To the extent we're able to, David and I have tried to shield Stella from pop culture. I think we've done an excellent job, especially considering that yurts are specifically prohibited by Madison zoning regulations. Stella has never watched Barney, doesn't know who The Wiggles are, and draws a blank on Yo Gabba Gabba. And I think it goes without saying that I consider the possibility of exposing her to High School Musical the moral equivalent of putting her on an ice floe and shoving it out to sea.
When pushed to the wall, though, my principles crumble, which I discovered on the last leg of our big cross-country trip. Stella had been patient, cheerful, and flexible for the whole trip but on the return flight home from Seattle her goodwill was beginning to fray. Each seat had its own television screen in the back of the seat in front of it, and after a ten-minute period of free entertainment, it cost $6 to watch television for the rest of the trip. Stella was enjoying the cartoons during the initial free period, and I started to warn her that the cartoons would soon be going away, when I thought wait! What am I doing? Save yourself! I swiped my credit card so fast I nearly sprained my wrist. At that point, I didn't care what she was watching, so long as it was entertaining. Stella could have been watching an episode of Sex in the City (Preschool Edition) at that point and I would have gladly discussed with her whether Manolo Blahnik makes rain boots that have little frog faces on the toes, in size 1. (Yes, but they cost $450.)
It turns out that a preschool classmate of Stella's has been talking up Barbie.com. I know that the older she gets, the less our ability to protect Stella from our evil overlords at Mattel. Still, I'm glad we've been able to (mostly) shield her from commercial children's entertainment for her first few years. I think that by doing so, we've laid a foundation for her to better learn and thrive. And now if you'll excuse me, I have a goat to shoo out of the yurt.