Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is It Me?

When I read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in 3rd grade I was shocked at the lack of selection in Alexander's local shoe department. The choices for "sneakers" (an archaic term to me) were white with blue stripes (desirable), red with white stripes (desirable), blue with red stripes (desirable), or plain old white (undesirable). I could not believe this. In my short life I had seen pink with darker pink stitching, blue with white stripes, tan with blue stripes, pink with darker pink stripes, and light blue with white stripes. I had also seen saddle shoes with Winnie the Pooh on them and maroon school shoes with a potato chip heel. (Oh man. I sound like how old people sound when they say "saddle shoes with Felix the cat on them" or "matador boots with the cuban heel." Yikes.) Poor Alexander! He must have lived in the olden days. In fact, the book was published in 1977, just a few years before I read it. It was also a few years BEFORE Led Zeppelin broke up and John Lennon was shot which, in my mind, seemed to have happened before I was born. But I was actually my daughter's age (8) when those milestones from the olden days occurred. Whoa.

I started thinking about this when I was looking for a Trapper Keeper for my son. I can't believe how many different kinds there are now. When I was in grade school I could have chosen the red one with a white flap, the blue one with a white flap, or the green one with a white flap which would probably have been sold out so I would have been forced to get the plain old blue canvas number and had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I'm getting him the binder to use at school. That's another thing. We just went to parent teacher conferences (now called SEP and I don't know why). Sam's great of course but his teachers talked about him being "quiet." I just don't get it. For all the difficulty of being shy as a child the one place it served me well was at parent teacher conferences. "She's so quiet!" Remember how it was good to be quiet at school and bad to "visit with your neighbor"? Now you are supposed to speak up.

I started thinking about this when I was watching TV with Ben, my 4 year old. I hate pretty much all the kids on TV. Why is that? They are all vocal and confident. There's no sulky Alexanders. There's no fat Blubbers. There's no insecure 4th Grade Nothings. In my day the only over-confident out-spoken person we saw on TV was Bugs Bunny. And he was a grown up rabbit. And we loved him for his audacity. Here are some of the contemporary characters I hate: Max, Emmy, Franklin, Caillou, the Backyardigans, and Dora. (I did like Kipper but you don't see much of him anymore.) And I hate kids in real life who act like those characterst. Is it me or do you see more of that kind of kid these days? A really out-spoken obnoxious kid used to be a rarity and was funny and wonderful like Rachel Miner or Chris Low. Now there are so many that it's no fun anymore. Could it be that life is imitating art or do you think the TV shows are just a reflection of how kids are now and if they are, why are they like that now? Is it because they never hear Morgan Freeman say, "It's a T, stupid." like I heard on the Electric Company? Are they better off thinking tiny helpless creatures like hampsters can save the world? Because--you know they can't, right?


  1. I LOATHE Caillou. I hate him so freakin much I can't even stand to be in the house when his show is on. And what's with the lack of hair? I mean, it would be totally fine if he had a disease that they addressed and explained, or if his siblings also had no hair, like how some shows have people with yellow or blue skin. But it's like his baby sister Rosie has a full shock of flaming red hair and Caillou: not a single Charlie Brown strand. WHY!? And please don't get me started on his voice! Not to mention the voices of his vapid stuffed animals and cat! And I think we are sending our kids the wrong message that they own the world and it revolves around them and they are entitled to anything and everything they want. Bring on the "it's a T, stupid." I miss those days.

  2. Ahhhh...Morgan Freeman in his prime...I LOVED the 'fro...

  3. It's not you. Unnaturally precocious children on TV just drive me batty.

  4. Even worse: child actor haircuts. Why do all these loud, precocious children have long, shaggy hair? Is it in their contract? Does it test well for the 4-16 age group? Is it part of SAG negotiations?

  5. Did you know they have an ALL Led Zeppelin channel on XM now? It makes me happy.

  6. Are firstborn sons preternaturally quiet/shy/insecure? Mine is.

    Also, I don't believe in children being present in parent/teacher conferences. Until maybe junior high. SEP schmessEP.

  7. The Electric Company used to make me want to kill people. Seriously. I don't know why.

    So few kids on TV look like real kids either. I like the kids on Medium - they look real, even though they are still obnoxious. They are obnoxious in a real way. Of course I haven't seen that show in about a year, so it's possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.

  8. Anonymous5:23 AM


    Or Carly's comment will look like a sentence in comparison to my diatribe!

    But Alexander, great character-great book!

  9. Last year, at every SEP, we heard that A-- talked too much. (We were not surprised.) He wouldn't let others answer questions during guided reading discussions because he knew all the answers and refused to acknowledge that others might know them too. He's improved a little bit at school this year, but good hell. The kid can't let anyone at home finish a sentence before he interrupts to tell us how absolutely wrong we are. Can he take lessons from your Sam?

    You do know that they don't call them Trapper Keepers anymore, right? Or at least so I've been told. Maybe I'm up in the night.

    Caillou should be shot. That kid is freaky. And whiny.

  10. can you shoot a cartoon? If you could the Dad from Family Guy would have been toast a long time ago. I hate Caillou too... but mostly I resent his unnaturally patient parents. Don't they ever get frustrated? I do! and my kids are nowhere near as annoying as that little round headed guy.

  11. What about Olivia from Cosby show?..and Rudy? I'm with you, Caillou is a total whiner and Dora's shirt is short and her socks don't match...maybe my reasons are different for not liking them, but I'm with you on the TV personalities.

  12. Caillou should be shot. That kid is freaky. And whiny.

    I agree.

    I'm new to your blog.


  13. Caillou is awful, so whiny. Ammon and I wonder why he looks like he is at least 6 and has no hair?!?!


    I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. I haven't allowed my kids to watch Caillou in YEARS. I hate that his voice is a grown woman's voice. And whiny too. And I tell my kids exactly why they can't watch that show. I say, "Because that kid is a whiner and his parents are wimps."

    Loved the Trapper Keepers with the beach scene of Hawaii or something tropical like that. And don't forget Peachee folders. Those were awesome!


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