Sure, we all secretly (and some not so secretly) think our own babies are geniuses. And, they all are, aren't they :-)
I've thought alot about the Baby Einstein phenomena during this first year of Peanut's life though we have never owned a BE DVD. In Finland, they did not exist so they didn't really even enter as a possibility until we moved to Texas. By that point, however, I had decided to try and keep the TV off at home during the day. Now, we've lived the first year without having TV viewing as part of our daily routine so its very natural for us to not even think of watching it or having Peanut watch it as a distraction.
Here it seems EVERYONE has and watches BE - they get them as gifts, some buy them, but most parents swear by them: our 4 mo old loves it, our 8 mo old learned baby signs from it, our 12 mo old sings along with it, etc, etc. They buy me time to take a shower, read email, make dinner, etc, etc. I don't know how I would make it through the day without TV....
Since we never had TV in our daily program, Peanut doesn't crave it and I don't even think to turn it on. If I need a few moments of baby-free time, I play some music for her, open a book for her to flip through, dump a pile of blocks on the floor for her to carry to the bathtub and she's just as happy doing those things.
Blogging Baby's post about a Child Advocacy group suing BE was very interesting as are the comments left by other readers:
From the Washington Post: A child-advocacy group is petitioning the federal government to bar the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby Companies from promoting their products as "educational and beneficial to child development." The group, The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, says that claims made by the two companies that their videos "foster toddler's speech and language skills," and otherwise enhance childhood learning are deceptive, since there's no proof, and in fact, television watching "could adversely affect cognitive development if it replaces creative play and interaction with a child's parents and surroundings."
Further Comments on baby consumerism:
I'm not sure that I agree with the ban, but in general I have found the Center to be an excellent source of information about the adverse effects of marketing on children. Have any of you read books such as Juliet Schor's "Born to Buy"? Unfortunately there is ahuge push for cradle-to-grave brand loyalty. Children as young as 6 months have been proven to recognize icons like Elmo, and 18 month-olds can correctly identify brands. It sounds innocuous enough on the surface, but when you start thinking of all the character tie-ins (Thomas the Tank Engine underwear, Dora soups, etc.) it becomes weirdly obvious what is going on in conjunction with your nice, educational programming.