Thursday, March 17, 2005

Days of Shrek and horses

Well I think it's starting. I have been content to let the girls stay very young in terms of their video habits. In the U.S. I could just limit them to PBS Kids and our own videos. Once in a while we would rent something else and so often it was too much for them--especially Robin. They just loved the positive, educational kids' shows where the big conflict might be someone not sharing, or someone feeling left out. Anything with a plot was too much.

Just last summer Lisa and I took them to Elmo in Grouchland when it was on for free at the mall, and we had to leave after 20 minutes because there was an actual bad guy--dressed in black and everything--who stole Elmo's blanket and had a really bad attitude about it.

Both girls were uncomfortable so we left - no big deal. And then that very afternoon (I don't recall how it actually happened), they sat all the way through Shrek on DVD--including the fire-breathing dragon--and loved it. I ask you.

So for the next six months or so, they were very insulated children (television wise) who also loved Shrek--which, yes, we rented for them from time to time. Like the time they got lice and I knew I'd be picking nits for a few hours...I figured I might as well rent something I'd enjoy too!

It may be that their tastes are just maturing, or maybe it's the influence of school and many MANY days at the abuelos' house where I'm somewhat skeptical (in fact dead sure) that they are not actually limited to Discovery Kids, as requested...Probably it's both.

So at home I'm protecting her from Elmo and when she's out of my sphere she's starting to see standard Disney (plenty of plot & bad guys there), Powerpuff Girls, Sponge Bob, Pokemon.

They were given a video for Christmas that seemed like it would be an okay transition, and one day recently when Robin was sick in bed I sat and watched it with her. It really was a good one - the conflict was about a bush plane coming in and possibly taking the mail delivery job away from the sled dogs in Alaska. Animated, told from the dogs' point of view and with no bad guys, it was great.

So I (watching with her for the day) went out to get more videos and decided to risk Monsters Inc. We watched it and she did like it, but in retrospect I think that may have been a Pandora moment.

When I let them pick out their own videos in the past they were content to stick with old favorites like Bob the Builder & Clifford, sometimes branching out as far as Hello Kitty and Strawberry Shortcake. But now they're perusing the entire stock of "children's" videos...some of which are way off limits yet...but I guess it's time to let them push the envelope. I don't intend to shelter them from all conflict ever - but I was perfectly happy to let them self-select that, as long as they were happy with positive, educational fare, I figured So much the better.

But now it looks like I'm going to have to start watching with them for a while, at least until we redefine the field. We got Spirit this week. It's an animated film about a wild horse in the "Old West" that gets captured by the Army, rescued by a Lakota Indian, captured by the railroad builders, rescued by the Indian...certainly more historically accurate than the old-school cowboys & Indians, and a touching story, but I'm just not ready to sit three and six year-olds down in front of violence (much of it implied, some of it explicit) and mistreatment of people and animals. There will come a time for learning about all of that, but we're not going to call it entertainment and rent it for bedtime. I watched it with them, then explained that we won't be getting it again. (Of course, Robin had already seen much of it on television...)

It's hard to figure out which videos to try - today we ended up with 101 Dalmatians and The Little Mermaid. I'm letting them watch 101 by themselves right now (although I'm starting to remember about Cruella Deville - I wonder...) I think I'll watch The Little Mermaid with them tomorrow. Maybe once we've expanded the options a little, they'll be content to settle in to a broader selection. Not that our local video store has that broad a selection anyway...


Dot March 30, 2005 10:45 AM  

Hi Jen, Thanks for much for the blog. Lisa just emailed me the address and now I can keep up with you and your family myself. I loved the first one...about the movies. Take care. dot

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