Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Somebody set me straight on Hip-hop for 5 year olds

December 13, 2006

1. Breakfast done, Dad flips it to The Learning Channel and then heads to the kitchen to ready the school lunch for his almost-five year old daughter.

2. Dad overhears the backbeat of hip-hop music and some rapping.

3. Peeking into the living room, it’s Hip Hop Harry. He’s rappin’ the benefits of sharing, playing fair and staying fit.

4. It’s kinda like Barney, only instead of being annoyingly sanitized and corny, he’s leading a breakdance competition to end the show.. oh yeah, and he’s a bear wearing a big medallion, not a purple dinosaur.

5. In the show-ending dance off, each kid takes a turn in the circle, body-popping, spinning around – y’know all the moves, but everyone – even the girls- are dancing with a very serious, almost grimace on their faces. It’s like they’re saying ‘yeah, that’s right.. I’m a bad mofo..’.

6. Tonight, almost-five year old is quietly singing/rapping, ‘Go Harry..Go Harry..Go Harry..’

Ok. I’m torn. I’m not supposed to pre-judge. I told myself I’d always be open to new things. But in my head I’m thinking, “Hip-hop aimed at 3 to 6 year olds????”

I know that listening to hip-hop doesn’t turn you into a street hood. Even I like listening to it sometimes. But can you honestly tell me it wasn’t borne out of that culture? Why are so many hip-hop videos about SUV ridin’ maniacs tearin’ down da house?

Yo yo yo… I don’t have a problem with the hip-hop. It can be da bomb so to speak. But 3 to 6 year olds?? C’mon. Would there be a complaint if a show was created with goth-type characters to the backbeat of something like Marilyn Manson (does that even have a backbeat?) ?

Am I simply a confused middle-aged Canadian father whose falling into the conservative trappings of so many before him? I don’t have a problem discussing the state of death metal with my 17 year old nephew. Why am I so confused with this?

Somebody please set me straight.

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Raising My Game

November 24, 2006

It is becoming apparent to me that I’ve got to raise my game.

While I have enough trouble managing my own (pitifully uninteresting) personal schedule, I’m bound and determined to do a better job with my progeny. Does it warrant a trip to Office Depot for the ubiquitous fridge-mounted whiteboard calendar? I’m beginning to think so.

If it’s not Pizza Day, it’s Pyjama Day, or Hot Dog Day, or Gym Day, or our turn for Snack Day, or a Field Trip… Just once I’d like to remember some important school date (and any date that is important to my daughter is important to me folks) more than 12 hours before it’s upon us.

I’m honestly not sure if I was born with the scheduling gene, it just comes to me with such forced difficulty that it just *can’t* be natural to me.

And while I’ve got my priorities straight enough to not *really* get flustered with myself when I send her to school with a full lunch on a ‘Pizza Day’, I also want to imprint the message that ‘yes, preparedness is a good thing’.

Although we have set very practical limits on the amount of extra-curricular activities (there *has* to be time for just plain fun after all), winter enrollment in skating already done, and swimming and possibly early spring gymnastics are on the horizon. In other words, the schedule will not be getting any more empty in the coming months and years.

Clearly I have to raise my game.

Innocent and Not Yet Assimilated

November 22, 2006

It was a typically ‘not quite as lazy as I’d like’ Sunday morning. My daughter on the bed, watching TV and waiting for Daddy to get showered-up so we could be on our way to Grandma’s. She’s watching Backyardigans or something similar. Suddenly, she calls out “Daddy, something’s wrong with the TV…”. I peek my head into the room and ask her what the problem is. She says, ‘My show keeps stopping and then … see? There it goes again Daddy!’.

What my daughter was experiencing was a broadcast TV commercial.

Normally she’s always watching TreehouseTV, CBC or PBS. None of the three show any commercials in the middle of their shows and even then, only network promotional commercials between programs (or whatever it is you call it when network advertise their own programming). In other words, my daughter hasn’t seen any (or at least very very few) ‘Barbie’, ‘Polly Pocket’, ‘My Little Pony’, or thankfully ‘Bratz’ commercials in her first 4.5 years of life. That particular morning we had it tuned to CBS or NBC or some such. I explained that it was a commercial, that I thought it was annoying and she’d be better off if I switched the channel. She offered no argument. 😉

One benefit of this has been the fact that we can routinely peruse the toy aisles at the local department store without cries of “I want this” or “Please please please get me that”. Sure, it won’t last much longer, but I’m enjoying it while I can.

Of course my daughter already has at least a dozen Barbies (mostly gifts or fruits of my mother-in-law’s penchant for Saturday morning garage sales) and she’s quite familiar with all the big franchised products when we pass them in the aisle. But there isn’t that intense desire for specific toys yet. If there is a desire, it is not yet strong enough to warrant whining about it – thankfully.

I had simply forgotten about the intensely focused marketing that happens on regular broadcast TV during children’s programming. So long ago are the days when I drooled over Smash-Up-Derby, Stretch Armstrong or the latest and greatest Tyco-TRX racetrack setup (I was the proud owner of a Super-Duper Double Looper no less!).

I look back at those days fondly, but I have no sense (nostalgic or otherwise) that my daughter is missing anything. There’s still plenty of time for her to be coaxed into buying and begging the latest and greatest things by the great advertising machine that is modern media.

For now, she is not yet assimilated. And that, is a truly wonderful thing.

They Always Know

November 16, 2006

If you’re a father…no wait.. a parent… no… actually anybody at all who wants to read a powerful blog post – then read this one.