As Seen On TV

cartoon fight sounds

My oldest kiddo, Rowdy, is just 2 months shy of his 4th birthday.  He’s sweet, silly, tender, affectionate and kind.  But just like other children (and adults, actually), he learns by making mistakes.  Recently he has done some hitting.  And although his hits wouldn’t even kill a mosquito (arm awkwardly swings sideways with closed fist then lightly hits the target), that’s not the point.  It’s hitting, and it’s not cool.  Nobody hits or gets hit in our home – not the dogs, not the kids, not the grown-ups.  This is a no-hitting, no-spanking household.  At first I wondered if hitting was just a natural human reaction since he doesn’t see any hitting at home.  But then I realized that he has seen hitting…on TV.  He watches age-appropriate shows, but some of the animated movies out there contain some violence.  Granted, even a 6-year-old could understand that it’s just a cartoon, and nobody is actually getting hurt.  But it seems that a nearly-4-year-old might not be able to register that logic yet.  He sees the characters get angry or scared (The Incredibles, Big Hero 6, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) and then hit their enemy or the bad guy.  So he’s basically doing the same exact thing.  Today he didn’t like it when I told him he had to change clothes, so he hit my shoulder (lightly, yes, but again, it’s still a hit).  I showed him that I was very upset by it and made it very clear that he hit mommy and that was a bad thing to do.  I went on to explain to him over and over that hitting hurts people.  He soon mentioned Meatballs (the movie), saying something about someone hitting on that movie.  I tried my best to explain that just because he sees someone hit on TV, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to hit anyone, ever.  I’m really not sure if it completely sunk in, but I did my best to explain it to him all while telling him how sad it made me that he hit me.  And because he is truly a caring and affectionate person, through tears he told me he wanted to kiss my shoulder, and he did.  We followed that up with a big hug and kiss and lots of “I love you”s.

I’m pretty laid back about many things.  I don’t get offended real easily, I can be vulgar, I cuss like a sailor sometimes, I like my cocktails and I’m a huge Real Housewives fan.  I’m fun, damn it.  Fun!  And I’m proud to be 100% myself in front of my children (minus some f-bombs, probably).  But just because I consider myself to be fun and open-minded, it doesn’t mean I necessarily want my kiddo watching violence on TV before he’s ready to handle it.  But then again, these movies that he watches are not harsh at all.  They’re aimed at an audience of children.  He’s never seen any of the action movies aimed at adults.  So, what’s a parent to do?  To tell you the truth, I’m not totally sure.  Something that I will not do is constantly point the finger at TV for teaching my child bad things.  If I feel like the things we allow him to watch are having that much of a negative influence on him, I’ll simply stop letting him watch.  It’s ultimately up to my husband and myself to teach our kiddos.  And if TV was truly interfering with that, we’ll say goodbye to the beloved boob tube for a while.  But my gut tells me that over time he’ll understand these things more and more, and our kind, affectionate little boy will grow into a kind, affectionate young man.

Do you feel like what your child watches on TV has a major impact on his/her daily behavior?

P.S. I will say that I do think Peppa is a positive influence on Rowdy.  Yes, they’re British and polite, but I also just think he jives well with that show.  It gets him in a happy, positive mood, and he responds well to it.  And I will also say that Rowdy was watching some old school Looney Tunes the other day, so I stood there and watched a bit with him.  I quickly changed the channel, not necessarily due to violence, but due to the fact that Daffy Duck was such an asshole.  He was lying to his friends and tricking them and being mean.  Have I gone soft?  Maybe so, but it’s fine with me.  So, here’s to Peppa and other positive TV experiences.  :)


Climate Changes

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my family and I are spending a lot of our time far away from home this year due to my husband’s job.  We went from the Texas Gulf Coast, where winters can range from 40 degrees and chilly to 80 degrees and sticky, and are now in Northern Kentucky (practically in Cincinnati, OH) where winters are, well, cold.  For the first time in my 34 years I am experiencing an actual winter that includes some single digit temps and a good bit of snow.  Our heater has been on for the entire 2.5 months we’ve been here, there are no ceiling fans in the bedrooms and schools have quite a few “snow days” during winter months when weather and driving conditions get more severe.  You should’ve heard me when I first talked with the preschool director.  I said things like, “Well, I know y’all must still function when it snows, but I’m not really sure how that works” and “I assume there are professionals that know how to prep the roads when it snows…”.  I must have sounded like some sort of alien to her.  This may be my first rodeo, but it certainly isn’t  the locals’. I’ve learned that leaving the house during very cold temperatures, especially with young children in tow, is cumbersome, inconvenient and sometimes painful (don’t scrape ice off your windshield when it’s 5 degrees out with no gloves on, ok?).  I’ve also learned that while snow is absolutely beautiful much of the time, it sometimes turns to a grey-ish color after it’s been sitting near the road for a while, which isn’t pretty at all.  It also causes poor driving conditions sometimes which will make a Houston gal real nervous real fast.  But on a positive note, it’s kinda cool to hear the snow crunch under your boots and to see your 3-year-old having a blast outside building a snowman.  And I can’t leave out the awesome winter clothes we all got to sport.

It’s now March 9th and finally not freezing (literally) outside.  I might even be able to turn our heater off soon.  I turned on the one ceiling fan we have this morning.  My 3-year-old looked at it, smiled and said, “round and round”, while my baby girl stared at it mesmerized for 5 minutes.  Although those sweet babies come from the land of “tropical weather without the tropical view” (an original nick name written by yours truly,  thank you), they have fared well this winter in the almost-Midwest.  It’s their parents that were in the most shock.  Isn’t that always how it goes?

How much should I play with my kids?

I’m lucky that I get to spend so much time with my kiddos.  I really am.  And as much as I, or any other parent, may joke about them wearing me out and stressing me out, the bottom line is that time with our babies is priceless.  (Side note: I officially sound like one of those cheesy mommies that I rolled my eyes at once upon a time.  We’ll talk about non-parents being annoyed by parents on another post though.)  But one thing that I have always wondered is, how much time should I spend actually playing with and/or entertaining them?  Now, my babies are just 10-months-old and 3.5-years-old, so they’re not old enough to be real independent yet.  Maybe when they’re older they won’t even want to play with me, right?  Oh, geez.  Okay, that’s a whole other story.  Anyway, if you’ve ever spent some days home with your kiddos, you know that there is always plenty to do, not counting any play time.  There’s prepping and cooking meals, cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry, personal business like bills, errands and phone calls, and for me, actually doing my work from home.  Some days, it seems that there isn’t even much time to do any playing, but once you get a good groove and organize all of your tasks, finding time to play with the babies is easier.  So when I’m faced with a moment where I could play with them and just put off other tasks, should I?  And if so, should I do that every time?  Am I being too hard on myself?  Am I catering to them a little too much?  Or am I selfish for wanting to get some work done instead of play with them?  And don’t even get me started on when I do something fun for myself instead of playing with them – guilty city, baby.  Some of you may think I sound like a crazy person, but plenty of you probably have these exact same thoughts.  So, what’s the answer?  I imagine that an expert would tell us that we should find balance by playing with them some and also encouraging some independent play.  And although that obviously sounds like the logical answer, I hope I’m able to convince myself of that and not feel guilty if I’m not constantly playing with and entertaining my babies.  Mommy guilt – another term the old me probably would have rolled my eyes at – but it’s real, it exists, and it exists within me.  Okay, that’s enough writing for now.  I’ve gotta go play with my kids.