The last time my mother babysat, she left this little present for Junior:
I’ve written before about my disdain for Caillou, the sickly looking character on PBS Kids. Junior loves him; I feel nauseous whenever I see him. The life depicted on the TV show is sickeningly sweet. Yes, it’s a kid’s show but do people really giggle incessantly over nothing? Does the family ever have a bad day?
Apparently, yes. Caillou and his family do have crappy days—in their print lives. “Caillou Hurry Up!” features a leaner and meaner Mommy and Daddy. In fact a more apt title for “Caillou Hurry Up!” might be “Mommy and Daddy Resent You, Caillou, Because We are Tired and Overworked.”
Without boring you, a quick synopsis: Mommy and Daddy oversleep. Mom tells Caillou to eat breakfast. The damn cat knocks over a plant. Dad yells at Caillou to get dressed then shoves the cat outside.
On the way to get dressed, Mom screams at Caillou for not eating breakfast. Then, tragedy strikes: younger sister Rosie is sick. Mom has to drag her to grandma’s so she can go to work. Caillou tries to liberate the cat. Daddy loses his shit on Caillou for not eating or getting dressed and—horrors—wanting to go to grandma’s too.
Caillou cries. Daddy apologizes and says he’s tired, blah, blah, blah. Mom pours her Screwdriver into her travel mug and whisks Caillou off to daycare. The end.
With each page turn, I grew more depressed. Where were the giggles and hearts I so despised but Junior so craved?
Save the whales!
I felt I needed to give Junior a post-story recap.
“Look,” I told him, “it’s not Caillou’s fault his parents woke up in pissy moods because they can’t properly set their alarm clock. And it’s perfectly reasonable he’d want to protect the poor cat and go to his grandmother’s. He’s four. Everything about his behavior is normal for a child. The morning’s derailment is Caillou’s parents’ fault, not Caillou’s.”
Junior said he understood, but when he wasn’t looking I hid the book under the couch cushion.
I tried to understand why I was so bothered. Why did I care so much about a creepy, hairless kid? Then it hit me. The story reminds me of what I hear in grocery store parking lots and on playgrounds and at daycare and pre-school drop-offs every day, which is: WE ARE IN A HURRY. MOVE IT. COME ON! GET IN THE CAR. GET OUT OF THE CAR. HURRY UP. I SAID NOW.
Just yesterday I watched a mother slap her son for shouting good-bye to his friend from his carseat because “We have to get going, Bradley!” This morning, as Junior and I walked into pre-school, a mother threatened to leave her crying daughter in the parking lot because “I’m going to be late for work, Cassandra! HURRY UP.”
This hurry-up-or-else mentality is kind of horrible, and it’s kind of prevalent.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we slowed down for a minute and really looked at what our children are asking of us while we’re doing all this yelling. That little boy in the carseat was excited to say good-bye to his friend. That little girl just wanted to spend more time with her mother. Stupid Caillou just wanted to save his fugly cat.
Now I don’t know, maybe Bradley yells from his carseat 24-7, and his mom has had it. Or maybe Cassandra cries and dawdles in the parking lot every morning, and her mother has had it. I’ve certainly lost my patience because Junior is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to walk to the car. And I’m certainly not suggesting we put life on hold to meet our children’s every whim...
...But it seems that there are a lot of people who are perpetually pissed off at their kids because they’re a hindrance to their busy schedules, and the bottom line is that it’s not the kid’s fault.
(Did I mention I really hated "Caillou Hurry Up!"?)
I’m making a conscious effort to hurry Junior less. I really am. If you’d hurry up and comment, DAMMIT, I’d know how you feel, too. I MEAN NOW. YOU'RE MAKING US LATE.