Okay so now you know, we don’t let our son watch TV. First it was sugar and now no TV, what kind of puritanical, freakishly-mean daddies are you? Actually, we don’t hate TV and can often be found flopped on the sofa in front of it after a hard day’s work, and an evening of chasing our son around. We don’t watch that much but we do have a few guilty pleasures:
First there is The Family Guy-bad, bad TV, raunchy, bordering on South Park foulness, and just totally wrong, but often funny as hell. Mr. T will not be watching that anytime soon. Then there is Project Runway. It’s got Heidi, high fashion and drama. We are gay men-it’s a prerequisite. And as much as I hate to admit it, we are both fans of Supernanny. Yes, it is a loathsome reality show and yes, they feature some really dumb parents and some rather extreme examples of bad parenting. Nanny Jo–the Suppernanny–does however, provide some pretty good counsel. After observing her subject family for a typical day of horrendous child behavior and equally horrendous parenting, she then sets out to “fix” the subject family. She pretty much rehashes the same basic principles that we all know-quality time with children to build and improve familial relationships; consistency in establishing and following household rules and in having consequences when the rules are broken. She also targets imbalances that might exist between the parents in the care of their children and upkeep of their household. It’s all comes pre-packaged with generous helpings of tears, drama, and cute kids. As you would expect, the amazingly dysfunctional parents and horribly behaved children come together as a cohesive family by the time the show is over. It is after all a reality TV show and filming real life would just not be all that interesting to watch.
After you peal away all of the production fluff though, what you get is a lot of practical things that Nanny Jo demonstrates with her subject family. How exactly do you spend quality time with your kids in a way that positively engages them? How do you practically develop an order and structure that enables everyone to live in peace together? What do you do exactly, when your kids don’t follow the rules? It is interesting that she never addresses issues regarding television. I would imagine with the way some of these kids walk all over their parents that when it comes to TV, they probably watch whenever and whatever they want for as long as they want. It is sort of an unmentionable though. I guess the producers can’t really let Nanny Jo talk about children watching too much TV. That would be sort of like biting the hand that feeds you.
When it comes to parenting, what is the right age for introducing television to a child? I guess he needs to be old enough where we can come to a clear understanding about what he can and can’t watch. We need to be able to turn it off without a lot of drama, or maybe there will be drama but at least he understands the expectations. I expect that our foster son will be a cartoon-loving little boy-his book choices seem to already indicate that. So that will make two cartoon-loving boys living in our house. Darrow, no doubt will introduce him to some of his favorite cartoons–Sponge Bob, and Dexter’s Laboratory. I discovered Handy Manny in the pediatrician’s office (yes, most pediatrician’s offices it seems have a television.) And of course there are Disney and Pixar full-length animated features (really long cartoons) like Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Finding Nemo, Cinderella, and the list just goes on. I imagine us having cartoon festivals with some of his little friends over, popcorn and non-sugar filled drinks and treats–or maybe by then we will have loosened up on the sugar thing after he is a few years older. Okay, so maybe there are three of us cartoon–lovin types living under one roof.
I am so excited–I cannot wait until he is old enough to share some of my favorite movies like the Matrix and the Lord of the Rings trilogies. I will never forget the first time I saw the Matrix. I was told to go see it but wasn’t told anything about it-just go. I remember sitting down with my friend in Brazil in a theater in Sao Paulo. In the opening scene there is Trinity sitting with her back to the screen all in shiny black vinyl. The next moment she begins to run around the walls of the room as machine gun fire chases her. It was one of the most thrilling movie-going experiences I have ever had. There was one spine tingling scene after another and a plot that I continue to try to resolve in my head even to this day it was so deep. I cannot wait for him to see that!
And the Lord of the Rings–what is there to say: from the first time you see Golum, the fear of the orks and uruk-hai, to the moment at which you see the ring falling into the fires of Mordor-well it just leaves you speechless. And, oh, oh, Star Wars, just Star Wars. I will always remember the excitement of each episode as the John Williams score blares to the opening of the film. Oh my, it is just so overwhelming. Yes, hi, I am Juan and I am a sci-fi/fantasy addict and I hope to turn my son into one too. Is that so bad? I can just blame it on the bad, bad TV.