We don’t have TV here in the Smythe house. But we do have ways to view TV. We have a flat screen and a DVD player and computers. At any given moment, we can watch a movie or stream a TV special no problem. And we like this set up because it gives us a feeling of control and limits the number of ads the children see. We can be deliberate about what they watch.

Recently, we’d been letting the kids log on to Amazon because it spares us trips to giant toy stores. It gives the kids a bigger selection of toys to blow their allowances on, and it allows them to read buyer reviews of the toys they are considering. We thought this seemed like good training for them. And it had been working pretty well. Why, just last week Ginger confessed she had changed her mind about the Polly Pocket Ice Cream Water Park because a reviewer had written that the set was hard to assemble, didn’t stay joined, and the little plastic drinks got lost (they had slid down this particular reviewer’s bathtub drain.) Ginger appreciated these details and promptly switched her attention to the Polly Pocket Pet Adoption Set which had received much better reviews.

So I was feeling pretty good about the Amazon thing…until I heard the girls singing this jingle:

Barbie Potty Training Pups!

Bottle feeding puppies

Potty training puppies

What will he do?

Number one or number two?

Oh, what will it be?

A puppy poo or puppy pee?

Barbie potty training pups!

Barbie girl!

“Are they singing what I think they’re singing?” CPT America asked as the girls dissolved into giggles.

They were. It seems many of the toys on Amazon have commercials posted with them on their pages. The girls enjoy watching these as much as they enjoy browsing for toys. So now, instead of watching children’s shows with a sprinkling of ads – which is what they would be doing if we had TV – my kids are watching ads. Straight ads. Over and over again.

That feeling of control I had? It’s slipping away. I wonder if it’s too late to get TV.