Anyone with kids will know we are mercifully programmed to forget the agony of those early months. Childbirth… teething…sleepless nights… all hell on earth when you’re in the thick of it but when you come out the other side it’s as though only the good bits ever happened.
And yet one snippet of Toddler TV is all it takes to whisk me right back to where it all began. Toddler TV can only have been invented by a sadist whose sole mission was to take already semi-insane parents and turn them into gibbering, dribbling wrecks in front of their children’s very eyes.
It’s not just the theme tunes (cue snippets of Teletubbies, Backyardigans, Baa-laa-mo-ry and D-D-D-D-D-Dora), it’s the fumbling do-gooders (Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, Bob The Builder), the whingeing divas (Peppa Pig, Angelina Ballerina – I’m so glad I have boys), the oh-so-aggravatingly-happy presenters (Mr Tumble and anyone from Channel 5) and the downright wrong (The Wiggles).
All Toddler TV should be issued with a health warning (for all), earphones (for the kids) and Valium (for Mum). You would think the fact that most of them are only about 10 minutes long would be a godsend – but this only serves to increase the pain. Forget grabbing five seconds to take a wee, make a cuppa or, god forbid, actually get a comb through your hair. Instead you spend your entire life fumbling with the controls with one hand and gagging your hysterical toddler with the other, desperately trying to get the next episode on before social services come banging on the front door to find out who’s being murdered. I’m sure some worthy, overpaid BBC children’s programming psychologist-type person decided that 10 minutes was about the limit of a toddler’s concentration, but they need to realise that a toddler’s concentration span is nearer 10 seconds – UNLESS they’re watching TV, in which case it’s about five hours, and they should darn well time their programming to match.
Toddler’s TV has its place, but thankfully no longer in my house. I’d rather eat a nappy than go back there again.