In a couple of months, my son will turn twenty. Two decades into his life, I think, is a fair time to make a few assertions about his progress. He has yet to discover a unified field theory. He can order a burrito with the smidgen of Spanish that he retained from middle school. At family gatherings when we suggest he favor us with a little tune on the piano, he smirks and shrugs. We have to be kidding, right?
I blame Baby Einstein. Way back before the turn of the century, my wife and I bought their VHS cassette and slapped it in our home video system and plopped our infant son down in front of the television with the expressed purpose of firing synapses. We were certain that lolling around on the floor in front of a flurry of different languages and images and music would generate some sort of uber-child. Japanese? No problem. The Cartesian Coordinate System? It would become the stuff of his dreams. We were priming his brain pump for his eventual entrance to public school, where we were certain that his rapid growth and accelerated learning potential would make him the love of every teacher and the envy of every chagrined classmate.
Well, guess what? Baby Einstein didn't fix him. Maybe we didn't use it enough or in the right way, but I'm pretty sure our disappointments will be mitigated by a big fat lawsuit that will help ameliorate our expectations. That six-figure starting salary that he was going to be making starting just after his seventeenth birthday never came to pass, and I continue to hold down a day job to pay for his college education. Einstein? Please.
Or maybe it has something to do with the hours of Road Runner cartoons we watched together when Baby Einstein wasn't in the VCR. Or the time I left my baby boy sitting in the middle of our bed while I went to take a shower, Bachman Turner Overdrive blaring on the stereo. When I returned, he was still sitting in the same place, head bobbing vigorously to the music.Maybe a little more Mozart would have helped. Or maybe we could have turned off the television and read poetry together.
Or maybe I should take a moment to sing the praises of my son who continues to find his way in this cockamamie world in spite of all his parents' best intentions and hopes. The Road Runner cartoons did their work.