Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sneak Attack

Like most parents, I try to limit Michael's exposure to inappropriate subject matter. We don't watch the news when he's awake. I don't let him watch scary movies. I'm not being over protective, I'm just trying to stick with age appropriate material. For the most part, this has worked.

The hardest part with Michael is that he likes a lot of nonfiction books and shows. You can't be obsessed with dinosaurs without coming across the concepts of extinction, meat eaters, big scary teeth, and dying. I try to limit the scary stuff, but there is only so much I can do. We just got a new dinosaur book recently and it included a big poster of a very scary T-Rex. Michael insisted on hanging it on his wall. So, the kid who is afraid of chompers - whatever they are - and has a sign on his door to keep chompers out also has a terrifying picture of a T-Rex on his wall that he loves. Go figure.

To try and limit Michael's exposure to scary nature stuff, I do try to limit his non-fiction books to close to his age range. I admit, I also skip over a few lines in some of his books as well. He really doesn't need to know that floods kill people yet. However, being cautious isn't always good enough, because you never know what's going to cause a problem.

Last night it took about an hour to get Michael to sleep. We had read for quite a while before bedtime, and Michel was tired and yawning by the time I tucked him in. Unfortunately, right as I was tucking him in the wind picked up and knocked over the sled that was sitting on the front porch. "Mommy, what's that?"

I tried to explain that it was just the wind. No good. I went out and checked to see what it was and reported back that it was the sled. No good. Before long I was kneeling on the floor explaining that there were no thieves trying to break into the house and steal his toys. I explained locks and keys and how we have a busy neighborhood and, blah, blah, blah. I'm not sure I made it any better. Andy finally had to step in a distract Michael from the topic and then repeat the bedtime routine before Michael would go to sleep.

Why is Michael worried about thieves? He didn't learn it from the news. He didn't learn it at school. It wasn't that we weren't being careful. It's all because of one line in one book. Michael has a small book about pyramids. It's very basic. There is no talk of mummies or anything scary like that. It simply states on one page that some tombs had secret doorways to keep thieves out. He picked up on the one line the first time I read the book and ran with it. He asks questions about thieves all the time, and we do our best to answer in a way to avoid scaring him. However he still thinks someone is going to break in and take his toys. Poor kid.

On the other hand, it's probably safe to say that his Thomas the Train tracks and trains are worth more than most of the electronics we have in the house. Which would you pay more for on eBay, an old CRT TV or a huge bin of Thomas trains and track? Maybe we should lock them up?


JenFen said...

Hey I tried to email you and it bounced back. Can you send me your email address?

Oh yeah, and Thomas definitely more valuable than the TV.

Maria said...

This is so fascinating to me. We all do things so differently. With Will's job, he has always talked to the kids about bad guys and how they are dealt with and jail and he actually talks to the girls about how there are bad people who hurt children an why we have to be careful. He let's them practice fight with him so they have some idea of what to do if someone tries to snatch them. I was wary of this whole idea at first, buy have really come to see that it gives the girls a sense of empowerment. Are they still scared of bad guys? Yes, but I think their knowledge of police and corrections officers helps them feel more comfortable. We talk about why we have dogs and locks and parents, and give them the whole keeping them safe talks. I'm not sure if we're doing it right, but it seems to be going ok for now. It is really funny how they latch on to one tiny idea and can't let go.

Beth said...

William loves the Bearenstein Bears books, and not long ago we read The Truth About Strangers. I'm not sure how much of it William understood, and while I was uncomfortable with it at first, hating to dash his innocence and not sure he's old enough to understand about "bad apples" and all that, but on the other hand, they're never too young to learn lessons about personal safety. His innocence was also dashed when someone stole our sled off the back patio. *Sigh* Jail is a new topic of conversation, and the inevitable talk of "good guys" and "bad guys" and the shooting, and the questions about what do soldiers do. It's everywhere, unavoidable. And so hard to know what "age appropriate" really means!

Steph said...

Definitely Thomas. We are lucky that Ben's dad built the table Cooper has and the grandparents have supplied almost all the train pieces and parts. That stuff adds up fast!

Cooper is fascinated with the "Neighborhood Watch" sign at the front entrance to our subdivision. For the longest time he thought it meant no cats so once I finally figured out what he was talking about I tried to explain about robbers, etc. He seems to get it in some ways, but has A LOT of questions still. Sometimes I take the back entrance just to avoid seeing that sign and having to figure out how to explain in a way a 4 year old will understand about all that stuff.

Oh, and, his preschool has already sent home a letter this year about body parts and good/bad touches, so we had to have that conversation in advance of the school lesson too. Talk about confusing for a 4 year old.

Lindsay said...

JTC was the same as Cooper - it was the neighborhood watch sign that brought up robbers. Uncle Matt is a cop, so we'd kind of broached the subject, but this kind of brought it home to our HOUSE. I got away with an overview this time.

LauraC said...

Nate asks all kinds of questions about things that might hurt him. There's a fire station nearby so he is always worried our house will catch on fire. I showed him how our fire alarms work and how it will make a loud noise and that seemed to help. Same thing on burglars. I showed him how his window locks and how it can't open more than 4 inches and he was good.