a whole year later and i finally break open one of the boxes of toys from his first birthday, inspired after we watched an episode of ‘thomas the tank engine’, which i found INCREDIBLY dull, especially the male narrator. i mean, i like them british people speaking english and all but ho boy, that fella’s like reading from an encyclopedia or something. and why IS it called the island of sodor?? creepy. but at least i learnt the word “shunting”, which i’d never otherwise know if not for thomas, ha ha.
aaanyway, it was definitely a good way to distract him from any more tv. although, err, mommy isn’t exactly bright when it comes to fixing things like train tracks. (see box with pile of unattached tracks.)
well, obviously! i’ve never played with these stuff!
this was as basic as it could get, and at least i got the train moving by placing the battery in the right place. :p
it didn’t take long before he decided to get the train off-track, and on to more exciting adventures over cliffs of sofa, through tunnels of chairs, and across fields of carpet.
by the way, izad was browsing a shop and picked this book, “Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence” by Gerard Jones.
sounds promising. coz i may need to debunk my long-held notion that violent cartoons and gun-toting action is all bad, after all. and this would serve as justification, heh. basically, the author is saying that there are actual positive developmental aspects of fantasy and make-believe through violence, in that it helps children conquer fears and develop a bold sense of self. which hmm, may have something to it coz whenever the little one sees something he doesn’t like, say cockroaches, lizards, his paklong giving him the evil eye for being unruly, he’d brandish his finger and thumb and go “bang bang!”.
a commentary from a website about the book:
Although it may make adults squirm, the idea of the healing power of confrontational media makes a lot of sense when we place ourselves in the shoes of a child. Children are here to learn and adults are here to impart knowledge, but if “knowledge is power” then the lack of knowledge equals powerlessness, which is the central and foremost fact of a child’s life. We grownups know that our kids will eventually be able to do everything we can do, but we tend to forget that “eventually” is a lot further off in kid-time. Constantly frustrated by their inability to control most of the aspects of their own lives, it is only natural that children will seek empowerment in the one area in which they do have control, their fantasy lives. In fantasy, kids can be superheroes or dinosaurs or ninjas, people with the goods to overpower things which scare them, people who can’t be hurt. In this way children achieve the self-confidence to continue to meet the challenges of parents’ expectations, a growing society of peers, and one big damn scary world.
Compare that message with the ones coughed up by parent-friendly fare like Barney, in which the point seems to be “as long as you never stop smiling, you’ll never get hurt,” or Teletubbies, where the grotesque little gremlins constantly make messes but never have to clean them up, and emulating the self-actualization and courage displayed by the Power Rangers looks even healthier. That’s some righteous mojo there, and before parents attempt to discourage such violent play, we should ask ourselves what the effect will be of telling our kids that the fantasies which make them feel better are bad.
and so much for thomas’ train tracks, coz you can guess what they ended up being.
oh well, you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… (yes, mummy was toting her own toy gun off-camera too.)