Alright, so I am pretty sure that I have braced this subject before but I can’t remember so I am going to bitch about it again.
What is up with kids television?
You know, I was really fond of children’s television when Haydan was a baby and toddler. Little Bill was the coolest show ON THE PLANET. I would sit there and continue to watch Little Bill long after Haydan went down for her nap when she was a tot. Little Bill still is my favorite show. Haydan actually named our new car we bought a year and a half ago ‘Fuschia’ after Little Bill’s friend. I heart Little Bill.
Yeah, there were some pretty effin’ annoying kids shows like Yo Gabba Gabba. Aside from their awesome guest appearances and musicians, I could never really figure out what the hell was happening on that show. It’s as if someone created that show while on acid and someone on the show had high pull when it came to the music industry. I still can’t figure it out.
It seems there is a lack of quality, age appropriate television as children are in the limbo of toddlerhood and pre-teen. I felt that there was good content up until age five and then, now what? Disney? Yeah, Disney is no Mickey Mouse Club like it was back in the day when I was a kid. Disney has little bratty girls named Jessie and Carly and while they aren’t necessary total idiots, they are definitely too much for me. If you sit and watch an episode, it seems harmless enough when you compare it to Orange is the New Black or Weeds (two shows I have been really into lately) but when you put the show in perspective and realize that your 6 year old is emulating one of the characters, shit gets real, REAL quick.
Haydan and I were at Michael’s the other day figuring out a fun craft we could do for the afternoon. I was busy looking at all the cool shit Michael’s has to offer and pondering ways I could recklessly spend my hard earned cash…I am really good at that. Anywho, apparently an interaction was happening behind my back with Haydan and another little girl without my knowing/seeing.
The little girl walks up to us and tells Haydan: ‘I was just trying to introduce myself to you!’.
I had no idea what was happening or what was going on so I said hello to her.
She addressed Haydan again: ‘I was JUST trying to introduce myself to you!’
I looked at Haydan with the ‘look’ and said: ‘Introduce yourself!!’
Haydan looks at her with a peculiar look while twirling her hair and says “Uhhh. I am Haydan….it’s nice to meet you….?’ (while her face said ‘who the hell is this girl and why is she talking to me’)
The little girl went into a full introduction with her name, her age, favorite color and a long winded sentence that she will be starting first grade this year. I excitedly told her that Haydan was also going to start first grade this year! Haydan looks at me and says ‘Well, I highly doubt we go to the same school.’
I look at her ‘WHAT THE HELL?! WHO SAYS THAT?!?! SHUT IT…BE NICE!!!!!!!!!’
‘Well, I’ve never seen her at my school. If we went to the same school, I would recognize her.’ Haydan said.
The little girls mom was just about done checking out at the register so she bid us farewell and was on her way.
I looked at Haydan and told her I didn’t like how she conducted herself. ..AT ALL.
I have worked overly hard on making sure my kid isn’t a total asshole to other people. I am that parent that tells her kid to say ‘thank-you’ before I even give her an opportunity to say it. I’m constantly on top of her when it comes to proper ways to make an introduction (firm handshake, eye contact, and an audible ‘It is nice to meet you!’). My mom was a crazy-woman when it came to proper social interaction with kids my own age, and people of all ages for that matter. I grew up with never-ending reminders to not be intimidated or shy when in any situation. Whether it was while speaking with someone who’s education far superseded mine or when interacting with someone who lived outside the gas station. I was taught that my interactions were to be the same regardless of the situation I was in. And you know what? It worked—I talk to everyone. Sometimes too much!
I want my daughter to hold her own in a conversation, an awkward situation, or when talking to a potential boss or some kid who’s the same age as her. Social interaction ‘etiquette’ is huge. We’ve all met those kids who stare at the ground when you speak to them and their parents let it fly—-that shit doesn’t work for me. If Justin and I don’t teach her, who will?
Anyways, back on track—- I left Michael’s after checking out and thought long and hard about what prompted Haydan’s behavior. I thought about it and realized that she is emulating those kids on the TV shows she watches on the Disney Channel. They all have the classic roles: the ‘geek’, the ‘class clown’, the ‘pretty girl’ and so on and so on. I am assuming Haydan picks one that she thinks best fits her and picks up on their little characteristics and it starts there.
She actually told me the other day that she wants me to change her name on her birth certificate to ‘Jessie’. I did what any mom would do——I told her that wouldn’t be a problem and only referred to her as ‘Jessie’ for the remainder of the day. She was quickly over it by the end of the night and started going by Haydan again— but it just further proves my point! She wanted me to call her ‘Jessie’ only! Actually change her legal name—although I’m not certain her six-year-old brain really thoroughly thought it through. Regardless..
I can’t get her to sit and watch Noggin anymore and I would really prefer her not to watch Nickelodeon because Sponge Bob REALLY pisses me off. I would use his language as an excuse seeing as Spongebob uses language like ‘stupid’ and ‘idiot’ and the characters have sarcastic (sometimes witty) come-backs— but that excuse won’t work (for me) seeing as every third word out of my mouth is a bad one—-so, I’ll just stick with ‘Sponge Bob REALLY pisses me off.’
We bought a Roku which has Kids Discovery Channel, Kids National Geographic, and so many other cool shows. What does Haydan end up doing? She finds a way to use the Roku to hop on Netflix and finds out that she can watch ENTIRE SEASONS of Jessie. I have the ‘Jessie’ theme song memorized.
I realize the logical answer would be: ‘Don’t let her watch television if you don’t like her choices!’ I have been trying to stick to that thought process, however, after working from home all day with Haydan by my side asking me 8,000 questions, by 4:30pm, I need a little break. I would let her watch Orange is the New Black if that was the only thing that would hold her attention for an hour and give me a one hour break. Kidding…sort of. It’s sort of like those ‘Baby Einstein’ movies. There were a million studies that apparently proved that Baby Einstein movies did not, in fact, make your baby an ‘itty-bitty baby Einstein’. However, everyone still lets their baby watch them–why? Because it occupies their attention for a few moments while you throw in a load of laundry or start the dishwasher! Those videos were and still are the best.
What are some age-appropriate shows you let your 6-going-on-nineteen-year-old watch that actually appeal to them?
I finally turned the TV off and gave Haydan a Highlightes magazine to read. She wasn’t overly impressed with me…I don’t care.
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