Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tolerating Cartoons

I have issues with cartoons. Super big major issues that I've had to deal with since having a kid. Before Gabi, I just ignored anything animated and lived a blissfully ignorant life.

On a parental level, I hate the mind numbingness of them, the lame content and all the violence. Even Scooby Doo has people getting hit with things over the head.

On a me level, there's, well, the whole animated thing. I just don't like it. I especially hate babies and animals that talk ('cause they can't, you know), and mixing animation with real life. So, yes, Roger Rabbit is just about the worse possible movie ever made.

So now that I have Gabi, my relationship with cartoons has gone from one of hate, to one of passive tolerance. Because they save my life. They allow me free time that would otherwise find me cutting and pasting hearts into homemade books or dressing babies in endless outfit combinations. Which isn't a bad way to spend time with my kid, but after a few hours I'm trying not to scream, and my legs are numb from sitting in the same place for so long.

Cartoons also let me make dinner without turning around to find playdoh simmering in a sauce. And I can get through opening the mail without all my stacks being messed up by a flying fairly doll (who never means any harm, but man, she sure causes a lot of damage).

The ONLY reason I've let cartoons into our lives at all is because of Disney and Noggin. They have some pretty gentle shows that try to teach kids how to be morally strong people. And no commercials. If I'm going to let Gabi watch a cartoon, it's going to be one of those.

When I turned on the TV this morning (after hours of free play that engaged Gabi's creativity, of course), it tuned into Channel 5. Or, more specifically, Batman.

I quickly turned it to Noggin, but the damage had already been done. Gabi saw the wondrously dark and gloomy Batman, and BEGGED to watch it. She's very into watching inappropriate broadcasting, as she's discovered, through her Dad, that it's so much more entertaining than Miss Spider or Wow Wow Wubzy.

I hesitated for a moment, but decided to go ahead and let her watch it. So many other little boys her age love Batman, and thus are obviously watching the cartoon, so why not?

After just a few minutes, though, Gabi said, "Mom, please turn it back to Blue's Clues. This channel is for BOYS."

Yes! I didn't intend for it to work out that way, but I'm glad it did. Maybe now that the allure of the forbidden is full of disappointment, I can buy myself a little bit more time before having to advance to hard core cartooning.

Or we could just get rid of the TV. But I've mentioned that option to Gilberto before and he nearly had a heart attack. As long as the TV is there, I'll begrudgingly use it for my sanity. Cartoons and all.

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