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“Zoe, you are so smart,” I told my four-year old daughter the other day as she spelled out the word pony.

She looked up at me and smiled. “I’m not just smart. I’m K-Mart smart!”

I swear! That’s what she said. Then she walked away from me, humming “Be true, be you, Moxie Girlz!” I was horrified, but the tune was kind of catchy.

Okay, so maybe my kids watch just a little bit too much television. But I no longer have a real babysitter, so sometimes I call on my friend Nick to stay with the kids in the sunroom. Nick is cool. He “gets” my kids and teaches them all about SpongeBob and iCarly. And he’s always available, whenever I need him. I just turn on the TV and hit channel 33, and there he is.

My lovely old friend, Nickelodeon.

It’s not the shows that really bother me. It’s all those darned commercials.

Commercials are what started me on my zhu zhu pet hunt a few weeks back. The kids saw a commercial for these motorized hamsters, and asked that I “add it to the list” of toys for Hannukah. “The list” started out in an orderly fashion, as a few items scribbled on my iPhone, but in recent weeks, it has escalated into a black hole of every toy, doll, truck, video, movie, and game ever made. Every item they seen on a television commercial or played with at a friend’s house gets added to the ubiquitous list. “The list” should now just be called “Toys R Us.”

Anyway, zhu zhu pets were a top-of-the-list item. So when I received an email from Toys R Us.com, declaring, “we have the hottest toy of the season – zhu zhu pets!” I started to panic. Those hamsters were the hottest toys of the season? Who would have guessed such a thing? I went immediately online to purchase some, my heartbeat embarrassingly quick, only to find that they were all sold out at Toys R Us, Target, and WalMart. Amazon had them available from third party sellers who were jacking up the prices. A motorized hamster for $10 is cute. At $35.99. it becomes roadkill.

But now I suddenly really, really, really wanted these zhu zhu pets. The chase was on. I told my mom about them so that she could use her high-powered shopping skills in the greater metro New York area, hopeful that together, we could succeed, like Batman with Robin by his side.

Sure enough, a day or two later, my mom called me. “Did you get the email from Learning Express? They’re getting their shipment of zhu zhu pets today!”

“Holy Bat-hamsters, Robin! I’ve got to get down there now!”

The only problem was that Zoe was home sick and I, too, was feeling under the weather. There was no way I could get these toys with Zoe in tow, since they were for her. I made the decision to leave her at home with Maria, our cleaning lady, turn on the television, and then dash down to the village. I was victorious, purchasing both Nums Nums and Pipsqueak, as well as a whole host of equipment for the hamsters to play on.

“It’s easier to get a swine flu shot than a zhu zhu pet,” I joked to Ken, the store’s manager.

Just then, a voice from behind a display to my right said, “We’ve got our sound bite!” Suddenly, a camera crew and a reporter made themselves known to me. “We’re doing a story about zhu zhu pets for Nightline,” the reporter explained.

“Funny! I’m doing a story about zhu zhu pets for the local newspaper!” I replied. Turns out my witty little bit of dialogue got me on television. This is ironic, since the very thing I am having issues with is how much time my family watches television.

At this point, I don’t think a few more minutes of television viewing could hurt. The damage is clearly already done.

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