Picks and Pans Main: Video
A & M, once the home of the Go-Gos, is now going after the goo-goos with Creative Parenting: The First Twelve Months ($29.95), the company's first non-music video. According to Videotakes, a New Jersey software distributor, Parenting joins about eight other kiddie videos already on the shelves, all of them aimed at the burgeoning baby market. An estimated 3.5 million infants will be born this year, and although their parents are, on the average, older, richer and better educated than ever before, they are also more fearful and insecure and crave information about how to raise their child "right."
Such folks will find this video frustrating. Its laudable goal is to encourage new parents to trust their own instincts. No checklists here. Instead, we get as host-narrator actor Beau Bridges, whose style is as comfy as an old pair of sneakers. One only wishes he had taken the time to memorize his lines instead of reading them off the TelePrompTer. Bridges introduces us to six infants and their moms and dads—all of them white, all of them middle class or above. The babies are into being cute and mashing goopy food all over their faces. Their parents are into "sharing" feelings and having "dialogues" about their overwhelming new roles. During on-camera visits to pediatricians, all the prerequisite subjects, from breast-feeding to colic, are touched on in the 60-minute tape, but even after repeated viewings, one doesn't feel any better equipped to navigate that emotional maze called parenthood.
A more nuts-and-bolts approach is provided by Meridian Entertainment's Your Newborn Baby: Everything You Need To Know ($39.95), hosted by Joan Lunden of Good Morning America. With the help of pediatrician Jeffrey Brown, she advises expectant and new parents about how to interview prospective pediatricians, what clothes and equipment are needed at home and what items a woman should take to the hospital with her when delivery time comes. There are graphic illustrations about infant anatomy, how to breast-feed and express milk and how to recognize a normal bowel movement.
There is so much crammed into this hour-long program that Lunden is forced to speak at an awesome clip. She handles it with amazing grace. The only worrisome note is that much of the information is presented as hard fact; for example, Brown recommends circumcision for those babies whose fathers are circumcised, yet the American Academy of Pediatrics says there is no medical reason for it.