Thursday, 30 October 2014

Did your parents change channel to avoid Adult Content? How often do you switch?

It was different times when we had TV with just DD1 and DD2 and even then our parents needed Remote Control to switch channels. It was not to see what was coming up on the other channel but to avoid awkward moments in family time.

My kids are role playing in the room and suddenly I hear one saying “Swami” (Master) and other one replies “Kiss me”. And they repeat, younger one says “Swami” and elder one replies, “Kiss Me”. It is funny when you are alone or with friends and you know the context they are referring to is a Chewing Gum Ad with the Tag line "Zubaan par rakhe lagaam". But when you are sitting with your Father-in-law and imagine your kids playing this in front of him. He doesn’t know where they have seen this, “Swami” and “Kiss Me” act. What are you supposed to do in that moment, Silence or Explanation? Both are equally awkward, because that is a different generation, who switched channels on us even during “Krishi Darshan”.

It is everywhere now, Cartoons, Ads, Songs or Soap Operas. A princess kisses Chotta Bheem and there are hearts bursting in the air and blushing. You should see the expressions of kids at that moment. I wonder what’s going in their mind that very moment.

There were times when I used to encourage my kids to watch Songs, but since the evolution of Item songs and Sunny Leone, I cannot leave them unattended for a single song.

My daughter learns Bollywood dance and was being taught, Baby Doll in class (don’t even ask me why the teacher chose the song in the first place). Now she comes home and asks me to play that song on You Tube, so that she can watch and learn (Yeah right, watch and learn what). Thank god for mp3 songs where you don’t have to let them watch and they can still practice. So the excuse I make is if you watch this on Youtube, you will get confused between what’s being taught in class and the actual song. It is not so easy to make excuses every time you have to deny them watching something.

I can still understand (or try to understand) the ads like Diapers and Noodles coming in commercial breaks on Kids Channels, kids are their target audience. But what have Kids got to do with Perfume, Condom, Soap and Razor Ads? That’s is unnecessarily pushing the kids mind to go way beyond their age and hamper their natural growth process.

I keep saying “No, this is for Adults”, “No, it is PG-13”, “Sorry, you are not allowed to watch this”. But that makes them more curious and itching to see it. Now I miss Teletubbies and channels like Cbebbies, where there were no Ads and the content was dull and boring.

I wonder if there is any censorship for TV esp for Kid’s Channels. It is not just about obscenity, but also violence and quality. I am not asking the TV to become a babysitter (I have DVD player for that). All I am asking is for the kids to enjoy watching something age appropriate. You can’t become a helicopter parent (I learnt the term recently) or a control freak. I want to prepare them for the life ahead but not so fast, not this way.  Or am I already a Control Freak and have nothing better to do?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

I want Pimples. When will I have one?

Seriously, Pimples? First time I heard the question from my 5 year old daughter, I wasn’t sure if I had heard it right. If she had asked for the new Barbie makeup set or the new battery operated car, I would have at least given it a thought. But she wants Pimples.

And “When will I have one?” Would have been much easier to explain if she had asked for an explanation of what’s ghosts or why do I have to sleep everyday or even the digestive system of a dolphin. But this one is by far the most serious conversations I had with my daughter or rather in my whole life. So here’s how it goes -

5yr: “Mom, I have a Pimple?” says while still looking in the mirror

Mom: “What? When? How? NO, it’s a mosquito bite.” I got my breath back.

5 yr: “When will I have pimples?”

Mom: “Why do you want pimples?” After a brief pause of 10 min

5 yr: “Because you said only adults have it.”

Mom: “BTW do you know what are pimples?”

5 yr: “When you have pink or red spots on your face and you can apply different creams and lotions and face packs”

Mom: Have you every heard of a more rosy definition of pimples. “So, do you want a pimple or you want to be an adult?”

5 yr: “Both”

Mom: “Why do want to grow up so fast?”

5 yr: “You keep saying, Grow up and stop crying. Grow up and fight back. Grow up and finish your milk. “

Mom: “But to get pimples you will have to be a teenager, like 15-16 yrs old.”

5 yr: “That means I will have to wait another 5 years.” She is still learning addition in school, so the difference.

Mom: “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”

5 yr: “Married” n giggles. Didn’t dare to ask what that giggling meant.

Mom: “No, I mean, doctor, astronaut, teacher?”

5 yr: “I only want to be married.”

Mom: “Do you know what married means? You will have to do your own dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery, bills and more.”

5 yr: “But you have help for all this. Aunty comes in the morning no? You don’t have to do it.”

Mom: “Ok forget about that, you will need to get a job, before you can get married. How else will you go shopping.”

5 yr: Very serious and quiet now. I think I had popped the right question or else she would have moved out of the house by the end of this conversation.

Mom: So I continued the argument in the right direction. “You need to finish school and go to college. Only then you can get a decent job in a big office. Unless you want to work at a gas station or McDonalds.”

5 yr: “McDonalds. I can work in McDonalds even if I don’t finish my school?”

Mom: “Yeah that means you will not get a good pay.”

5 yr: “But then I will get a Happy Meal everyday and can choose the toy I want.” And that brought the smile back on her face.

Before we could continue with our serious discussion further, she heard the sound of Oggy and Cockroaches, playing on TV. I think she had made up her mind. All she wants for now is to get married and have a Happy Meal. And she keeps asking her grandpa to buy her an engagement ring.

I am glad we had this conversation. It had brought back memories of how simple life was and how small our needs were. These conversations also help you embrace the inevitable fact that kids grow up faster than we think and before you know they will be closing doors on your face and asking for privacy. Everyday for atleast 10 seconds I wish they can stop growing up and things can be the way they are.