Excuses, Excuses: Our Couch Potato Drama King Toddler

Hi, I’m a lazy mom. So many eons ago, I thought, I am going to be the best mom evahhh! I was a pregnancy slacker (although I still am with passenger #2) so I’d make up for it by being the best mom evahhh!  I thought I was going to whip cream all the best moms in the world and out bestest them all!

And then the Little Creature #1 was born and I became a mom. So now I’m the one who has been creamed… by motherhood itself. My first few months as a new mom will never inspire anyone else to be a mom. I’m just relieved that I got past that screwball phase.

Fast forward to today. The things I said I will never let my 2 year old do which I snootily wondered in secret why other parents allow theirs to do? Well, let me just say, humble pie, even with whipped cream on top, is not exactly the most scrumptious thing.

I guess I am just not as fussy enough as my notion of what a normal fussy, can-do-it-all super mom should be. This notion stems from the fact that I have a fussy, can-do-it-all super mom. She bakes, she cooks, she sews, she gardens … she does just about e-ve-ry-thing! She frets and she worries a lot, too, which they say, is normal for every mom, every parent. Should I worry more? But worrying is wearying. At the end of each day, I just want to put my feet up, relax, sip some Coke and think about nothing or just be the usual couch potato and watch TV series without thinking too much.

So now we get to the topic of TV.

The Little Creature #1 can do some couch potato hours, too. He can watch TV. He can play with the iPad or watch YouTube clips or movies in it. That’s fine with me.

Here’s my excuse – it allows him to catch his breath. He tends to get overly excited during playtime or nothing time, leaving him out of breath and very sweaty, which is bad for his asthma, which we just recently found out that he has developed. He does get more than enough playtime with gramps or at the park with other kids or horse-playtime with his Dada so he doesn’t just sit around all day hypnotized by the TV. I would be lying, too, if I say that I don’t relish the few minutes of relaxation, meaning no toddler mumbo jumbo shouting, no rolling about, no jumping around, that the TV or iPad allows.

We do filter the things he watches… most of the time.  One night, just before bedtime, I conveniently forgot that he was still awake so he ended up watching “The Conjuring” with us. He jerked in surprise during one scary scene. Then he laughed. Odd about the laughing part, but, whew, I felt absolved.

In my own defense, I do have some rules about TV/movie viewing:

  • Lights out, iPad and TV off at 9:00PM. 9:30 PM if I’m in a considerate mood.
  • No Barney. Jenna Maroney (30 Rock) said it perfectly,  “…..with the sedated prisoner they put inside of Barney…”
  • No kiddie shows where adults wear kiddie clothes and pretend to be little children. Call me crazy but that is one I find even more disturbing (and annoying) than the doll in “The Conjuring”. Humbert Humbert would enjoy the ladies in pinafores and pigtails.
  • No shows where people shoot at each other. At least not right now. I don’t like the thought of him pointing a toy gun at someone which he would most likely do if he sees it on TV. He’s got gunpowder in his blood – with him being a military brat and his mama being a trigger happy military brat and his Dada and his gramps from both sides of the family being in the armed forces and with lots of other war veterans in the family tree. It is inevitable that he will learn how to use some firearm someday. I admit to looking forward to that day when we could all go do some family bonding time at the firing range.  It’s going to be a good physical and mental training for him, but that won’t be for a few more years. We’re lazy but we’re not reckless.
  • No porn. Like, not ever.

There’s no harm in watching Disney, I thought.  I realized a little too late that there may be some scenes that weren’t suitable for his toddler eyes and mind yet. Now he likes to act out some of the scenes.

He likes Beauty and the Beast. He would act out the scene where Belle’s father Maurice tickled Cogsworth the Clock’s feet/stand to check how Cogsworth worked. He would either shove his feet in my face for a tickle or he’d tickle my and his Dada’s feet. Cute.

But he would also act out the scene where Belle went into the Beast’s castle for the first time searching for Maurice. There were times when he would walk around the house, pretending to be lost and sad. He’d say in the same tone of voice as Belle’s: “Papa…Papa…Papa…”, then he’d raise both hands, look at the imaginary Beast in front of him, and say “Wait!!!” Sometimes, he’d gasp like Belle when she saw the Beast for the first time.

He also likes Simba’s  “baptism” in The Lion King. He would pretend to be Rafiki and raise his stuffed toy tiger (same feline family!) for all his imaginary safari friends to behold.  No harm in that, right?

But then there’s Mufasa’s death scene. Weird, but, he loves to act this out. He would position his tummy on one end of his plastic table or lie on his tummy at the side of the bed, hold both front legs of Simba/tiger stuffed toy and dangle it at the other end, then let it fall to the floor. He’d cry, seemingly in a pained tone of voice, “noooooooo!… Dad!” 

And then there’s Jurassic Park, and watching it has become a nightly ritual. I thought the book was cool. So I read it, for about 5 times. But watching the t-rex rip apart some of the cast every single night has gotten wearisome. The Little Creature #1 would act out some of the scenes, too. He’d pant loudly, jump on the bed, climb and hide behind pillows, probably imagining that a raptor is after him.  He keeps us guessing, too, just like playing charades. He likes this scene where Julianne Moore as Sara Harding in The Lost World was climbing up from a cliff after an encounter with the t-rexes and then with someone extending a hand to help her up.  I didn’t get it at first. I was lying on the bed and he’d grab my hand and then he would climb up and down and up and down the side. Sometimes he’d even climb on top of my preggy tummy!  He especially loves it when I, the ever supportive mom, would even hum the Jurassic Park theme song while he climbs up. He has also been calling out to Sara several times, as if searching for her.

He would also roll around the bed, making “ouch” sounds, then sputter and spit. It took him a few takes before we got the scene where Peter Stormare (Lost World) fell deeper into the jungle, sputtered soil and got nipped by little dinosaurs. The Little Creature would also shake off imaginary teeny dinosaurs nipping him all over his body. Sometimes, he’d push his tiny t-rex’s mouth hard against his upper lip as if the plastic toy was nipping him.

Not quite right? Maybe. It just crossed my mind so many weeks AFTER he was already exposed to such shows, and AFTER several times he acted out his favorite scenes.

In a belated effort to “sanitize” his TV watching, we tried to show him an episode of Dinosaur Train from PBS. I thought it was a good starter kit for would-be dinosaur enthusiasts but the cotton candy-colored dinosaurs didn’t hold his attention for too long. He prefers the dinosaurs depicted as authentic as possible, with the claws and jaws and all that hardcore dino stuff. He doesn’t like to watch the other sweet, cute, fluffy kiddie stuff anymore as well. I know I shouldn’t be pleased but I am, a little bit. With taste like that, he’s turning out to be just like his mommy!

So here comes another one of my feeble excuses – I had been exposed to thrillers at a very early age, maybe when I was around 3 years old. I didn’t turn into a violent, sadistic, crazy human being! If anything, it raised my tolerance for horror films. I am surprised that colleagues or people my age are still terrified of horror films. Plus, yeah, sure, they all say, too much TV is bad. But everything is bad. Back in my day, they said that reading too much is bad for the eyes. Whut-evah.

Anyway, it seems futile to prevent him from watching any more shows that are not approved by some toddler film regulatory board especially with people like his doting grandfather and now his dada who encourage him to do so and who downloaded all these documentaries with fighting CGI dinosaurs for him. What we could do is to watch alongside him for some prudent (I can’t always guarantee the prudent part though) adult supervision.

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