As I've mentioned, we really try to keep the kids clear of all the pop-culture crapola that gets produced in the neverending efforts to make children into consumers. I know it's a bit snobbish of me, but I feel very strongly about this; I'm downright repulsed by so much of the plastic, disposable junk that masquerades as kids' toys and kids' entertainment. (I could step up onto my Buy Handmade soapbox at this point, but I won't. For some of my thoughts on that, see this post.)
We don't watch TV. (Though we allow a few selected videos, used sparingly, such as Blues Clues, Winnie the Pooh, the occasional Sesame Street, and recently we've introduced the Peanuts' Thanksgiving video, to much delight.) We avoid the Disney junk. (Though we use Huggies diapers and pull-ups, so the kids have learned about many of the characters during diaper changes; I wasn't thrilled about this, but part of me found it fitting that the introduction to the pervasive presence of these images came about because they are used to decorate the repositories of my childrens' excrement.) I make every attempt not to own clothes, toys, or books that are emblazoned with mass-market children's characters -- no Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, or their compatriots in this house, thank you very much. (Though I will let the kids check out Blues Clues books from the library, and when BB found a denim jacket decorated with Tigger and Pooh at the thrift store for $3, I gave in and got it for her. She loves it!) We have yet to bring the kids to a movie. (I don't count the Diaper Days flicks that I watched with BJ when he was a babe in arms; pacing the aisles with him asleep in the Baby Bjorn while I tried to pay attention to Pride & Predjudice isn't the same thing at all.) I am very fortunate that, for the most part, family and friends have respected our wishes about all of this. (And I sure hope that trend continues with this holiday's gift giving!)
I know I can't keep my kids in this bubble forever, and I don't intend to -- but for now, I'm happy that they are such innocents. I've fortified the household against the marketing machines, and I will continue to be vigilant against their insidious influence. Every once in a while, though, something gets in through a chink in the defences.
Most recently, as S was surfing the web with BB in his lap, she saw an animated advertisement for Madagascar 2 and insisted, in no uncertain terms, that he click on it to see what it was all about. Ever since, we've had daily demands to visit the website advertising the movie. "I want to watch Move it Move it!" she will declare, climbing up into the computer chair.
She has definite favorites: the video preview (click on Video and this is #1 in the list) and the music video, "I Like to Move it Move it!" (fourth down the list). She refers to the latter as the "grandma dancing video" and just adores it. "Again, again!" she'll ask. Yes, it's screen time, and yes, I do find all the emphasis on animals' wiggling their booties a little disturbing, but there are worse things, right? At least it gives me some time to cook dinner without her underfoot; the computer nook is directly off the kitchen, so she's right there with me, perfectly content.
And even though it does go a bit against the grain for me, running counter to many of my parenting philosophies, it's all quite amusing. When I'm not taking it so seriously, I have to laugh. Night before last, as she was going to sleep, she sat up out of complete relaxed silence and called out, "I like to party party!" (one of the lines from the song) -- except it sounded for all the world like, "I like to potty potty!" I could barely contain myself.