Adventures with the Toddler – Chapter Thirteen: Censorship (Warning- Contains no parenting advice.)

Well, the Peppa Pig obsession has returned as has the default setting of “no.” It loves to watch Peppa on my phone and not on the telly. Peppa on the phone, Daniel Tiger on the telly. This makes things hard for me as my phone is my lifeline, I’m never without it and I have control issues if someone else possess it. The other thing is, the Toddler hates advertising – hates it with a passion. Hates it so much in fact that she has taken to flinging my phone away in disgust while yelling “ad!” This isn’t new, but now that da has the latest and greatest i-phone – he sees $$$ in the thousands flash past as his phone hurtles toward a wall. I was never much of a goalkeeper in my limited soccer career, but I would outplay Schmeichel in his heyday at Man United when diving to rescue my phone. I am graceful like a gazelle and beautiful to behold – until my ass falls out of my pants when I bend over.
Da however, is still treated as though he’s a butler –
“Da, cracky egg,” as I rise from slumber to find it tweaking my eyes.
Dutiful da goes and prepares cracky eggs and the toddler climbs up and watches on, giving advice.
“No yolk da. I don’t like the yolk.”
“I know. I remember. This is the eleventh billionth egg I’ve made for you.” I look down to the toddler standing on its stool helping me, to see it’s wrapped one of it dolls in ham.
“Why is the doll wrapped in ham?”
It shrugs and points out that the water is boiling – “Cracky eggs.”

I make the eggs.

Sometime later that morning —

“Da. Away,” it says as it offers me its plate.
Even the wife has taken advantage of butler da and hands me things as I move past to put in the dishwasher or a drink to prepare.
I came home from work last week and it took me a full hour before I could sit down I was running that many errands for the females lolling about on the couch. Great quote I once heard from a friend, “the man may be the head of the marriage, but the woman is the neck and the neck will turn the head where it wants it to look.” I have no illusions about who is really in charge at our place. The Toddler, then the wife. Da just gets to live there.

I built the toddler an add-on to its Ikea stool a couple of weeks ago. The add-on I made is a frame to keep the toddler from tumbling off. It had never tumbled off in the all the months it had the stool, but I finally got around to making the add-on. It’s safe as houses and I’m very proud of it. Heavy screws ensure it’ll never snap or bend and the wife gave it a cool paint job. It looks great and added a couple of feet to the whole structure. I thought it really set off of the kitchen and want to add some pockets to it, so the toddler can keep its dolls and animal toys on hand. Basically, it’s a toddler cage on top of a kitchen stool. I enjoyed making it as I got to use my new power-tools. Power-tools the wife gave me the side-eye for buying as I tried to justify the expense.

I have unwittingly made the toddler a ladder. I walked into the kitchen yesterday to find the toddler had moved the structure to the fridge and was standing right at the very top of it.

Our eyes met as I stood aghast in the doorway. The toddler knew da did not approve and its eyes shifted slightly.
“Need this,” says the toddler as it grabs at a glass jar filled with vitamins sitting on top of the fridge.
The music from Chariots of Fire appeared out of thin air as Da’s got a toehold between a couple of tiles and launched himself – full sprint across the kitchen. Like the best linebacker in history, I threw an arm around 12 kilos of reaching toddler and pulled it off the top of its makeshift ladder as it made a valiant grab for the goodies on top of the fridge.
“Nooooooooooo!” it hissed.
“What do you think you were doing?” Did I really just ask that dopey question? Holy shit, I just became my parents – asking obvious questions to the obvious situation. ‘Of course it’s a cigarette – duh.’ Damn it.
“I need it,” protests the toddler, swiping a hand at the jar.
“You don’t need it. It’s very dangerous to climb high like that,” says I. Then the toddler bucks and squirms in an attempt to escape my clutches. I place it on the tiles and it runs off and I realise I’ve made the toddler a jungle-gym in the kitchen. But I cannot destroy my creation. Not now. Not when the toddler has said, “thank you da. I love it.”

Love. That most elusive beast of truth.

The toddler now “loves” a show called “Daniel Tiger”. Now I know, it seems we allow it to watch a lot of television, but this isn’t true. It has some television time at night before a documentary is put on. I don’t like her latest show but I’m not their target audience. Daniel Tiger’s dad is a sweater-wearing type that always has that one answer for any conflict. Conflict that is sorted out via song, ever so calmly and very annoyingly. The guy never gets rattled and this makes my teeth itch.
His idiot son, Daniel, invites anyone into their house as their “neighbor.” ‘Come in neighbor.’ Yeah, I get it, it’s a cartoon – ‘stop being so literal man. It’s just a kid’s show. Sheesh.’

Yes, I understand that it’s a kid’s show meant to teach conformity; but solving problems through song only ever worked for the von Trapp family, and the father figure in that one started off as dubious and they got chased over a mountain.

Daniel Tiger episodes seem to focus on emotions. So, the miniture person gets emotional on emotions it doesn’t yet understand. The unfortunate thing for me in this world of Daniel Tiger, is the toddler emulates these daft emotions without understanding them. So, Da (and Mama) mainly Mama, try to explain them to the toddler who doesn’t care and just wants to feign sad, mad, bad or whatever idiotic trope got put to song. Okay – it’s all Mama, Da has bugger all to do with explaining anything – he just walks into the living room after being at work all day and asks the pertinent question – “what’s this shit?” But Da has to deal with this nonsense when the wife is out hustling pool, (or attending acting classes) – or whatever it is she says she’s doing.

Ban it then? If you don’t like, you can ban it. You don’t have to let the child watch it. You’re its parent. Forbid it to watch the tiger man. Forbid it then. FORBID IT!

“Hang on there, Tiger. I’m not a card-carrying member of the LNP. I believe in the good things like freedom and democracy.” Those wonderful things we once had before – well now. Like when the ABC was independent, and a potato wasn’t calling for spyware to be implanted in the device of every citizen – you know, the good ol days before the frightened took power.

Now I admit that wanting to punch animated characters is daft and implausible, but it doesn’t stop the desire. There was only one time before I felt it justified and that was when Bart got that stupid racehorse that made everyone question how things got to be so bad. After that episode aired, all of us lost something – mainly innocence – it changed a generation. What I want to know is, was Daniel Tiger raised alone in a room without mirrors, living within his own head with a toenail clipping for a friend? Wondering what his hands, feet and penis were; before finally being punted into his happy-clappy family within “the neighbourhood.” How does he know so little at his age? Surely, he’s carved his name into the school desk by now or stolen a peek at his old man’s adult ‘Tiger mags.’

How is it that he’s such a blank canvass? ‘It’s just a kid’s show man. Ban it if you don’t like it. BAN IT!’

If it was me as a child that dirtied the towels like Daniel did, there would be no breaking into song for me to think about what I’d done to understand my mistake and how I affected those around me. No. I would have coped a pants down, red handed, cheek quivering spanking with a word placed between each strike to emphasize the sin. I would learn and call out, “give me back my bottom!” before running away from home for about half-an-hour.

There’s a lot of advice out there and I get a bit of advice – but that isn’t what this blog is about. This isn’t parenting advice for anyone. My advice if you have a kid or are just about to – is strap yourself in as you are no longer in control of your world. You will watch its edges crumble with each passing week. Sometimes you’ll regret that orgasm, sometimes you’ll wish it happened sooner. You can either try to grasp the unraveling threads of freedom, or turn and embrace the full-throttle of the unknown as you hurtle headlong into the blackhole of parenthood you shall never escape from. But having said that, the unknown is fun. Never look back.

Keep them warm, keep them safe and keep them fed – just learn how to laugh along with them and climb on walls again. They are ball-bouncingly funny and they’re all your problem. I don’t write these adventures as parenting advice. I’m just on a ride, being pulled along by the will of a 2 year-old who sees dinosaurs and fairy’s and is part of the Universe experiencing itself. I think it’s an awesome thing to be a part of.

I have learned the best way to deal with something the toddler likes and I detest, is to simply offer the toddler choices. Like the devil would if you’ve ever read that book. That guy had some good ideas. For example, if the toddler began to enjoy Justin Bieber, I would like to offer a more appropriate alternative in music like Motorhead, Pink or Black Sabbath. Better content aside, it’s all about the choices. It’s how I’ve stopped it doing stupid things for the last year and a bit – make it think by giving it choices or to distract it long enough to remove something dangerous. Choice, you see, is the winner here. Like the choice our government have been giving us for the past few decades – do we vote for democracy or do we vote for Murdoch? Choices make the world go round, (and bullshit, don’t ever forget the bullshit.)

Fun fact: It can’t keep a secret.

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