Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Documentation and Banishment

I'm glad that I wrote about Monday's experience, because yesterday certainly had its moments where I wondered which child was the real The Boy--the one from Monday or the one from yesterday.

Of course I already know that children in particular and all people in general have their quirks, have their good days and bad days, and that perfect consistency is a pipe dream of the parenting experts and has no real basis in reality. People are inconsistent. We do our best to provide routines for ourselves and our children and to expect that things will usually stay the same, but then, they don't. Being prepared to "move with the cheese" makes life quite a bit easier.

Yesterday, Green Arrow was banished indefinitely. He's a superhero, friend of Batman and the DC comics crew, and cheap plastic toy that shoots little arrows. I was not a fan of this toy pretty much right from the beginning, not only because it shot little arrows (it came with 2 2-inch plastic stick-things) but because it was another annoying plastic toy to add to the collection of things we can't find when The Boy wants them. I was attempting to pick up the couch cushions from the floor, and the children were unhappy about it. The Boy picks up Green Arrow and shoots him at me. I was upset by this. I didn't show him a lot of anger; I just took the toy and went to hide it away so that he wouldn't have it anymore, and I told him that it was not okay to shoot anything at a person, even more so than just hitting a person. I didn't bother with anything like time-out, which doesn't do much for him anyway, because taking the toy and having him throw a fit about it and be upset was "punishment" enough. He asked about the toy a few times during the day and asked Musical Daddy for it when he returned home. I said that Green Arrow had been banished and, later, explained why.

We agreed that The Boy was too young for toys like that, with the possible exception of the more gentle water-squirting toys. They don't really understand the difference between what shows up in stories and on TV versus what is actually acceptable in real life. A friend mentioned something about her son hitting her daughter with a frying pan, having seen it in a movie. Same age. They just don't get it. So we have to watch them very carefully, and it's up to us what they can and cannot play with, and what they can and cannot watch.

I'm sure that plenty of my readers will criticize me for letting him watch Batman, or any television, in the first place. I don't have a problem with kids reading stories from comic books and kids watching stories and movies, particularly if it's something that the family enjoys together. Musical Daddy is an avid consumer of media and has been a comic book collector for over 30 years. It's something that he wants to be able to share with the kids, as they become more ready and more interested.

As for TV in general...well, that's an entirely different topic. I choose to let my children watch TV and watch with them, and we pick what they watch. We don't have it on just for background because our TV watching is very deliberate. We almost never watch TV when it is actually on; it's all OnDemand or on our computer or on Netflix, which means no commercials. If the kids ask for something, we'll put it on, but unless they ask, we don't. Particularly now that the weather is (usually) nice and it's so easy just to walk out the door and play.

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