Friday, October 5, 2007

The Teletubbies

There's enough information on the Internet about parenting to make your head spin. Same for anecdotes about parenting. So for that reason, on this blog I'll generally try to refrain from cooing about my boy and how wonderful he is, and I'll try to spare my readers the trials and tribulations of LE spitting food at me (baby rice with breast-milk is the grossest) and how it feels at 1am when he decides the next 5 hours are Super Happy Baby Party Fun Time.

But sometimes things weigh on me, and sometimes I just don't get out enough. Specifically, I don't get out enough around people whose English is good enough for me to speak normally about whatever I want. And frankly, Turks aren't the greatest listeners anyway. They can never sit still until the punchline, if there is one. So in the interest of reducing the number of conversations with myself, or with LE (who spits food at me and thinks that's the punchline), I will occasionally witter on about a parenting thing here. I promise a more serious topic in the next post.

Most days, we wake up together, me and the little one, and have breakfast. He's almost over his fear of the coffee grinder, bless him. After his breakfast, I still have some of mine left, and the only way I'm going to get to eat it is if LE has some sort of Mommy's hands-off diversion. I hate to admit it, but most mornings this means Teletubbies. There's not a lot of English-language TV here, and I can't stand the sound of the dubbed Turkish kids' shows-- it's always women speaking in high-pitched children's voices and it makes my skin crawl. Plus, I'm already pretty ambivalent about letting the kid watch TV in the first place, and BBC Prime (one of two English language non-news channels on regular cable, and the other is Turkish financial news until 5 or 6pm) doesn't have the really brain-rotting types of commercials.

So Teletubbies it is. LE sits riveted and silent with his mouth hanging open. The only time his attention wanes is when they show those little films in their bellies-- I guess he likes the music and high voices and primary-colored things dancing around. I like it when the rabbits bound away in terror, and I try to guess if the baby in the sun is a boy or a girl. LE is almost as old as the baby in the sun now, but that baby has two teeth.

In college, we used to get high and watch Teletubbies, but really, no matter how high you are, it has limited appeal. It becomes disturbing, how the Teletubbies live. Their Mylar blankets really bother me, but worse, even though they bounce around joyfully and play and have custard and big hugs, their lives seem to be ruled by two cruel taskmasters: some telephone thingies that rise up from the ground and tell them what to do, and a pinwheel that sprays pink sparkles that alerts them to gather and then chooses one to have it's TV belly show something. They don't seem to mind the pinwheel too much, but they never want to say bye-bye when it's time, yet for some reason they're compelled to do so. It troubles me that they have to obey these objects, and even moreso that they so vacuously go along with their oppression. I think it sets a bad example.

But sometimes I like the little films they show. Once there was a very odd boy called Phillip who had stick bugs. He was about five, and seemed somehow precocious. His stick bugs had names like Harold and Diedre and Blanche. In the end, he said slowly in his in his calm and intonation-free voice, 'I like stick bugs because they look like sticks.'

Events on the Teletubbies repeat three times, and they're never very interesting. Perhaps this is why it was never that great to get high and watch it. A couple weeks ago, I got really angry with the Teletubbies. They were having Tubby Toast, which is round, slightly burnt, and has a smiley face. They have a special machine that makes the toast. Lala passed the toast around, and Tinky-Winky took everyone's toast and put it into his bag (this was the same bag that Jerry Falwell referred to when he questioned Tinky Winky's sexuality). Naturally this had to happen three times. By the end, Tinky Winky's bag was so full of toast that all the toast exploded out. But why, I wondered angrily, do they keep giving Tinky Winky toast if he's just going to put it into his bag? Why do they let him do that? And why the hell does Tinky Winky need a bag in the first place? It offended my sense of justice. A friend of mine whose daughter also loves the Teletubbies told me I was over-thinking it, but I couldn't bring myself to watch them for a few days, and poor old LE was stuck watching the news.

I still don't care for that Tinky Winky. There's something really off about that guy.

3 comments:

sandyhoney said...

Ah, the teletubbies... My son is six and has moved on from TEletubbies and Caillou to Martin Mystery and Danny Phantom.. and SpongeBob and the Simpsons if I'm not watching him. I can empathise with you. Just remember, this too shall pass!

I had recorded a whole mass of kids programs onto DVD before we left from Canada, and I think I actually recorded an old VCR tape with the TEletubbies ...oh well. I liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stuff, even though it can be too intense for kids to watch a manic depressive donkey and a hyper-active tiger...

Stranger said...

I think it'll get worse before it passes...

I love Winnie the Pooh, but I heard it's been banned from TV here because the powers that be think that Piglet was setting a bad example for kids by making haram meat look cute...

ms.bri said...

You need DVD's, for sure. That stuff is scary.