Thursday, July 25, 2013

On lying to my 3-year-old

So...I lied to my daughter.  About a Disney show.1

screenshot from Disney Jr

We don't have cable, but somehow we heard about the Disney Channel cartoon Doc McStuffins, a show about a little girl who is a doctor to stuffed animals and toys.  It's gentle, it's sweet, and--its greatest quality--it doesn't make me want to pull my hair out.

We can watch it on the Disney website and it's a perfect welcome-back-to-the-land-of-the-living transition after naptime.  Then last week, there was no Doc because of a technical glitch.

Which meant the player automatically turned on Sofia the First.

Disney, how dare you.

Sofia the First is not inherently a bad show: it's about a village girl who learns she's a princess and now yay! life is one big fairy tale.  In the episode we were directed to watch, Sofia is invited to a royal sleepover.  She's excited, invites a pair of girl friends from "the village" and...they don't fit in.  And the princess crowd lets them know this.

Sure, the story eventually resolves and everybody gets to play, but there's a big chunk of the narrative that revolves around "those girls are different, different is bad, and different doesn't get to play with us"...and that's not a narrative my 3-year-old needs from Disney Jr.

It made me think back to this awful class I took in high school called Teen Decisions.

Oh my word, this class.

This class taught me all about drugs, STDs, promiscuity, eating disorders, shoplifting, suicide...any and all traps that teenagers fall into.  We watched a particularly harrowing movie about a girl who developed anorexia because of the anxiety she felt over life changing too fast around her.  In the end she got treatment and was willing to eat a bagel...but you know what?  That's not really what I took away from it.

From that movie I learned how to avoid eating, how to make people think you've eaten, how to make yourself seem like you weigh more than you do, and how to punch through a hospital wall to hide your food2 and make it seem like you ate it.

In other words, the movie to dissuade eating disorders was more of a how-to manual.

Pookie doesn't need a how-to in excluding others, especially not one that comes with a musical number.

(Also...another princess show?  Really, Disney?)

So, Doc's links are fixed now, and I'm running with the lie that Sofia's are broken3.  I can't hide her from the world forever, but today, the world of girl drama can wait; we've got more important things to do.  Like jumping on the bed and singing our lungs out.

1 In other news, she flopped down on my bed backwards and somehow my toenail ended up in her forehead and she's got a lovely cut above her eyebrow. So on the parenting scale I'm batting a thousand.
2 Can I just pause to say "yikes"? YIKES! That little nugget cannot be unseen or forgotten. So thanks, Teen Decisions. Also, the 27 names for cocaine you taught me? Super helpful and totally applicable to real life.
3 But we don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa, so I get two gimme lies, right? Right?

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