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Television War: My Son Wants To Watch Violent, Dumb Cartoons

I used to have an awesome bedtime routine with JD. It was called BBB (Bath-Books-Bed). Then one night Uncle Bri babysat and put a CN in the mix. CN stands for…

*Cartoon Network. I.Could.Scream. Wait, I think I have admittedly screamed the past few nights. “No, you can’t watch Cartoon Network! I don’t care what Uncle Bri said.” I don’t like JD watching television to begin with, but when he does (and, yes, he does) I prefer educational shows like Bubble Guppies or WordGirl over Batman, Screwby (Scooby) Doo and every, other show on Cartoon Network—especially Tom and Jerry, that JD calls the cat and mouse show. You know what the cat and mouse do for the entire episode? Try and kill each other! “Mom, why did the cat put the mouse in the oven?” To kill him, I thought.

According to Uncle Bri, JD needs to watch “real” cartoons and not all these "propaganda educational crap cartoons." I completely disagree. Here’s why: JD interacts with Dora and Team Umizoomi. He dances with the Fresh Beats. You know what he does when he watches Cartnoon Network? Sits like a lump on the couch in a daze. Then he acts out what he sees. He transforms into a rambunctious superhero and doesn’t stop—he goes crazy and runs around our condo, zapping things and throwing pillows off the couch. He recently said, “Mom, I’m gonna disintegrate you—POW!” WHAT! Don’t get me wrong, I love playing Glitter Girl and Fire Boy, but not at nighttime, especially after I worked all day, cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and took out the trash alone. And I'm over the "dead, kill, die, disintegrate" talk, BUT maybe my kid is just growing up and this is classic boy behavior?

I miss my quiet nights. There’s a candle glowing, there’s sleepy-time tea for me, JD smells like powder and we sit on the couch and read at least three books—and the book and powder-smelling child both still happen, but for the past week, not without pull. Not without me feeling like I was going to burst or scream or just put JD to bed without a book and snuggly tuck-in. ROAR!

Last night I refused to put on Cartoon Network and JD aggressively knocked over his shopping cart and plastic food went flying everywhere (see burst comment above)! I was so tired from my freelance job+dinner rush. I took a breath and told him to clean up. He said, “No, I’m not even gonna clean up until you put on Cartoon Network. I don’t like you!” We had a standoff for at least 10 minutes. He finally cleaned up every last banana, orange, fork, fry and carton, but then he got a fast shower (the shampoo literally counted as soap on his body as I rinsed it from his hair), not a fun tubby w/ toys and bubbles. He got 1 book, not 3. Of course, I tucked him in and said, “I love you.” But, I also said his behavior was inappropriate and he needs to be a good boy. Honestly, if it wasn’t already going for 9 PM, I would have put him in timeout for the toy food incident, but I didn’t have the energy. Instead, I hid the food cart, smirk.

This morning JD came running into my room declaring, “I wanna watch Cartoon Network, Mom!” It was 5:30 AM. I told him I called the cable company and that Cartoon Network was removed from the TV. “We only have Disney, PBS and Nick Jr.,” I said. I lied. JD had a fit. He started fake-crying (no tears), screaming and eventually went in the bathroom and pouted on his stool—again, it was 5:30 AM. I got up and ignored the behavior. I made coffee and got his milk, eggs and berries ready. (JD now attends school 4 days a week.) “Wanna have some milk and watch Little Bear?” I said. “It’s Little Bear or nothing—or Mom's news!” He came out stomping with a face on, but now he noticed the food cart was missing. “Where.Is.My.Food!” he asked. “Your food has been put away. You can have it back tomorrow,” I said. “But, why!!!” JD whined. “Because, last night you threw it everywhere and that’s not nice,” I said. I lured him like a kitten to his little table with milk. I suggested we color something for him to bring into his teachers. He bit and grew excited. He decided to draw our living room windows and curtains (OK???) JD colored, ate and we chatted. I fully expect a Cartoon Network war to ensure tonight. I’m not budging.

I’m a little ticked at my brother for introducing him to shows I consider violent and plain stupid. My brother doesn’t live with us. He got to be the cool Uncle, then FLEE. Uncle Bri and his artist roommates (love em all) love Cartoon Network and they should. The cartoons are geared more to adults and they air the cartoons we all grew up on, i.e. The Jetsons. I just don’t want JD watching these shows. I mean, George Jetson’s boss, Cosmo Spacely is really mean! JD has even picked up on this. “That man is not nice!” Fred Flintstone needs anger management class and possibly Prozac.

I don’t want to completely censor JD’s new love of superheroes and as I blogged before he has all the toys. Today I am researching Superhero books for us to read.

Do you censor what your kids watch?

*Full disclosure: I did not mean to offend Cartoon Network in this post. I am writing from a single mom's POV and my son is 4. I was not compensated to write about networks or cartoons mentioned in this blog.