Thursday, April 23, 2009

When television as a babysitter goes wrong

I am far from perfect. I would like to think I am a pretty good mom. I give The Diva lots of love, nurturing, she's fed, clean, hair taken care of. I encourage her to try new things, wipe her tears away when she is sad, provide her with a variety of age appropriate activities, laugh at her jokes, gently discipline as needed-you get the idea.

I will be the first to admit that tv is watched in our house. The Diva is a fan of tv. I limit it, but sometimes tv really does help me to accomplish around the house tasks. Such as dinner. I let The Diva watch a television program while I prepare dinner. Usually something pre-recorded on the dvr (Word World, Between the Lions) or something on Noggin. The Diva likes Max and Ruby. Even though I find Ruby to be a horrendous nag, I let The Diva watch it. So, when Daddy-0 turned on Max and Ruby for Diva and left the room, and then left the house, I thought everything was fine. Until I heard my little girl scream a terrified scream. I thought she was hurt. I went running to her as she came running to me. Apparently Daddy-o paid no attention to the tv channel and only to the show. He saw Max and Ruby, and turned it on. It wasn't on Noggin, it was on Nickelodeon. Big difference. When M and R ended, Sponge Bob came on. The Diva didn't let me know, even though she doesn't typically watch those shows. Her curiosity got the best of her. As I held her in my lap and wiped her tears (which according to her when she retells the story were "dripping off her face") she told me that Patrick ( a character on the show unzipped his body and there was a gorilla inside and the gorilla put everyone in a bag. Scary right? I reassured my girl that it was pretend, and told her I was sorry the show scared her. She seemed better.

That night as she was falling asleep, she called out to me and asked what we were made of. I gave her a brief, accurate, 3 year old friendly answer and she went to sleep.

Fast forward to the next afternoon. I am in the bathroom and The Diva comes barging in, as usual. She knocks on her ribs and says, "Mommy, what are these?" I explain ribs and their function, and show her that I have them too. She then says, "Yes, but I have a monkey living inside here." Then it hit me. Stupid Sponge Bob. I tried to reassure her that the show was pretend and there was no monkey living behind her ribcage. She wasn't really buying it and I still think she wonders. She has also told EVERYONE we see about the show and how scary it was. I feel awful. I googled the info she gave me, and sure enough, the show in question was about a gorilla dressed up like Patrick, who rips off the costume to reveal his true identity and sticks people in a bag. What a horrible mother I felt like, knowing that letting her watch tv without me in the room has traumatized her. Hopefully one of these days I will get her to believe there isn't really a monkey taking up residence in her body. Parenting is tough stuff!


Shan said...

Yikes! That sounds rough for both of you. The good news is that it'll slip away eventually and will never be thought of again (by her anyway... you may be screwed here) or only much later without all the scariness. The most important thing to remember is that you are an amazing mama and she will be fine. This is not permanently damaging stuff.

Oh, and probably better to keep her away from the gassy foods for a little while or she might think her monkey is talking. :+D

Special K said...

That is one of the funniest things I've read in awhile. Wow!!!! Too hilarious. Sponge Bob is my 5 year old all the way and I hate the darn show. there are definitely some weird things on it!

C. Beth said...

Oh, man--that could so totally happen to me. I definitely don't usually watch TV WITH Chickie. She will get over it, though it is really hard as a mom to see our little ones get scared!

Ha--Shan's comment about her monkey talking is so funny!