There is a quirk to being two. An up-shot. A right of passage. You get to be assertive. Say ‘no’. Enforce your boundaries. Parents may not do as they are told, but they sure as god will listen. This is your prerogative being two. Being heard. Having your say.
And hence 1,000 times a day, Elka tells me she “needs to watch Playschool”. It is not a want, or a desire. It is a need. Like food or water or love. And 999 times a day, I have to tell her sorry, but no. We only watch Playschool after your afternoon nap.
When we were young and free, a bachelor couple you could say, we had a TV but we didn’t have an aerial connection. It was part laziness and part forcing ourselves not to watch crappy TV, only endless series like Six Feet Under or The Soprano’s. And then the Australian Open rolled around, and we needed to get an aerial connection. It was a must.
When we moved to our current house, we left the TV behind. We knew that having it there would entice us, and besides, there was no room. Instead we would spend evenings painting, drawing and writing. But the Australian Open was on again, so we needed to get a TV tuner for our dodgy laptop. It was a must.
In boredom, or for want of new entertainment, one afternoon I googled Playschool and set Elki up on a chair in front of the laptop. The people would stop talking as the Internet connection froze up. They would freeze mid jump or mid song. But Elki didn’t care. She was mesmerised. And so the incessant requests for Playschool began.
Luckily for Elka, the Australian Open was just around the corner, and so we ditched the TV tuner on the laptop and up-graded to a very large square TV dug up from storage – probably the only TV that isn’t a flat screen in our street. The quality is pretty crap, and it takes up half our living room, but the people no longer freeze mid jump or mid song. Because Elki sleeps during the Playschool airing, I bought the DVDs for her birthday and she watches them on loop.
The only time Playschool goes on is after the afternoon nap. So, this morning, when Elka said for the 600th time that she needed to watch Playschool, I explained that she can watch it after her nap. Even though it was only 9am, Elka put herself to bed to wake up five seconds later. Of course, when I explained that that didn’t constitute an afternoon nap, she threw herself around for a bit before finding something else to focus on.
You can quote me on this…I don’t like Hi-5, animations, Teletubbies or whatever the contemporary equivalent is. Kid’s TV is so nutty. But Playschool is awesome. The people interact with you (I mean, the kids) without belittling you (oops, the kids). The games are fun, simple and interesting. They cover everything from whales, to rabbits to tambourines. I love how they act like kids having fun. It’s such a great program. Really, I need to watch Playschool more than once a day, but I have to draw the line somewhere.
While I write this blog, Justine and Alex are singing to my daughter about Peter Rabbit. Elka squeals occasionally for joy, or joins in singing. The rest of the time, her expression is serious and focused, as she clasps a doll fondly called Jemima.
Elka’s happy. I’m happy. It’s Playschool.