Thursday, 29 January 2009


I figure part of being a good and effective parent is demonstrating to your kid that you support their interests, so long as they're still a ways away from polishing guns and driving cross-country, cranked up on meth.
Today Sweeney cut preschool and we went to the Botanic Gardens with the splendid M-Z and W-D kids. Sweeney tramped up and down paths like an infantryman, then they all played at the (excellent) playground until it was time for ice blocks, collecting pine cones on Pine Hill, a look at the roses, and home for a snooze.
I saw that TV3's running a cartoon of Spiderman, so when Sweeney got up from his nap, we had a look. Discovered the following about Sweeney's interest in Spiderman:

  • he has no idea who Spiderman actually is;
  • he's attracted to the spider part of Spiderman - definitely not the man part; and
  • he doesn't understand the concept of heroes and villains - he called the villain "Green Spiderman!" whenever he came on.

He's not watched cartoons before, and he is only two-and-a-half. No, that's not quite right - he's watched The Simpsons and Futurama , and really, really likes them. With Futurama, he likes the Planet Express ship crashing into the screen during the credits.

How different is his interest in Spiderman from his interest in Thomas the Tank Engine?? With Thomas, he's got some books and trains and track and he plays with them regularly. He was terribly attached to his Thomas sunhat until the Spiderman hat came on the scene. I think the differences are:
  • I see no value - creative, aesthetic, narrative, educational or otherwise - in Spiderman. I'm not terribly attracted to Thomas, either, but I like the way the original stories came about, I think anyone who thinks up a character called The Fat Controller has to be supported, and I'm terribly fond of Ringo Starr;
  • this interest in Spiderman has come about purely because of Josh at preschool, and his interest in Spiderman. He's a little older than Sweeney, and they're great pals.
Ringo and the Fat Controller don't stand a chance.
I still have some say about what he eats, and last night I nearly wept with joy when he scarfed down the omelette I put in front of him for dinner. It was packed with mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and onion. Why are the quick, easy, thrown-together-at-the-last-minute meals the ones that get the best reception?

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