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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toddler entertainment: Disney, Why we are afraid of raccoons, and How Laurie Berkner saves rainy days

borrowed from

As zaiki get older, I find them more and more entertaining. It’s fun to watch their little brains work and make connections between reality and make-belief.  

Little Sonya for the past month has been afraid of raccoons. In the mornings, her first words to me usually were “mama, raccoons are coming”; “raccoons are going to eat me” and other pleasant variations. Then she’d run outside and scream at the birds: “watch out birds, raccoons are coming”. Raccoons became so scary they overshadowed our other nemesis, The Giant Oatio, who was “coming to eat my face”, according to Maya.(WTF, right? Still can’t figure this one out, if you have any suggestions, please comment below).

Since raccoons that I’ve met in my travels across children’s literature are usually cute and cuddly, they are pretty random creatures to be afraid of. We just chucked it up to Sonya being Sonya, but the stories of raccoon atrocities and warnings to the birds persisted. Then, one busy weekend morning,  I put on Disney’s “Lion King”…

As it got to the part where two stupid lion cubs are gallivanting across the elephant cemetery, Sonya started yelling for me to come sit with her because raccoons were coming. Did you figure it out yet? She meant hyenas, since wonderful Disney animation gave them dark patches around the eyes that were akin to a raccoon’s mask… And the aforementioned hyenas catch the poor Toucan bird and stick him in a fire…See the logic? Isn’t it so creative, imaginative and overall amazing that she was able to make the connection?

So I am holding Disney responsible for my children’s disrupted sleep and foundless fears. And my babysitter for showing them a Disney “Halloween” compellation DVD that included the scary snippet in the first place.

On the other, anti-Disney end of the spectrum, we have such children’s entertainment as Yo Gabba Gabba, Caillou, Jack’s Big Music Show. (I’m not mentioning Dora and Wonder Pets because I hate them and their whiney voices. I hope that The Giant Oatio eats their faces).

Jack’s Big Music Show introduced us to our favorite singer, second only to Mama – Laurie Berkner. Both Kevin and I agree that she is the best thing that happened to children’s music since the Wiggles. She is actually listenable. And funny. And a Rutgers grad (just like me!!!!). Her videos are bright and colorful, they don’t overstimulate zaiki, they enjoy dancing and singing her songs, like “I’m not perfect”, “Party Day” and “5 Days Old”.

It’s light entertainment and holds their attention on cold or rainy days while I try to have breakfast or get something done. And I fully expect to get a free family pass and a backstage meet-and-greet after this shameless promo entry.

Now Sonya doesn't mentions raccoons anymore, only if we happen to be outside in the dark. The Giant Oatio doesn’t appear in the repertoire either. Waiting for other fears to raise their heads as zaiki keep exploring the world around them and expanding their worldview. A giant potty, or a tooth brush maybe? Broccoli? 

Meanwhile, my strategy for TV and DVD viewing is this: about 2 hours a day total, more Laurie Berkner and less Disney. J

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