Having children gives you the opportunity to appreciate anew all the wonderful stuff you take for granted when you become an adult, the classic children’s books and films and cartoons you grew up with are part of that.
Lately I’ve been discovering that sometimes the reverse happens, and your children actually make you hate the things you once loved.
Repetition breeds contempt.
Kids are immune to repetition. Ask any parent whose kids saw Frozen how many times they’ve heard “Let It Go” in the past two years? Kids will listen to the same song, watch the same movie, wear the same pirate/princess/superhero outfit every single day for months, until, suddenly, with little warning, they switch to something new. They’re like superstitious athletes except instead of them winning games, you lose your mind.
Parents have a much lower tolerance for watching/hearing/doing the same thing over and over again. I have little interest in ever seeing another episode of “Rescuebots” or putting my son to bed with my 3000th reading of “Goodnight Moon”. When you’re an adult, kid’s stuff gets old, fast, no matter how much you may have once loved it. One of the joys of parenting is passing your pop culture favorites down to your kids, but I’m beginning to worry it may backfire on me.
Whether it’s the repetition, or finally seeing something through adult eyes without nostalgia goggles, or even by seeing the latest insipid reboot, my love for some old favorites is diminishing. (It’s mostly the repetition.)
Because the stuff I loved growing up? It’s crumbling before my eyes.
It may change with the material. One day, when he’s older, I’ll sit my son down and we’ll watch Rosemary’s Baby and Taxi Driver, and “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights”. I’ll let him download my streams of OK Computerand OK Computer and Highway 61 Revisited. I’ll even let him borrow my dog-eared copies of “1984” and “The Toy Collector“. But right now, he’s only (almost) five, so my best bet to is to introduce him to the stuff I loved as a kid.
Even now, some things are indestructible. Star Wars will never get old (Mom and Buried may beg to differ), and I’ll rewatch the original Superman movies anytime. I’ve seen “The Karate Kid” 537 times and I’ll still watch the tournament RIGHT NOW. (Seriously. Is it on YouTube?) But the old “Amazing Spider-man and Friends cartoon? The original “Inspector Gadget” theme song? The “Cat in the Hat” and other Dr. Seuss books that I used to love?
Make it stop. Make it all stop.
Thankfully, kids have far more media at their fingertips than we ever did. Repetition was hard in the 80s; I was a slave to whatever movies were on HBO that month/year, or the random cassette copy of “La Bamba” that we inexplicably owned. But Detective Munch has nothing if not options. And exploring those options is my best bet at staying sane.
I recently mentioned that he’s been watching the new “Scooby-Doo” show, which is surprisingly tolerable, even though he keeps calling me Mr. E. But he has pretty much seen all of those now, so we’ve moved onto the new How to Be a Dragon show, “Dragons: Race to the Edge”, which was spurred along by my membership in the Netflix #streamteam. They sent a package of dragon-themed stuff (including Bugles! Remember Bugles? They’re back, in dragon-claw form!) to encourage us to check out the show, and so we did, and now my son is hooked. He already liked the movies, and he loves Toothless. I’m cool with dragons (even though everyone knows real ones wear glasses and can talk), so we’re not at the “watch something else before Daddy goes insane” breaking point yet. But if history is any indication, we will be soon, unless we find something new.
Which we will. It just definitely won’t be something old. I can’t take the risk that the He-Man cartoon doesn’t hold up anymore.
Except for the ones Mom and Buried provides for me.