Toddlers to televisions
A while back I wrote
about how we wound up with a brand new John Deere riding mower. That was an example
of how certain big purchase decisions work out between Crystal and I wherein she expresses
her disapproval and I proceed regardless. However, there is another (less contentious)
sequence of interactions that also occasionally leads us to major purchases – and
I’m going to reveal it now.
Our daughter, Cora, is getting older. I know we all are, but at eight months old her
changes with age are considerably
more pronounced than ours. For instance, she now has three bottom teeth (central
incisors P and O and lateral incisor N) and just pushed out two top teeth (central
incisors E and F) in the last week. She’s also sitting up on her own, standing up
while supporting herself (tables, etc), and most importantly for this discussion,
getting very close to crawling. It’s not unheard of for babies to crawl as early as
six months, but on average it comes around nine or ten months. Armed with this knowledge,
we knew it was time to start baby-proofing the
It’s actually not that difficult to make a typical house safe for a toddler. Sure,
they grab, pull and chew on anything they can reach, but they are extremely short
people with very little jumping ability (like an Ewok,
but with less fur and better English.) The difficult areas tend to be ones we often
overlook, such as the living room entertainment center / TV stand. There’s pretty
solid empirical evidence that most people forget about the TV issue. To demonstrate,
take a walk through your local electronics store’s home theater area. Pay attention
and you’ll notice that the vast majority of current
TV stands are completely open: front, back, and sides.
Our entertainment center wasn’t bad, except that because the side shelves (behind
glass) were too narrow to hold all of our components, we had to keep the larger ones
on the bottom. The doors on the bottom were solid wood, which infrared (IR) remote
controls do not appreciate. To address that, I had to remove the doors exposing
the receiver and DVD player at floor level – just begging to be messed with by a tiny
Would it be that horrible if Cora messed up the sound on our TV? Probably not. But
it would definitely be annoying and occasionally frustrating enough that we would
get mad at her. Plus there existed the slight possibility that she could pull something
out or onto her and cause injury. Why risk it?
The moment I realized Crystal and I both wanted a new entertainment center, my mind
went into overdrive. Logically, we would have to choose one appropriately sized for
our television. However, we also knew that our TV had been toying with death for months
and was apparently operating on borrowed time. That meant we’d have to buy an entertainment
center that not only fit well with our current TV, but would also work well with our
next TV – a nearly impossible feat given recent changes in the home entertainment
landscape. Once I consciously made this connection, I knew I had my silver bullet.
It was the knight-in-shining-argument [sic] that would enable me to convince
Crystal that, indeed, we would have to choose a new TV before we could choose a stand.
So we started shopping for both entertainment centers and TV’s, and for several
months made very little progress. Everything we liked was outside our fiscal comfort
level and as I mentioned earlier, a good majority of the entertainment centers did
not meet our standards for child resistance. I also really wanted to support our local
A/V dealer, which limited us a bit (but not too badly as Dennis has a great store
and their new showroom is outstanding.)
Then one day Crystal noticed an ad from Best Buy for interest-free financing for two
years on anything we purchased if it included a TV for $999 or above. We decided to
visit the closest store and when we did, we noticed this
stand which is beautiful and met all of our requirements. Except one, of course
… price. After some wavering and a full day’s research to select the
right TV, we eventually went back to the store to make our purchase. A lot of
money was spent committed that
evening – I’m sure far more than either of us ever imagined spending on home entertainment.
But we also got some great deals and exactly what we wanted.
The maxim I’m trying to convey is that had we not been shopping for entertainment
centers to keep Cora’s cute little hands in check, there is no way I could have successfully
argued for a high-end television to replace our existing bottom-end model. Of course,
that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have wound up with one – but this route was a great
deal more pleasant for everyone involved.