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Author Topic: Disney "Recalls" Baby Einstein
Phanto
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Story. My sister actually did use Baby Einstein with her kids - hopefully it wasn't too bad!
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katharina
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My friend was having her 1-year-old watch a Baby Einstein video five years ago, and she asked my opinion of them. I had just read the APA recommendation of no TV at all for babies under 2, and I told her this.

She didn't speak to me for a week.

I am NOT going to bring this to her attention, but a weensy part of me hopes she sees it and feels bad. [Razz]

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TomDavidson
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To be perfectly honest, I think anyone who cares much about this issue cares too much. Kids are pretty hard to damage.
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Christine
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Whatever.

I don't show my kids Baby Einstein videos because I find them utterly annoying and because their claims of educational value offended my intelligence.

On the other hand, I do let my kids watch some TV (even my 17-month-old) and think parents get too uptight about these things in BOTH directions.

Actually, when I first had my son (almost 4), I drove myself crazy trying to do everything perfectly, including no TV. Stressed me out trying to figure out what to do with the kid all day, especially when I needed to cook or clean. I figure we were both better off when I started letting him watch TV part of the day (about the time he turned 1).

Or what Tom said: kids aren't going to get damaged that easily. Chill. [Smile]

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scifibum
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Sometimes I wonder whether all the fretting over attention span problems will be rendered irrelevant if we can just figure out the right modifications to educational techniques.

This seems interesting.

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Sterling
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In short, a little TV is probably not going to hurt anything, but if your child is seeing more TV than active time spent with you, something is seriously wrong. Now go play peek-a-boo, dagnabbit.
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Wendybird
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I don't think the video is the problem in and of itself. Its those parents who allow the video watching to be a substitute for playing with and spending time with their children. Its the extreme of allowing it all the time not the video itself. I actually liked them because I liked listening to the classical music. My youngest would watch for a little while then play while listening to the music.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
To be perfectly honest, I think anyone who cares much about this issue cares too much. Kids are pretty hard to damage.
Indeed.

Those videos were lifesavers when we were moving with one baby (so there were no older siblings to play with him), and for a few cross-country car trips.

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Sala
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Scifibum, that link you gave really WAS interesting! Thanks. [Smile]
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DDDaysh
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I bought one once, and my son HATED it. Unfortunately I did plug him into "Elmo" quite frequently when he was a young toddler, and he DOES have attention problems.

It's probably just a coincidence, but I did cut TV mostly out of our house. On the weekends (and very occasionally during the week) he is allowed to watch one video per day. (Of course, when he stays with Grandma, he gorges on SpongeBob!).

It hasn't exactly cured his attention span problem, but I hope it may have kept it from getting worse. However, the REAL advantage I've found to cutting out TV is that he spends the time doing other things. At first when we cut the TV off, he begged for it ALL THE TIME! Now, he only asks occasionally, and usually he hasn't used up his "one-a-day" quota so I can easily say yes. Instead of TV, he plays... and I LOVE to listen to him play. His games are so much fun to listen in on! Most days, even on weekends, he doesn't bother to watch his one video a day.

I'm not saying all TV is bad, and certainly my internet habit is just as destructive to my life as my coworkers addiction to Reality TV is to hers. However, I definitely feel that turning off the TV was a good move for my family, and I don't feel like I'm being some sort of Nazi parent for doing it. When the TV was on, I was relying on it as a crutch too much. More than that, it was tempting my child away from activities that are both more fun, and more mentally and physically stimulating.

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PSI Teleport
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The TV is on all Saturday in our house, but the kids are mostly using it to play Super Mario. It doesn't come on at all the other six days of the week and my kids don't bother asking because I'm inflexible about that.

As far as Baby Einstein goes, the only woman I knew who had more than one of them used them to excess. She was a kindergarten teacher and obsessed with giving her six-month-old a head start, and those videos were on all day at her house, every day. I know this because she and I lived in two halves of an L-shaped duplex, and I could see her TV from my living room window. I don't know if it's related, but her son was a nightmare to babysit. Cried for hours and refused to sleep. Certainly seems like it could have been caused by over-stimulation or something similar, but I have no proof of that. All I know is that every time I popped over, the boy was in a high chair, facing the TV. Looking back on it, I wonder if that falls under neglect.

But, yeah. Obviously the videos weren't the problem, so much as the abuse of them. I'll freely admit that I glued my infant son to Kipper the Dog when I needed a shower.

DDD: You know, my parents do the same thing when they have my kids, which is only about once every two years because they live so far away. They let my kids watch Sponge Bob or whatever all day. And it makes me angry, actually. I mean, don't my parents want to interact with their grandchildren? My husband's mother never does that; she actually plays games and does crafts with them and lets them bake cookies.

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Teshi
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quote:
Looking back on it, I wonder if that falls under neglect.
Of course it does.

And Kids who watch large amounts of TV are damaged insofar as they are not learning what they could be learning when they are interacting with the real world. We, as adults, regarding watching most TV as "vegging" and we regard putting our children at this crucial time in their mental development to be okay? TV is dead-time, not-learning-anything time, brain-off time. A small bit of TV familiarizes your child with the concept of TV, but anymore is simply pressing the "off" switch on your child's learning brain.

Children of that age (of most ages-- of ANY age; we all know this) will be better off for doing things in the real world. This does not mean always being with Mum or Dad or Grandma hovering over them while they do math problems. This means spending a significant portion of the day engaged in play (imaginative, constructive, alone, with a friend or two, exploratory, outside, inside) or other activities (such as helping with cooking or folding laundry, reading and being read to, going to the shops, running other errands, dancing, listening to music and singing, going out for walks, stopping to examine plants...)

That said, of course watching TV for half an hour once every couple of days while Mum or Dad does something absolutely vital is not going to destroy your child's intelligence, attention span or what not.

quote:
It's probably just a coincidence
I wouldn't be so sure. In my experience with children there is at the very least some connection between time spent on passive activity and attention span. It makes perfect sense: when I child must force himself to be engaged in, as you say, playing, he is practicing his attention span.

All small children have a short attention span-- some more than others. Girls are better at focusing on things they don't enjoy than boys, for example. Their mental development will naturally help them with a small portion of this. The rest is practice, just like any skill. This has now been shown to be true scientifically-- read Malcolm Gladstone. Your child may not be Einstein, but he or she can be pretty good at anything he or she works at.

TV is so captivating, as we know, that children don't have to practice anything. They just watch. I can almost guarantee that your child is better off from playing than from watching TV.

I'm not surprised Baby Einstein has been recalled and I'm glad it has. Your child will grow in intelligence and social skills with real interaction and real practice in the real world. I guarantee that when face with fractions in grade three your child will understand them better if he or she has done cooking, or spent time discussing how to divide pizza. I can guarantee he or she will be a better reader if he or she has been read to and practice his or her reading at home. I can guarantee he or she will be better at math if you have talked about prices and adding already, about multiplication and division of cookies between family members.

Most importantly you must involve them, not just model for them. Modelling would be: "okay, so there are fifteen cookies, three people... that's five each." Involving/demonstrating would be: "We made 15 cookies and there are three people in the house. Lets put them into three groups to see how many each person is going to get."

It's not pen-to-paper but it's Math. It's getting that idea fixed in a kinetic, spatial memory-- which we all agree as adults is the best way to learn anything. When the same question comes up in grade two, the child will have some ideas of what to do, which is half the battle! They may even know the answer.

This is why TV is crap for teaching your child in much of any meaningful way. Your child does not have to think, even when they are being 'taught' things. TV is very hard to remember compared to actual concrete events.

Turning off the TV until age 3 or 4 and spending time to think about what your child is doing with his or her brain at this time will not make your child Einstein. Your child still has a brain that is likely not one of a genius. However, your child does have a brain, at birth, that is likely capable of having them be quite an intelligent, thinking creature (again, Malcolm Gladstone). You can help to give your child a better attention span. You can help them to understand simple concepts long before they even know the words for them. You can work on things that they struggle with much better than any teacher who is dealing with 20 or more children can do.

When you let your child's attention span go, you are giving that responsibility to some poor sod of a teacher. Your child may not have been born with a great attention span, or great at writing, or great at things like speaking and socializing but you alone have the chance to work against any genetic dispositions he or she has to try and give him or her the best possible chance in life.

We know what TV is... it is vegetation. We know what boredom is... it is vegetation. We know that "we have to do things before we remember them" and yet we don't necessarily apply this to our children, who don't have the skills to read yet.

It doesn't seem tremendously logical to me.

[ October 28, 2009, 12:36 PM: Message edited by: Teshi ]

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Luna 9
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Uh, if you have decided to take the trouble of successfully raising a human child, you can't plant it in front of a TV screen all day while sitting in the corner, popping pills, crying that you wish you'd graduated high school. (Ha ha, aren't I dark.)

It's not the same as raising a puppy. A stupid puppy will be stupid. Oh well, no harm done, we'll use it as a rug when it wanders into the street someday. No. Stupid humans are dangerous to the world. They can cause death/injury. Probably...

BUT
If you take this too far, you will be a bad parent. Restricting your kid's TV time? You sick dog turd. (I'd use profanity, but there are moderators about!)
Anyways, let your kids be kids! Let them have a laptop, and a TV, like me! I turned out great! Probably...
Uh, anyways, you need to let your kids have electronics. They are FUN. No more of that auto-bot I-can-watch-my-kid's-computer crap. No more robotic parental controls crap that restricts me from watching scary movies on the TV but not really because I figured out the password.


YEAH. I MIGHT START A TOPIC OFF THIS.

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rivka
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My kids watch no TV. Their computer use is restricted.

And they don't feel the need to call people names as you just did. In fact, I feel safe saying they're turning out better than many kids with unlimited access to TV and internet.

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Kwea
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Thank you for showing how our children will turn out if we raise tehm this way. [Wink]
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Brinestone
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I knew TV was bad for Lego, but he's kind of hard to keep busy without it, and I do need to get dishes/laundry/cleaning done sometime, so I let him watch some. And then some became more than two hours a day more often than I would like.

Before we moved to a place with free cable in June 2008, he hardly ever watched any, and didn't seem to like it much when he did. I know we can do the almost-no-TV thing because we've done it before.

This thread has been the catalyst to get me to unplug the cable from our TV. We can plug it back in sometimes if there's something we really want to watch, and I'm sure the next week will be really hard for everyone, but I also know we'll find more joy, togetherness, and learning by doing this than we'll lose. I'm posting this here so that I'll be accountable to someone, so that I can't just plug it back in when I get fed up tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

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rivka
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Good luck!
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Luna 9
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Yeah my family is pretty unattached. I usually spend over 6 hours on the computer. As well as my parents.

BUT I'M A GOOD KID!

I'm in advanced classes. Get straight As. Don't get yelled at by my teachers. I'm a -moderately- good kid!

"And they don't feel the need to call people names as you just did."
People have been called worse things than dog turd. I'VE been called worse things than dog turd. I was just fooling around, and was not talking DIRECTLY to anyone. In fact, 90 percent of what I ever say is not serious.

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Mucus
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Brinestone: I hope the Hatrack accountability push works just as well for you as it did for The Rabbit [Wink]
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Brinestone
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(Dare I ask what happened with The Rabbit? I can't tell if it was good or bad.)
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Luna 9:
People have been called worse things than dog turd.

That's true but not really the point. Especially given that you made it clear you would like to call parents who restrict their kids' TV worse names.

quote:
Originally posted by Luna 9:
In fact, 90 percent of what I ever say is not serious.

That's probably not a good thing to brag about.
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Mucus
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Brinestone: Oh, about a month ago The Rabbit posted that he/she would suspend posting for a few months, noting the the embarrassment of going back on that announcement.

The success of that ... is up for debate.

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rivka
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Actually, when she came back she explained precisely why.
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Mucus
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I have no doubt an explanation was provided.
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Luna 9
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"Originally posted by rivka:
That's true but not really the point. Especially given that you made it clear you would like to call parents who restrict their kids' TV worse names."

If one is an interactive/active parent who is willing to talk and play with their kids, then TV and computers aren't really needed. However, in my family, we don't like strangers or like to talk that much. We're nice people, we just prefer to stay inside and not move around too much. Basically like a slug. I'm easily entertained by electronics, however I'm trusted to do my homework before I get on any electronics. Which I do. If you're a parent who will talk and interact with your children...well, you're probably a better parent. But life for me without electronics? BORING. Nobody talked to me, I read books instead. One can only buy so many books before they get bored of them (well, that's what happened to me). So apologize for accidentally calling anyone a dog turd.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
So apologize for accidentally calling anyone a dog turd.
That apologize would come off as much more sincere without the word "accidentally" in it.

The same goes for "anyone", to a lesser extent.

--

That your unfettered access to TV and computers has helped you grown up to find life without electronic entertainment unbearable is a compelling argument, to me at least, that Rivka is doing the right thing by restricting those forms of entertainment.

[ October 30, 2009, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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scholarette
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So, how do I get my daughter to be glued to the tv? She loves having the tv, but does not watch it. She turns it on and then goes and plays outside or in her room. I turn the tv off, she runs back in and puts it back on. I babysat for a kid that you turned the tv on and she didn't move again for hours and I was a little jealous.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
So, how do I get my daughter to be glued to the tv? She loves having the tv, but does not watch it. She turns it on and then goes and plays outside or in her room. I turn the tv off, she runs back in and puts it back on. I babysat for a kid that you turned the tv on and she didn't move again for hours and I was a little jealous.

Maybe your daughter really likes audio entertainment. Buy her audio books, or perhaps down the road Get her these.

They were written by Mr. Card no less and I just loved them when I was in Middle School/High School.

[ November 02, 2009, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
So, how do I get my daughter to be glued to the tv?

Superglue. Duh.

*Wanders off shaking his head at how much some people have allowed TV to rot their brains.*

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DDDaysh
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Well... the more recent research (according to parent magazines I read in my dr's office, and my pediatrician) suggests that toddler TV, in fact, does not damage attention spans significantly. Actually, what the pedi says is that it does not damage attention spans irrevocably. In either case, what's done is done, but the TV is off in our house for other reasons.

I agree with BlackBlade about the audio though. It may just be a sensory thing. Use audio and kids tunes CD's (available at Dollar Tree!).

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scholarette
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The audio would make sense. She is pretty sensitive to noises in general, so maybe she is paying more attention to that. She can't stand the vacuum, the lawnmower, the garbage disposal, my music in general (U2 is my favorite band), thunder, etc. We get a lot of "too louds" at our house.
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Orincoro
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I'm glad you're not ignoring that. I'm also one of those people with extreme sensitivity to noise, but unfortunately my mother is half deaf spent most of the day with the tv cranked up, yelling over it. She never seemed to understand how I got so wound up, but it was the noise. Now I live far away, and only have to endure her shouting into the phone when I call her, which has been helped by introducing her to skype.

Also, just in case anyone is considering it- don't torture your children by forcing them to listen to classical music. "The Mozart Effect" applied to children is psuedo-science and folk wisdom. It was a study of concentration performed on young adult subjects, and was shown to be effective over very short periods of time (within less than an hour). Classical music will not make your child smarter, leastwise not simple passive listening to classical music.

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BlackBlade
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I think listening to classical music at best helps with your child's musical sensibilities and cultural comprehension.

I listened to tons of classical, and contemporary music growing up, and I think that coupled with piano lessons, and being enlisted as a clarinetist in school, gave me good pitch, as well as a solid appreciation for music when I hear it. I feel like I hear into the depths of the music instead of just hearing it.

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King of Men
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Oh well, if we're talking anecdotes, I liked classical as a child, and I'm the smartest person in this thread. And since the one was before the other, there must be a causal relationship. QED.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I think listening to classical music at best helps with your child's musical sensibilities and cultural comprehension.

Yes, but in my opinion anyway, passive exposure to recorded classical music is the most useless and not coincidentally most over-rated activity for children. Nothing wrong with it, but over-rated.
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scifibum
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What about having your children wear sweaters over their shoulders with the arms loosely tied around their necks? I'm pretty sure that is guaranteed to make them smarter.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I'm the smartest person in this thread.

*snort*
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katharina
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quote:
What about having your children wear sweaters over their shoulders with the arms loosely tied around their necks? I'm pretty sure that is guaranteed to make them smarter.
*laugh*

Also, naming your children Hermione and Spencer will make them smarter.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I'm the smartest person in this thread.

*snort*
Exhibit A: People who only speak in monosyllabic grunts. I bet you didn't get a lot of classical as a kid, eh? Looks like the Beatles or maybe Elvis.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I bet you didn't get a lot of classical as a kid, eh?

You lose that bet.
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Orincoro
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Obviously didn't get a lot of humor though- I wouldn't take KoM seriously on this one.
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DDDaysh
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The noise sensitivity thing is so strange. I've always been super sound sensitive, to the point that it's sometimes difficult for me to hear things (like TV) because I can't filter out ambient noise all that well. My parents never could figure out how I could hear a tiny sound or conversation halfway across the house, but be unable to hear the TV unless it was turned up full blast.

My son seems to have inherited that, up to a point. What I think is really funny though, are the types of sounds that drive people crazy, and how they differ from person to person. For me, plastic straws squeaking against plastic drink containers lids (think Icee) can practically send me into convulsions. My father loses it if people rub anything against carpet. For my son, it apparently is the sound of paper going in and out of his folder. He'll run out of the room with his hands over his ears sometimes when I'm trying to put his homework back in his folder.

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