I buy Joshua books. Lots and lots of books. Whenever we go to Target, I stroll through the $1 section to see what new books they’ve put out. Most recently, I bought him some Spider-man books thinking “Cool. He’s a boy and these aren’t Elmo. Rock on.”
Only the kid has become a bit obsessed with the web slinging wonder.
To the point that he can recognize him on anything. Including the television.
Oh yes, my child watches TV. Definitely way more than “they” would say is either acceptable or necessary. Because “they” would say that TV is NEVER necessary for children under the age of 47. And I’m here to tell you that no-TV is just not going to happen in this house.
See? I love TV. It’s kind of my “thing” next to blogging. In fact, TV is most definitely a hobby of mine and if I could get paid to write TV reviews or be a critic, I’d be living the dream. (Assuming, of course, that the gig paid as much as my current gig doing what I also love doing.)
Also? It is not within the realm of my brain capacity to be able to adequately entertain a toddler for the 12 hours a day he is awake. I just can’t. My brain goes to mush after reading the same book 14 times in a row. I can only play trains for so long without wanting to throw them. It is 400billion degrees here during the summer so we stay inside for the hot parts of the day. And get stir crazy.
Most of the time, the TV is kid-friendly and comes from Nick Jr. or Sprout network. (Or, Thomas and Friends: Calling all Engines that I bought on a whim and which has been on constant repeat in our house for the past week and a half.)
The other day we turned on the TV in the bedroom because he was handing Dan the “mamote” and asking for Taw-Taw (Thomas). Only we found Spider-man instead. And Joshua? Was in HEAVEN.
We have a 5 minute mini-sode of a Spider-man cartoon saved to the TiVo and Joshua has seen it AT LEAST 15 times already.
But when I paid attention to it yesterday, I realized that I wasn’t comfortable with him seeing it.
Spider-man himself isn’t overly violent. In fact, Marvel’s superheroes (at least as I know them) are some of the least violent. But the villains aren’t. And while Spider-man doesn’t kill the villain in that cartoon, the villain does die.
I don’t believe that violence in movies and TV shows causes violence. But I do believe that violence in movies and TV leads to a desensitization to violence. And if anything, I want him to understand and believe that violence isn’t okay.
Which leads me to today.
Joshua is really only interested in watching Spider-man sling his web and swing from building to building right now, which is fine by me. Really. I know that he’s not paying conscious attention to the fact that the bad guy in that cartoon falls off the building. But I KNOW that the bad guy is falling off the building. And I know that Joshua is seeing it.
So this morning we watched the menu screen of the live-action movie for about 10 minutes with Joshua screaming “PI-AH-PAN” and “AH COO!” and “OH WOW!” the whole time. He was enthralled!
And we watched that menu screen and ONLY that menu screen because of the Mama Guilt and Mama Fail and uncertainty in my stomach. At some point, I know that isn’t going to be enough for him to be satisfied. And I don’t want him watching the live action or full-length cartoons of Spider-man, or any superhero movies, for a long, long time.
I know the answer to my dilemma is just not to let him watch these movies or shows, but when he already recognizes this character, because of a BOOK I bought him, it gets hard to hear him ask for it over and over and over and keep telling him “No” and then deal with the meltdowns that follow when I know that all he WANTS to see is Spider-man swing around.
So, Sanctimommies, judge me for letting my kid watch TV, okay? I can handle that. But only judge if you can offer some sanity saving alternatives to screaming toddlers and Thomas on repeat.