SPEAKING of INsomnia . . .

So, it’s 5am. I’ve been awake since about 3:30am. FOR NO REASON.

I’d love to say that I’ve been awake because I’ve been feeling labor pains, and they’re getting worse, meaning Baby will make his appearance today. However, that’s not true. I’m just AWAKE. 😛

It’s possible when we got coffee last night that mine was not actually decaf, like I’d ordered. I trust my husband said decaf (he ordered for me while I went to change our son’s diaper), and maybe the barista messed up. However, I could also just be sensitive to the little bit of caffeine in the decaf coffee. That latte was awesome, though . . . (Pumpkin Creme Latte from Seattle’s Best in Borders Books.) Alternately, I’m just awake, ’cause pregnancy’s like that.

I was also a bit hungry, and some other discomforts of pregnancy were nagging at me, so I decided to just get up and take care of the issues instead of playing Solitaire on my DS in bed. Unfortunately, the yogurt I ate has given me more heartburn. *Sigh* I can’t escape it.

At any rate, I was going to write the other day about some of the hilarious things my son is doing these days. I find I suddenly have the time . . .


My two-year-old–who, for the sake of this blog, shall be named (at least for the moment) “Pie”*–has a few favorite movies and television shows (on DVD or NetFlix streaming; we don’t have cable). We’re a little lax in the electronic distraction department, so he gets to watch these favorites quite often.

[*”Pie” is short for “Sweet[ie] Pie” or “Cutie Pie”. I just started calling him “Pie” one day, and it stuck. Who knows what kind of ridiculous nickname our second son will have. Give me time . . . ]

Here is a little lexicon that we’ve finally developed so we can communicate what he wants to see:

Sussues = Blues Clues
Bob de Boer = Bob the Builder
Pippard = Clifford
Diet = The Iron Giant
Froggies = The Princess and the Frog
Sheep = Shaun the Sheep
Dyosaur Tain = Dinosaur Train
Elmo = Elmo in Grouchland
Nemo = Finding Nemo
Monsters = Monsters vs. Aliens
Cars = Cars
Up = Up

He can sing almost all the regular songs from Blues Clues (not fluently–mostly just the last couple words in each line–but with enthusiasm!) and some from Elmo. He can say “Can we fix it? Yes we can! Yeah, I think so . . . ” from Bob the Builder. That, for a little while, was the extent of his memorization. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing that he’s been repeating a few more lines from a couple movies he’s seen twenty times or more (DON’T JUDGE ME!), and now he’s acting out a couple scenes from Iron Giant.

Now, this doesn’t worry me, beyond “Oh, now we need to start paying actual attention to what he watches.” It’s really funny to watch! What I should do is get some video or screenshots for reference, but you’re just going to have to bear with me here . . .

I first noticed him acting out a scene when Hogarth (the main boy character in The Iron Giant) first meets the giant. Hogarth sits on the ground, and the giant imitates him. I watched Pie sit down the same way while he was watching that scene. Pie also brought a toy car up to me one day and tried to feed it to me. When I refused to take a bite, he gently bit down on the front of it while watching the movie. This is the boy who barely eats anything more solid than oatmeal and bananas, and rarely, if ever, stuck anything non-food in his mouth that wasn’t a spoon. I knew immediately that he was pretending to be the giant eating a car–’cause iron giants eat metal, dontchaknow.

Later, I noticed Pie walking around with his shirt all bunched under his chin and his hands in the air. I had no clue what he was doing–he’s a two-year-old with a fertile imagination. Yesterday, Sweetie (my husband) and I were watching him watch Iron Giant, and he pulled up his shirt and put his hands in the air when the giant transformed into a big weapon and started shooting things (this is where the “No ‘Parents of the Year’ Award” comes in, ’cause some people don’t condone this kind of play). He wandered around the living room like that, checking the movie every once in a while to make sure he was still in sync with it. Then, when Hogarth intervened, Pie said “Hogarth” when the giant said “Hogarth”, and put his shirt down when the giant transformed back into his “peaceful” gianty form. A few more minutes into it, just as the giant is about to [***SPOILER ALERT!!!***] sacrifice himself for the good of the people, Pie crouches on the floor, just like the giant does, and repeats the line word for word, along with the relevant gestures: “Hogarth. I go. You stay. No following!”

Sweetie and I were about to EXPLODE, it was so cute and hilarious! But we didn’t want to laugh out loud, in case we ruined the show. 🙂

Well, yesterday, Pie wanted to watch Cars again, after a long hiatus (it needed a rest). I noticed he was repeating lines from that, too. Doesn’t surprise me that much, since he really has seen that movie more than twenty times. Possibly more than [*ahem*] thirty times.

I know there are parents and experts out there who would condemn this as a real parenting no-no. To a certain extent, I agree that we probably let him watch too much during the day, which MIGHT contribute to some inattention and (lately) late-ish nights and early wakings. However, often the TV is just ON, and he’s playing and doing other stuff without actually paying any attention (well, much attention, anyway). Also, some would condemn the violence in Iron Giant, and tell us we shouldn’t let him watch that kind of thing when he’s so young. It’s become PC to heavily filter even children’s programming. I agree with some reasoning behind that, because I think some children’s programming is a complete waste of time and seriously irritating. But, you know, I practically cut my teeth on Star Wars, Superman II, and an abundance of Looney Toons and action-figure-related children’s programming. My family, growing up, was even more TV-oriented than we are. I think Sweetie’s was, too. Aside from having the gall to want to learn martial arts and how to shoot a gun to defend myself, I’m pretty sure I turned out okay. I knew, either instinctively or through my own brain working out the causes-and-effects, that one should probably not use dynamite as all-purpose pest control and gravity will not take a holiday just because you accidentally ran off the edge of a cliff. Duh.

Similarly, I don’t expect Pie to grow up thinking he can take out the U.S. Army with his robot super powers or actually eat cars for breakfast.

On the flip side, I have seen the effects of too much video game and television violence on a young brain. I do not attribute, however, the behavior issues this child had to the games or movies/TV he was exposed to (which is the popular thing to do). I attribute the issues to a lack of parenting and limits, either due to disciplinary confusion/acting out (results of shared custody and different value systems in each home) or inattention because both parents worked outside the home every day (yet another value system in school or day care). I’ve also seen a child who is absolutely sheltered from everything violent, morally unacceptable to his parents, and even mildly vulgar, who exhibits so little self-control around other children that it’s hard to believe he doesn’t watch violent cartoons all day. Well, what in the world could THAT come from? Too much constriction? [Just FYI: I’m not condemning these parents, though I might not agree with their parenting styles sometimes. These kids are fairly good kids, overall, and I only see them once in a while. The first example has grown out of much of his fixation, and I believe the latter one will soon do so, too. Children are what children are, and it’s not like they’re born with their very own personal manuals. You have to roll with the punches when they’re young. Goodness knows my children will have a few more things up their sleeves for us before they’re old enough to leave the nest.]

What I’m saying is that in today’s day and age, our parenting choices wouldn’t win any awards for awesome, wholesome, modern-day, magazine-cover parenting. But I AM a parent, and my kid’s pretty well-behaved, for the most part (for being two-and-a-half, anyway). I’m there, watching him, and moderating his behavior. My JOB is to parent him. His job is to obey me and test his boundaries. He’s a smart kid; I have no worries.

Although, this early-waking thing is getting old. We need to find a way to nip that in the bud . . . but maybe after his brother is sleeping through the night. Until then, what’s another kid needing your attention at ungodly hours of the morning? 🙂

I love my job. 🙂