I can't say I feel much smarter watching them, and the music is quite repetitive. I will say they are professional and polished. While I find the crayon coloring videos to be the sort of thing that is likely killing brain cells at a faster rate than other videos (if I'm going to kill my kid's brain, I at least want it to feel like I'm making her smarter), some of the videos are quite fun for Victoria. She enjoys the peekaboo acorn video, and when she was younger, she really enjoyed the Looi the Cat videos, which I didn't mind, since the music is pretty peaceful. They had a very calming effect on her. Nowadays, though, her favorites are Harry the Bunny and VocabuLarry - a parrot who learns new words. I have videoed her watching this one because she was laughing so hard. To each her own, I suppose...
*Bonus!* Here are some random choices to also check out:
American Folk Songs for children by Muffin Songs
Albi Lumiukko (Albi the Snowman) - no words, and was great for 8-13 months or so
Baby Sensory Video - this one was great for her as a newborn. Not that she was really watching TV from the first stages, but this was a good way for me to break up the day when she was really young. Music repeats, though. Bummer, dude.
Now off I go to change another nasty diaper, because as you know, moms don't get sick days.
I love herbs & spices, cats, low brass instruments, international relations, culture, traveling, writing, and most of all, my family.