what watching children's television has taught me


Many of you may be spared the horror of endless hours of children's television and good for you. Sincerely.

I am not one of you, my brain is rotting from the squeaky voices and joyful songs I'm forced to watch/listen/endure every day. I have little choice, yes I could switch it off and give the girl a box to play with but as every parent knows, a box just doesn't cut it at crucial times. If you want to get something done like cooking dinner, sweeping the floor or simply having a pee, then you need to have the telly on else risk constant, intense and sometimes dangerous disruption.

Betsy has certain times of the day, conveniently for me just before and after lunch and dinner, where she can watch what she wants. Her tastes change from time to time but she does have a habit of getting fixated on one show which means we have to watch hour after hour of the same songs, same voices and same show, over and over and over again.

It started with Peppa Pig who is a whiny little pork belly whose voice grates your soul into a thousand tiny pieces. She then (thankfully) switched to Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom which is rather brilliant and made by the same people as Peppa Pig, we like to think they are giving back to us parents what they stole with the one they call Peppa. Then came the long obsession with Team Umizoomi, I could never figure out why she loved it so much, really crap tv, but they always end with a crazy shake and have taught her about shapes and numbers so we gritted our teeth. Now we are on stage four, the Bubble Guppies. Fuckers.

Sometimes it's possible to zone out, I have managed to watch dozens of episodes of Team Umizoomi without once looking at the screen. Sometimes you like a programme yourself and force her to watch it, currently this programme is Wallykazam which I like much more than she does. Mostly though you get a bit bored and annoyed with all the recurring and sometimes worrying themes, children's television is a bit brainwashy and as for Dora all of a sudden being a teenager and living it up in the city, she can fuck off, Betsy has no idea what is going on there and neither do I.

Children's television incredibly important life lessons:

1. singing makes everything better apart from when it's the Bubble Guppies who are tone deaf and a lesson in NOT singing if I ever heard one.

2. if you can dance whilst you're at it then you're pretty much sorted (see Yo Gabba Gabba link below).

3. the bad guys are never actually bad but instead are scared stupid about life and in need of a cuddle.

4. if someone says sorry and genuinely means it you should forgive them even if they've done something really bad like stolen your house or contraceptive pills.

5. friends are all you need parents on the other hand are a bit surplus to requirement and in some shows not even there - see Max and Ruby (fat, parentless rabbits) and Charlie and Lola (annoying middle class #girlboss with an older brother already trained to be her bitch).

6. adventures are good especially when your best friend is a talking monkey wearing red boots and your parents couldn't care less what you get up to all day.

7. all obstacles can be overcome and if you have a fairy wand, pattern power or any other dubious magical tricks up your sleeve, good for you.

There is some light in the land of children's television and the rule of thumb for this is the more bonkers, the better. In The Night Garden is brilliant, never fails and never preachy because it's too crazy to be anything other than win. We also love Baby Jake (mental), Sarah and Duck (more parentless mentals), Yo Gabba Gabba (american mentals) and Dinopaws, which is not mental but cute (I don't care), the adventures of Gwen, Bob and Tony make me smile nearly every morning over my cup of tea.