Friday, December 08, 2006

Wishful thinking


Both by luck and by design, Jo has had very little exposure to TV commercials until recently. She loves TV (Julie will vouch for the fact that "Nemo fish?" was her most commonly used phrased from 18-24 months), but she watches commercial-free channels and DVDs for the most part. However, a new infatuation with Blue (as in Clues) prompted us to start recording the show for her on a channel that does have advertising.

Wow. A whole new world opened up to her--and no one asked me for her passport either. Now, not only does she beg for "shows" constantly, she specifically requests the ones with commercials. When Jeff asked her what ads were for, she informed him that they "tell you what you want." Indeed! She "wants" everything she sees (unless it's "for boys"--which I find even more annoying and frustrating than the gimme-gimmes).

So for several weeks I used the tried-and-true tactic of saying that she could put whatever it was she was begging for on her Christmas wish list. I'd follow up by reminding her that Santa (or more likely, Grandma and Grandpa) would bring just a few requested items. After hearing this response from me repeatedly, she finally asked for pencil and paper to make her list...during a commercial break. I had to pause the TV each time a desired item was advertised, and wait while she wrote it on her list. I dictated most of the letters, but she copied some of them directly off of the TV screen. Let's just say that if I actually kept a scrapbook, this would be going in it. Oh wait, that's why I have a blog.

I have managed to talk her out of a few misguided wants. One was a doll that eats, then produces a dirty diaper. OK, so we've all had dolls that peed, but I draw the line at pretend baby doll crap. When she said she wanted it, I reminded her that she doesn't often play with the dolls she does have--and that if she wants to change dirty diapers, she could help me with the real thing. Before too long she agreed that the doll wouldn't make such a good addition to her list after all. It's a baby step (har har) toward thoughtful consumerism, but I'll take it.

(By the way, those colored-in circles between each word are her interpretation of me saying, "OK, now leave a space and the next word starts with...")

(And also, over my dead body with the Ariel Talking Salon enter this house, through the chimney or otherwise.)

12 comments:

Lady M said...

Absolutely no pretend doll crap.

A friend of mine has a little stepdaughter who made a word-for-word copy of a Barbie ad for her Christmas list. Barbie car, Barbie house, and "Barbie party goods." :)

Suzanne said...

This is fascinating. My kids never see commercials, either, except when at someone else's house. So when my son started saying he wanted Diego's animal rescue center, a toy we'd never seen in the store, I knew some nefarious commercial he'd seen at my sister's was at work.

Kate said...

Haha! This is funny - we have karma hitting us right in the butt in our house when it comes to TV commercials. My husband and I both used to work in commercial production in NYC, and now all we hear from our son who insists on watching Spongebob on Nickelodeon, is about all the toys he wants that he sees on the "commercionals". So for a while we banned the channels with "commercionals" and stuck with PBS and Noggin. Of course, he still loves Spongebob, so on Saturday mornings he gets a full dose of all the toys he "wants" (I like your husbands descriptions of commercials!).

Jenifer said...

Too funny! When we asked my daughter about a month ago (she's 2) what she wanted for Christmas, she said (without hesitation) "A dinosaur".....excuse me?..... a what?.... I have no earthly idea where this came from until I saw the commercial (on said Blues Clues and Dora channel) for the Imaginex Dinosaurs and the light bulb went off! She has stayed true to her desires and still will say she wants a dinosaur....so guess who went to Toys R Us and spent 30 bucks on the stupid thing ...yup...me.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

How absolutely cute and dismaying at the same time.

We fast-forward through the commercials, since we got our dvr. My daughter keeps saying wait, wait! when she sees something she likes -- so I see a day like this in my future!

mamatulip said...

Julia and I were watching a Christmas cartoon yesterday that was brought to us by this Amazing Allison doll. It was kind of a creepy looking doll -- it talked and I think she probably voided too, on her own little potty that is probably sold separately, and I think they were boasting that she cried real tears. I wasn't paying too much attention because all I could think of was, "Distract the girl. Do not let her see this. Distract the girl." Because there was no way that I wanted her asking me for an Amazing Allison for Christmas, you know? There are enough ignored, half-naked dollies lying around here as it is.

Jamie said...

We have Tivo and so I try, try, try my damndest to fast forward through the commercials. The holiday ones are like crack for kiddos!

mothergoosemouse said...

Ditto. Commercials are very rarely viewed in this house - mostly because the children refuse to sit through them. CJ brings me the remote control if I don't begin fast-forwarding quickly enough.

But Tacy has spotted the 12 Dancing Princesses ballet mat, and I replied that she had her chance during actual ballet lessons and she chose to lie on the floor and lick the mirror instead of dancing.

Binkytown said...

Ugh! That Ariel table is like someone threw up a bunch of Barbies. Keep it far away.

Her Bad Mother said...

Ooh. Cautionary tale, this. WB loves anything on the screen - tho' we, like you, limit it and keep it to DVDs and commercial-free stuff. BUT - she has seen the Backyardigans (oh my hell) and screeches, HOOTS, when she sees anything in a store with a Backyardigan on it. Danger, danger.

TB said...

I remember those poop dolls from the 70s. I wanted one soooooo badly and my mother would never let me have it because she saw a report where the food goes bad inside the doll, rots and attracts maggots. Nice. Hopefully they aren't still using organic material for the "food" that becomes dolly poop.

Also, that Ariel thing strikes fear into my heart because I am so afraid of all the plastic that's going to be entering my home, as much as I don't want it to.

Anonymous said...

It is scary how commercials can encourage our children to want things they do not need or in reality even want.

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