I called out sick from work today. I could say I needed a mental day and you'd totally understand (right?) but no, Junior and I were legitimately sick. He had another round of the barfing bug, and he gave it to me.
When Junior’s sick, I tend to let him watch more television than usual. It calms him down in a way that Play Dough doesn’t, especially when he’s dry heaving.
By noon, we’d exhausted every episode of Curious George, so we clicked through to see what else was on.
And hence began our journey into the picture-perfect world of Caillou.
Can I just say that, in addition to being a Charlie Brown rip-off, the kid looks like he needs a good meal. He squeaks his words. I kept waiting for the “Caillou has tapeworms” episode—something to explain his pasty pallor and toothpick legs, but nothing too terrible happens in Caillou-land. Mommy and Daddy never yell. Younger sister Rosie never cries. Grandpa and Grandma say the perfect thing.
It was nonstop sunshine and rainbows and Junior loved it. Meanwhile, it broke my heart. Junior's so sweet. He's a fool for good clean family fun. He's also incredibly thoughtful. If I can’t get the lid off a jar he says, “You can do it, Mommy.” After guests leave, Junior says, “I hope they had a great time!”
All of this makes me very nervous because all I can envision is Junior's uncorrupted, eager self stepping foot onto the playground and getting obliterated by the world. They will destroy him.
I know it’s premature to worry about bullying but my brother and Chuck had it bad. For most of middle school and high school my brother was “Le queer” (vive la France!) and Chuck was “fat faggot.” It was endless and merciless.
It’s not just bullies I worry about. It’s all the crap on television. It’s all the skanky billboards and innuendo and smut. It’s all the video game carnage. All the ugly shit.
As Junior sat there enraptured with Caillou, I found myself resenting the fact that Chuck and I have devoted so much time and energy to protecting Junior’s innocence—only to feel like the world is going to strategically disassemble it in a matter of hours.
It kind of sucks.
I know I can’t prevent it, and I don’t mean to sound like I want life to be a Disney movie, but dammit, when did innocence become such a precious and fragile commodity? When?