Currently I am being given the opportunity to watch Pocoyo. I call this an opportunity rather than expressing it as a torture situation to help me get through it.
Don’t get me wrong, I quite like Pocoyo, but my small person will insist on not only watching the same things over and over again but also in telling me what is about to happen, over and over too. This is enough to drive anyone crazy and I only have to deal with it at the weekend because, in the week, I am usually late back from work, or away with work, and Daddy deals with it all. But be it in the week, or at the weekend, there is a constant threat of Pocoyo, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Pokemon, (I never noticed all the ‘P’s before) the Lego Movie, Humf and Button Moon.
This is an odd mix for an, as she keeps reminding me, “only just” eight year old. Pre-school programmes mixed in with titles aimed at older children and a blast from the past. We like to be a little bit populist and a little bit hipster in this family. Grown up programmes enjoyed by Charlotte are ‘Nothing to Declare’ (a programme about Australian Border Control), ‘Monkey Life’ (a programme about the apes and monkeys at Monkey World), ‘The First Hour’ (a programme where two ‘grown’ men play the first hour of a video game and generally do so badly that I wonder how they ended up as presenters on a channel that is all about video gaming) and ‘How It’s Made’ (a programme about how things are made!).
Pocoyo, Humf, Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig all fall into the pre-school category and we are not allowed to mention them too much to any classmates or friends of Charlotte or it leads to teasing. In fact at Charlotte’s recent birthday party her friends stated that they “hate” Peppa Pig, much to her dismay. I told them that I love Peppa Pig so that caused some debate as they pointed out how old I am and that it is a programme for babies. I advised them all that either I am secretly a baby, or, that when you grow up you stop worrying about what you are supposed to like based on age, gender, friends etc etc and you decided to just like what you like. During my lecture on this they mostly all lost interest and ran out into the garden to get away from me.
Pokemon and the Lego Movie are aimed at older children, and adults, and these are more in line with age expectations for Charlotte. However, they do not conform to gender expectations. So sometimes we have to convince Charlotte that her choices are OK and not to worry that many of her female friends are not fans. As for me, as a parent, Pokemon is quite appealing because it reminds me of when I used to watch ‘Mysterious Cities of Gold’ and ‘Viki the Viking’, my first exposures to Japanese animation. The Lego Movie, is also a good watch and tends to make me laugh on each viewing. However, even these gems wear a bit thin as I have a little voice in my ear saying “The next bit is really funny.” and “There is a great bit coming up.” etc etc.
The wildcard entry, Button Moon, is a triumph of 70s TV over modern. I have no rose tinted glasses, most 70s and 80s TV was pants. There are lots of great parts of modern life and television, but Button Moon is so simple and gentle and funny. That Charlotte can enjoy something that I remember so fondly is a lovely thing, however, she can always make it less lovely by reciting whole episodes to me and wondering why I cannot remember them all if I watched them as a child. Apparently they should be permanently scored onto my memory, readily accessible at all times.
I expect I am not alone in the experiences I describe here, and I take solace in the fact that most of Charlotte’s TV choices are not mind-numbing or sugar coated. She does sometimes treat me to Dora and Friends which makes me want to tear out my eyes and pop them into my ears to block the sound and sight of it. Generally, however, I can cope with the watching experience and can enjoy it if allowed to find out what happens next without pre-warning that is a “good bit”, “funny bit”, “boring bit”. However, if someone can recommend something else that is interesting for us, her, to get into that would be appreciated as I am not sure I will cope with another eight years of the same.