There comes the day when your baby turns into a toddler and they almost instantly are become aware of the children shows and popular characters that feature on television.
You may not even have the TV on at home or have any older children who watch these shows, but soon your child is nagging you to watch some unpronounceable (to adults anyway) Japanese superhero character that defeats a two-headed and six-legged monster with some kind of bouncy ball that zaps the said monster into a different dimension. Or it will be singing, dancing princess from a movie that you have only imagined in your nightmares who drone on and on about true love.
You wonder where your child has found about these shows. You have undoubtedly well shielded your child so far from them and purposefully avoided the toy aisles of each and every store that you have visited since their birth, but yet they know.
Is it some kind of superpower? Are all children born knowing that princesses and dwarves go together or that cars will either talk, turn into robots or both?
Be well-assured it’s not from some inadvertent exposure from you, the parents. There are other, more sinister ways that your child has found out that storks that used to deliver babies to eagerly awaiting parents, lost the contract and had to turn to delivering cell phones, but when a geek pushed the wrong button, won the contract back.
It is a conspiracy born from other children that don’t have the disconcerting parents as yours have. Your blissfully ignorant child has learned about these T.V. devils from the playground. Children do talk, and it’s not about what they’ve got on their sandwich for lunch. Some overly excited boy will launch into the tirade of which robot (again with unpronounceable names) blasted another robot with his laser beam. Or some precocious little girl will show off her tiara, twirl and sing in an ear piercing voice a ‘famous’ song from a movie. She will be wearing a princess dress with, you guessed it, the movie’s name on her bodice.
It’s not only on the playground that these monsters of T.V. universe have slipped in. Watch the grandparents. There is nothing better for a grandparent to take their little one for a play visit and sit them down in front of the screen and watch talking animals as well as the ads that feature the best and greatest latest toy. The grandparent isn’t really interested, or understand what the animal is saying. Who does? They can just zone out or read the paper or a magazine. A grunt or nod when they are asked a question will usually suffice. The convenient, “Ask your Mom,” comes in handy to the difficult ones and they are off the hook. Also, which grandparent doesn’t like taking their grandchild to toy stores. They want to relive their youth too and there are so many things that they can spoil their young charges with.
So, eventually, you have to succumb to the life of watching kids programs and movies. Inevitably day by day you are sitting watching these shows, with your child, trying to fathom what on earth is going on so you can answer any questions, and the questions do come, randomly and rapidly, that they may have.
Before you know it you are playing children’s music in your car and discussing, in a very frank discussion, the merits of one princess dress over the other or which robot has the most firepower. The day will come when you realise that you are singing the latest movie’s most annoying song in your head and it’s not the original version, which used to be one of your favourites, guaranteed. It will be the tweaked up child’s version and it will torture you, circling through your head again and again.
Unfortunately, you know that you have lost when your child becomes tired and you have put them down to sleep in their bedroom and you return to the sitting room. You sit back down then it has taken you ten minutes to realise that you are watching Peppa Pig all by yourself.
It’s worse when you cannot turn it the show off for you want to see whether Peppa forgives the snooty piglet next door for dumping her little brother into the mud pit. Or whether the next ad break will feature that new super toy that can be played by children and adults. Christmas is coming up after all.