Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Innocent and Not Yet Assimilated

It was a typically 'not quite as lazy as I'd like' Sunday morning. My daughter on the bed, watching TV and waiting for Daddy to get showered-up so we could be on our way to Grandma's. She's watching Backyardigans or something similar. Suddenly, she calls out "Daddy, something's wrong with the TV...". I peek my head into the room and ask her what the problem is. She says, 'My show keeps stopping and then ... see? There it goes again Daddy!'.

What my daughter was experiencing was a broadcast TV commercial.

Normally she's always watching TreehouseTV, CBC or PBS. None of the three show any commercials in the middle of their shows and even then, only network promotional commercials between programs (or whatever it is you call it when network advertise their own programming). In other words, my daughter hasn't seen any (or at least very very few) 'Barbie', 'Polly Pocket', 'My Little Pony', or thankfully 'Bratz' commercials in her first 4.5 years of life. That particular morning we had it tuned to CBS or NBC or some such. I explained that it was a commercial, that I thought it was annoying and she'd be better off if I switched the channel. She offered no argument. ;)

One benefit of this has been the fact that we can routinely peruse the toy aisles at the local department store without cries of "I want this" or "Please please please get me that". Sure, it won't last much longer, but I'm enjoying it while I can.

Of course my daughter already has at least a dozen Barbies (mostly gifts or fruits of my mother-in-law's penchant for Saturday morning garage sales) and she's quite familiar with all the big franchised products when we pass them in the aisle. But there isn't that intense desire for specific toys yet. If there is a desire, it is not yet strong enough to warrant whining about it - thankfully.

I had simply forgotten about the intensely focused marketing that happens on regular broadcast TV during children's programming. So long ago are the days when I drooled over Smash-Up-Derby, Stretch Armstrong or the latest and greatest Tyco-TRX racetrack setup (I was the proud owner of a Super-Duper Double Looper no less!).

I look back at those days fondly, but I have no sense (nostalgic or otherwise) that my daughter is missing anything. There's still plenty of time for her to be coaxed into buying and begging the latest and greatest things by the great advertising machine that is modern media.

For now, she is not yet assimilated. And that, is a truly wonderful thing.