TV: A Crucial Developmental Milestone

This morning Raff woke at 6.20am. When I came downstairs the dog had weed on the floor and Paddington Bear had hung himself.

Is it time to finally take Bear to a Child Psychologist? 

Things continued in this mildly out-of-control manner as Raff sneaked off to the toilet bowl to wash his hands in it, then sprinkled a huge box of elastic bands all over the house, and Bear refused to let me cut poor Paddington down. Raff then had several tantrums about the layout of our ground floor, the general gist being that there’s too many corners and not enough straight bits for his tractor. He has recently learnt that when he yells ‘muuuum’ I will do pretty much anything to get him to stop and he has not shied away from using this information to his advantage. Currently at mealtimes he is eschewing cutlery altogether in favour of an immersive, performance based approach. And because of the stupid bastard summer holidays, for the last month there’s been no respite in the form of nursery.

But this morning there was a glimmer of hope: Milkshake on Channel 5. Now let me explain (out of sheer snobbery) that it would normally be CBeebies. Lovely, innocent, Cbeebies, whose shiny, enthusiastic presenters look like they’re safely tucked up themselves by the end of the Bedtime Hour. But CBeebies was on the blink, so Channel 5 it was. Channel 5’s presenters look like they’ve only just made it in time to the studio after a big night out. I think at one point this morning the presenter was actually gurning.

I couldn’t have cared less. Because for about three glorious minutes Raffy took on the slack-jawed, slightly stoned look of a kid slipping into a TV Trance.

Finally! I have been waiting for this for months. Waiting until the day when I can actually sit down whilst Raffy is awake. Because Raffy is a force of nature. His nursery teacher has said that in thirty years she has not seen a child like him. He is absolutely fearless, which is both my favourite and least favourite thing about him. Some days all I do is follow him around. Pulling him out of the washing machine, un-tying the electric cord he’s wrapped round his neck, stopping him jumping off the garden wall or trying to nick the Quad bike. By the time he goes to bed, all I can do is sit on the couch, drooling slightly, feeling slightly sick in front of The Real Housewives of Cheshire, (admittedly, that’s often because of the Cheshire Housewives, not just Raff).

When he’s at home, most of the time he is outside with us in the garden or farm. So I could not feel less guilty about trying very, very, hard to get him to watch telly. I am not one of those mums who feels the need to post on social media that, oh my god, they just feel so guilty that their kid watched ten minutes of Charlie and Lola. I am one of those mums who will happily plonk her kids down for two hours ten minutes to google spa days do the laundry in peace.

Bear is an experienced TV watcher. He has worked his way through the Tractor Ted cannon, CBeebies and is now into Netflix.  Heavily screened Netflix; we have learned at our peril that we are not quite ready for Dinotrux.


Bear goes to possibly one of the best nurseries in the country. Yet when he comes out with words like ‘nocturnal’ and actually knows what they mean, he usually says he’s learnt them from the telly. He has also learnt another valuable life lesson. About a year ago I put his Peppa Pig DVD in the bin because Bear had started to whinge just like Peppa. Bear watched me do it and is now very clear that if you whinge you get put in the bin.

In the last couple of weeks he’s had two lots of cousins to stay, been to Legoland, trapped moles,  stacked hay, helped his dad kill and pluck two chickens, been swimming more times that he can count and had a tea-party for eight friends. By now I think even he is glad of the televisual respite.  Because it’s not just adults who sometimes need to sit drooling and staring blankly at a screen.


And as for Raff, he’s progressing amazingly. I nearly cried when Andrew told me he’d got nearly twenty minutes, TWENTY FRICKIN MINUTES!!!! of screen time with Tractor Ted this morning. Although Andrew did place a bowl of food in front of him, as an added incentive.

Here’s to obese, telly addicted kids. Hoorah!


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