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Archive for the ‘Preschool Rockstar’ Category

A typical exchange these last couple of weeks. Preschool Rockstar would be acting squirrelly (a common thing right before school), and Hubs would comment, “You are a monster!” to which Rockstar will say in a loud volume, “I’m NOT a monster, I’M A PRINCESS!”

I know there’s been quite a dustup over the whole princess deal. There’s some concern over how princess tales and the marketing of the princess label might be damaging to little girls, making them into shallow consumerist spoiled little whiny brats. And how it might be undermining progress the feminists have fought over, making for a generation of girls who are going to swan around waiting for their prince to come.

I’m not concerned. Because at Rockstar’s age, it’s about exploration. It’s about learning who you are. Right now she’s a magpie, and seeing a glittery dress and a jeweled crown? Heck yeah! Who’d NOT want to be a princess when they get to wear sparkley stuff??? She pretends to be a princess and five minutes later, she’s Mommy, putting her baby doll up to her chest and announcing she’s taking care of her baby. Ten minutes later, she’s playing with her horses, or her cars, or whatever.

In a couple of years, we’ll venture out of the modern depiction of princesses who have talking animal companions and princes who may or may not have names. We’ll delve into the original Grimm Brother stories, the original Hans Christian Anderson, the original tales (although the animated movie depiction of Mulan? Didn’t stray too far from the poem it was based off of which was a pleasant suprise). I have several collections like The Serpent Slayer: and Other Stories of Strong Women (which do include princesses).

Tangent alert: I once attended a storytale class, and I realized I was in trouble when the professor declared, “The original Grimm Brothers are just too… SCARY! for children.” The woman didn’t have kids of her own and never really worked with children, only teaching to adults what to tell kids. I should have brought up the Goosebumps books, the Are You Afraid of the Dark? and other stories. I didn’t and I sorta regret not even if she would have flunked me out.

And of course, there will be the talking. What do princesses do? What do you think they are like? I will fully admit to playing the Princess Card when it comes to reminding Rockstar about manners: “Would a Princess stuff her mouth like that?” “Does a Princess leave her room so messy like this?” stuff like that.

Eldest Daughter had been enamored of princesses when she was young– still is to a point, and loves watching the movies and reading the books with her little sisters (I tease her that she does that because she secretly wants to for herself and doing it with her sisters makes a great excuse. She smiles, neither confirming or denying). She’s turning out a stong woman in her own right– and we’ve talked about the downsides of being a princess (how you don’t have any privacy, you have to have perfect manners ALL THE TIME, and how doing things can be complicated and you can’t just pop off to Starbucks for a latte when you have to get your security team to be assembled and scout out the place and and and). But she still will indulge in a fantasy of glittery dresses and balls and feeling like the most special girl in the world.

My final reason I don’t worry about Rockstar and the Princess mindset? At school, she’ll go up to a child– could be in her class, could be another class sharing the same playtime as hers– grab their hand, and announce, “you are my friend! Let’s go play!” and drag them off to play. When I was told this, I was initially mortified, but the teachers quickly reassured me that she is never mean about it, and is always so sweet as she strongarms her new friends (and if they pitch a fit, she will be respectful and let go). She’s strong, independant, and yet can be kind and lovely. So if she likes to pretend to be a princess? She’s one of the best kind out there.

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would you like to hug a monkey?

Of course, it might be better if I knew Art…

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m doing for Toddler Terrorist and Preschool Rockstar’s room. It gets a little hard to do the actual painting, but hopefully I can get the majority done today and have just the detail work to do. That is, if the kids don’t drive me nuts with the bazillion interruptions… also forgive the horrid resolution. I used my Dunderbolt to take the picture (my supposed “smartphone” of which I have had huge problems with. Thank heavens most seem to be resolved with “take battery off, reinstall battery and pray”). My digital camera is dead, Jim, DEAD and I need to find its cable out of the 1,353,978 usb and other assorted cables that’s tangled up in a box. FUN TIMES!

Once I get this sucker halfway decent, I’ll post it in a MegaPost, with plenty of pictures to drive your computer ca-RAZY!

Easy like a Sunday morning. Except when you have kids, then it’s insane like a Sunday morning…

 

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Hate on me if you must, but there are times when children’s TV shows can be useful. Like any tool, if you limit it to when it’s necessary (like… making dinner and you can’t have the kids in the kitchen because it would be dangerous) and make sure the tool is a quality product then there’s a positive outcome to using it. And there’s the rub. It’s gotta be quality. And sad to say… I really think that’s missing from the shows today.

Showing my age, I’m just a wee bit older than Sesame Street. I grew up watching it. My mom felt that this show taught me much more than the preschool I went to, so I only went to preschool for one day (well, the preschool I did go to taught me that cliques are cruel, adults can be selfish tools, and nothing can be more awesome then seeing Mom’s station wagon pulling up to the curb. But I’d like to think that wasn’t quite the prime education they were trying for). I learned silly songs. I learned the alphabet and counting. I learned how wonderful having an imaginary friend can be. I learned that there can be caring adults, like Bob, and Maria and Gordon, and Mr. Hooper. It didn’t matter what color, or species people were, they can be friends. I saw the urban and the rural kids segments, two worlds far and away from the suburb that I was living in. I sobbed my fool eyes out when, much later, I found out the actor Will Lee (Mr. Hooper) passed away– it honestly felt like a dear friend had died, as well as a part of my childhood.

My two older children came along, and they watched a bit of Sesame Street. Then the Red Menace started showing up.

No, not communism. Elmo.

One of the things that harshes my calm is when I hear baby talk. All the other Muppets who spoke, with the possible exception of Cookie Monster, used regular English. They talked… like adults without talking down to the kids. Elmo? Used baby talk. I watched Eldest Daughter (who was wee at the time) start regressing and that’s when I decided these stomping grounds, my childhood playground and learning arena, had ben spoiled.

Today, I turned on Sesame Street to see how well it fared. It caused Preschool Rockstar to get hyper with the frantic pace. Toddler Terrorist really couldn’t have cared less (thank heavens). And The Red Menace was as horrid as ever. Urban decay has overrun Sesame Street, sad to say.

This isn’t a pile-on one show. My ire is for a good portion of the genre. See, I grew up watching shows that weren’t talking down to me. I grew up with shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle where the sly humor was something the grownups could enjoy while the kids watched Boris and Natasha try to catch Moose and Squirrel, or Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman as they traveled through time. Captain Kangaroo with his friends Mr. Greenjeans and Mr. Bunny Rabbit (and Bill Cosby!). Was there crap? Oh, you betcha, but I never really watched them (ok, maybe the Saturday morning cartoons– Superfriends, anyone? But then again, we also had Schoolhouse Rock which was sandwiched between the shows and what I ran to the TV to watch).

Nowadays… it seems like a lot of the shows are an endurance test.  They seem so dratted EARNEST AND MUST TEACH YOU SOMETHING or stupidly dumb where you feel the brain cells actively dying as you watch. Or the shows that revolve around toys and are basically half-hour advertisements for crap. You have to slog through them with your kids; and if you aren’t enjoying yourself, you aren’t enjoying the time with the kids,which is what they’ll take away from it.

Give me shows that engage the brain, but help the kids learn things like concentration, patience, and follow-through. Give me shows that can help define their sense of humor beyond fart jokes. There are ways to teach to without talking down. oh, and while I understand that new concepts are hard to sell and harder to get off the ground with the studios being twits, re-imaginging such shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood (http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/08/mister_rogers_n.php) does not turn me on. Unless they bring Fred Rogers back as a zombie, but I can’t really imagine that working past one or two episodes.

(disclaimer: Yes, my kids do see sunlight. We have a backyard that they play in, a park we go to, and a whole slew of books that I can probably recite to you right now since we’ve read them over and over and over and over and over and… so in case you want to write to me warning me of all the dangers of plopping the kids down in front of the TV all day long, don’t worry. I read the studies, the kids get at most a couple of hours.

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