If you had asked me if I keep a close eye on what my kids watch and read I would have told you “Of course!” – up until about a month ago.
Last spring I found a video called Milo and Otis at our church rummage sale. It was about a kitten, Milo, and a puppy, Otis, who became friends on the farm where they were both born. There is some excitement when Milo falls into the river and is swept away. Fortunately Otis tracks him down and most of the movie is about their respective and then mutual adventures. When we opened the box at home, we were all disappointed to discover that the video inside was “Barbie’s Aerobic Fun” or something equally frightening. Birdie begged to put it in. It only took a minute to know this was nothing I was going to let her watch as I don’t want to spend her college fund at a treatment center for food disorders. It was clearly no good. I briefly explained, removed the video and quickly threw it in the trash.
See: I keep my eyes open.
A month later we were down in North Carolina visiting friends. One morning, my friend, Margaret and I left the dads with the kids and went to a big sale at the fair grounds. I was looking for videos to entertain my colleagues on the 15 hour drive home. The first one I found was Milo and Otis, this time the box AND the actual video. It was not quite two hours long, which was wonderful as every minute without transitions was another peaceful mile down the road. When it was time to head home I handed it to the kids and they were very excited and immediately pushed it into the player. I heard the narrator telling the story and doing the voices. It was clearly a nice movie about a kitten and a puppy, the kids were silently absorbed and so I happily tuned it out.
Although they would watch it from time to time I only caught bits and pieces of it. It took several months before I finally saw the entire movie. It was great: lots of beautiful farm scenery; excitement when Milo falls into the river and is swept away; suspense as Otis tracks him; fun when they finally meet up again and experience many a hijink; romance when they each meet a lady, fall in love and “get married”; and anticipation when both families are expecting young. The film showed them finding winter quarters, getting the ladies comfortable and then soon after, the birth scenes…
That’s what I thought.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think birth is a beautiful and wondrous event, for humans and animals alike, but that does not mean I want my kids to be observing it unless they are one of the key participants…or doctors…or farmers. I just don’t see the need for them to watch it on a video.
So Milo and Otis was removed from the rotation and I forgot about it.
Several weeks ago Eden and I were on Paul’s and my bed. I was reading and Eden was snuggling up next to me pretending to be a cat. She had only been potty trained a few days and I was unconsciously maintaining the hypervigilance of the mother of a recently potty trained toddler. I became conscious of it when my head whipped around and I shut my book because Eden was doing some wiggling.
“What are you doing? Do you need to go potty?”
“I had a pink poopy!”
“What! Where! When!” I jumped up and made a move to whisk her off my bed when she got on her knees and crowed,
“I’M A FODDER! I’M A FODDER!”
And then I realized I had just (out of the corner of my eye) witnessed a cat birth re-enactment.
Paul and I laughed ourselves sore that night when I re-enacted the re-enactment.
“Did you tell her that you had had some pink poopies yourself? And that she was one of them.”
“No…no I did not.”