In Front of the TV

We got our internet and cable installed today, which is good on so many levels.  Now, I can actually access the internet (and write) other than through my phone and we can also watch TV all day.  There have been times in the past where I’ve been hard on myself for putting Benjamin in front of the TV for major parts of the day (I started doing it when I was pregnant with Liam and just too tired to keep up with him all day).  I’ve gotten past that:  I’ve been astounded, over the past year, by how much Benjamin has actually learned from TV (most of it is even good).  (I remember the first time Benjamin pointed out a triangle to me, and I thought, “Oh, it’s great that Dan’s been working on that with him”, and then I asked, and he hadn’t been.)  But beyond that, it’s now going to be a major tool in our introduction to German.

TV intended for little kids is designed to build vocabulary through demonstration and repetition — which is exactly what we need right now.  I’ve already learned something:  the German word for red is “rot” (which I knew) but when you describe something as red, you say “rote” (or at least, “Diego” did).  Benjamin and I worked on our German counting today, as well as the names for other colors (I learned the word for yellow), how to greet people and identify yourself.  A lot of those things I had already learned, but watching kids’ TV is a great way to hear it used clearly, and practicing with your two year old is pretty low-stress.  I found some strange things, as well, like the fact that “Go, Diego, Go”, which at home is designed to teach Spanish words to native English speakers is redubbed here to teach English to native German speakers (which is weird because it’s set in South America and all the names are still Spanish, and pronounced with a Latin American Spanish accent).  (Ni Hao Kai Lan is still intended to teach Chinese, but to German speakers.)  We watched Nick, Jr., all day — which is great, except that here they cycle through the same 6 or so shows all day long . . . literally, when they go through the cycle and come back to, say, Wonder Pets, it’s the same episode of Wonder Pets that they played earlier in the day.  (Again, I guess that’s good for the repetition.)

Of course, *getting* the cable and internet installed was a bit of a challenge.  Only one of the installation guys spoke any English at all, and that was minimal.  Just explaining to them that Liam was sleeping, and asking if they could help me by being quiet, was impossible (and ineffective) and locating the cable outlet in the wall (which involved communication as well as moving furniture) was nearly impossible.  Having them explain to me how to use the cable remote with the TV remote was pretty funny (that’s pretty funny in English anyway) and when I asked the guy what was in the contract I signed at the end, he just shrugged and looked helpless.  I guess I’d better get back to Team Umizoomi or Wonder Pets.  I need practice.

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