We’ve recently reached an interesting age with our three year old son. This child, who for the majority of his life up until now didn’t care a hill of beans about what was happening on the TV unless it was trucks or trains, has decided he’s interested in and must learn about everything onscreen. He’s like a tiny anthropologist, whipping out his notes and asking me what’s happening in commercials.
Previously safe programs, such as Parks and Recreation, The Office, Scrubs, and Arrested Development are now out because the content is…Well…How do I say this? There are enough references to sex or PG13 words to convince me that these programs are no longer appropriate for my budding scientist. They’re far from filthy, but I’d be quite angry with myself if Aidan picked up on sexual themes before he’d ever even entered preschool, you know?
In an effort to still watch something together while we eat, I’ve been trying out various documentaries. We tried Rick Steve’s Euope, which was fun and child approved, but was kind of exhausting to watch with a child intent on knowing what every single thing is and how it works and why it works and who is that and where are they going and AHHHHH!
We tried a National Geographic documentary series called Amazing Planet, but the narration was so dire and terrifying I couldn’t in good conscience let my kids watch it. Case in point, the volcano episode. Actual line pulled from that episode: “You might see this and ask, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ The answer is: Hell, actually.” Seriously. What is the matter with this show?
We’ve settled on Planet Earth for now. The kids love the animals, and the narration is that apparently miraculous combination of a) Child appropriate and b) Not completely macabre.
We were watching the Mountains episode today and it was while David Attenborough was explaining Pandas that I realized I may not be all that impressed with them. To wit:
* Giant Pandas can’t migrate, because the bamboo they depend on only grows in one region of the mountains way up high. They’re basically stuck in horrible weather and freezing conditions because they only eat the one thing.
* The bamboo they live on is so poor in nutrients, they can’t even hibernate because they can’t build up enough fat to do so.
* Their cubs have a dismal survival rate because they can’t produce adequate milk to feed their babies. Again, because of the bamboo.
I mean, doesn’t it kind of seem like bamboo is to blame for many of their problems? And yet they haven’t managed to evolve the ability to eat something else. They’re just puttering around the mountain slopes of China, eating their crappy plants and freezing to death and starving their babies.
I don’t know, I just feel like while it’s sad and all that Giant Pandas are dying off, they could kind of do their part too, you know? They’re just being lazy or something. There’s no fight to them, no will to live. I’m not sure I can summon the will to throw a whole bunch of effort around saving an animal that, quite frankly, doesn’t really seem to care either way.
Maybe I’m just mean, though. Or I’ve watched too many wolves separating baby caribou from the herd. All I know is, if bamboo is to blame for all your problems, put down the shoots and MOVE, man.