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About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Projectile vomit always makes me extra reflective

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?


Pricilla said...

Sometime before Bambi's mother bought it.

blognut said...

Good question. The world just chips away at innocence.

And Caillou? OMG! I had almost put him out of my mind.


judemiller1 said...

I was raised in the age of innocence and it didn't hurt me to think the world was rosy--when I became an adult I found it wasn't, but by then I could take it. I tried to raise my kids that way too--what else is childhood for? Junior will be just fine--he will gradually learn what life is like, but with the background you have given him, I think he will always see the positive side of life, no matter what.

Keely said...

I want to know why Caillou is so fracking WHINY if his life is perfect. I swear my kid learned to whine from that show.

And I don't have an answer. I think everyone becomes aware of the world's general suckitude sooner or later. All we can do is hold it off as long as we can.

Mad Woman said...

I had to ban Caillou in my house because he was so damn whiny and my kids were starting to whine more than usual. And then Barney got banned because he was too perky and making them wonder what the hell was wrong with mommy.

I do worry about the future for them...but then I have another gin and it's all good again.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

Gawd, I can't stand Caillou. He's such a whiny little brat.
It sucks to watch their innocence drain away.

阿楊 said...


Lindy said...

Looks like I got out of kiddy shows just in time..I have no idea who Caillou is.

BUT - my 7 year old did come inside the other day and said there were boys outside who were "smokin hot" - awesome.

Buggys said...

Keep him that way as long as possible. He'll deal with it when the time comes. It will be much harder for you so get ready!

The Mother said...

The day your little ones discover the world through not-rose colored glasses is emblazoned on your memory forever.

Just start practicing this line, "Life isn't fair, honey. If it were, we'd live with five other families in a four hundred square foot apartment in a police state. And we'd speak Chinese."

Lynne said...

I think I'd whine too if my dad and grandpa wore red shoes. What's up with that? That is one primary colorful dressed family.

Jenni said...

I'm pretty sure gay is the new black, so hopefully he won't be subjected to that kind of teasing. But, it will be something. It always is. Kids are cruel.

Jenni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenni said...

Oh, and P.S. Calliou is Canadian. Explains a lot, right? It's just a better world up there.

Brandy said...

oh i'm so sorry. it really is hard.

Sara said...

I know and I agree. :(

Otter Thomas said...

Kids are cruel for sure, and that sucks. Calliou sucks too. I can't even bring myself to watch it with Braden.

Cris Goode said...

I totally feel the same way... Miss Add has such a heart for people and I know the bullies (and world) with eat her for lunch when it comes to that stuff.

On another note, do you find yourself REALLY disliking Caillou's dad? He really bugs me for some reason... beyond the obvious overall annoyance of the show.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I know this may not be the popular answer, but keep on keeping on. Keep him innocent as long as you can. In our house, that desire has driven us to get rid of satellite/cable tv (we just have the regular network channels), we don't have any gaming devices, and we VERY CLOSELY monitor what our kids do on computer, at friends' houses, and heck even at school.

Still, the bullshit works its way in somehow.

BUT - the bright side is this: if your son has a good solid foundation and parents who consistently tell him about good character, it will make a difference. It really will.

I am going to go out on a limb and sound like a nutjob here... but parents who give their kids TOO many choices, and then also tell them that all choices are valid, make this whole thing worse. like, "Jimmy says curse words all the time. But that's his choice, and it's okay to have that choice! Who are we to say that choice is bad?" Americans are all now so afraid of offending anybody's "choices" that we don't have a backbone anymore to stand up and say, THAT IS NOT A GOOD CHOICE!!! EVER!!!!! Because we've been fed the whole, "America is about freedom for everyone, for everything" bullshit for decades now.

If I've said it once, I've said it like 5 times now: just because we CAN do something, doesn't mean we should. Like, as parents, allow our kids to grow up before they should. So don't feel like keeping Junior innocent is a losing battle. Innocence is a good thing and completely underrated.