Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mortal Kombat

Last week, Bub’s nursery school went on a field trip to the children’s museum. The drop-off time didn't work with my teaching schedule, so I arranged for Bub to get a ride with one of the other moms. I’m always a bit nervous about changes of routine, but it went off without a hitch: Eamon was watching at the window when we pulled into the driveway, and when he and Bub caught sight of each other there was much jumping up and down and rejoicing.

It’s still unusual for Bub to initiate conversations about past events, so I was thrilled – sort of – to get the following report later that day:

Bub: What was your favourite part?

Me: My favourite part of what?

Bub: No. Can you say the words, “What was your favourite part, Bub?”

Me: Okay. What was your favourite part of the children’s museum?

Bub: (crestfallen) No. What was your favourite part of going downstairs?

Me: Um, okay, what was your favourite part of going downstairs?

Bub: (grinning delightedly) The children hitting!

Me: There were children hitting? Where?

Bub: At Eamon’s house!

Me: Oh, you went downstairs at Eamon’s house – to play with some toys? But who was hitting?

Bub: (working hard to find the words) It was ... two ...mans. And they were fighting!

Me: Was this a video? Or a game?

Bub: It was a game! I loved it! It was my favourite!

Now, how on earth do I ask Eamon’s mom what violent fare my son was exposed to during the five minutes he spent at her house without jeopardizing the open invitation she extended for a future playdate?

Edit: Following Julie's suggestion, I asked Eamon's mom this morning about the great game Bub was raving about after his visit. Her guess? Their new soccer game for the Playstation.

35 comments:

theflyingmum said...

Yikes, that's a toughie. I think I'd just tell the mom that my son said he'd played a video game with people hitting each other. If she confirmed this, I'd just have to tell her that I'd prefer my son not play that type of game. Or maybe send along one that I do approve of? Except that we don't have any. But wow! It's nice to have that open playdate invitation!

flutter said...

I would just ask if they have a gaming console, because you were curious what games they had and if you could send any others over with Bub when he comes to play....

JLow said...

My mum is part of a Buddhist society. They recently had a vegetarian & knick-knack fair.

I brought my 3yr old Caitlin along. During feeding she was watching a couple of boys "sword" fighting with them sausage-shaped balloons, purchased at the fair.

I had promised to buy her a rabbit-eared balloon. After playing with it a while, it popped. Since there was still a chance to buy another, I offered to do so, only that she said she wanted a sword this time.

She didn't know what it was called (she doesn't know names of weapons yet) but knew what she wanted. I gave in, & she quickly showed me, in fact, swashbuckled me with her imitation of the earlier two boys...

Gladly, them balloons leaked very quickly...

As much as I can, I shield her from any sort of violence. TV-soapies, video games, even cartoons. But I am wondering how much & how long I can keep this up...

http//www.daddeeyah.com

McSwain said...

Oh my. Too many dangers in the big bad world out there--my son runs into those things at my brother's house. It's a tough one.

Emily said...

Yeah -- in our house, we're suddenly using words like "Power Rangers," "sword," "prison." Dude. He has NO idea what they mean.

nomotherearth said...

I'd probably wait and say something on the playdate, personally. Tough call.

Julie Pippert said...

Perhaps during a "thank you call." You know a "I just wanted to call and say thanks, again. Bub was so excited, he chattered all afternoon about the trip and being at Eamon's house. One part I couldn't get...he said something about playing a game downstairs? He said that was his favorite part...do you know which game?"

I think asking just as a "help me understand what my child is saying" can get you the information, then you can decide what to do.

HTH!

Julie
Using My Words

slouching mom said...

this has been a chronic issue for our family now that the boys are older. ven and jack DO have a game cube, but the only games they own are pokemon games and mario brothers games.

not so at other kids' houses. but what i do is try to have frequent conversations about what games the hubs and i think are appropriate versus what the boys may find elsewhere...

they may not like us for it, but at least they've internalized our point of view by now.

i'd go with julie's suggestion, btw.

slouching mom said...

that's ben, not ven.

bubandpie said...

Julie - Ooh, good one. It might even have been something like Wii boxing. I'm not freaking out about it - but I am curious.

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

I like Julie's suggestion, a lot. That would be mine.

I was going to ask what children's museum was in Toronto, but then I remembered that you are not actually here. Which is too bad, on several levels. We need a children's museum!

Suz said...

Julie's suggestion is an excellent one! I hope it ends up being something not so bad...

Kyla said...

I like Julie suggestion, too.

I have a similar problem with my in-laws (who have a 6 year old of their own). When we let BubTar spend time there, he almost ALWAYS comes home talking about seeing an inappropriate (for him) movie, even though we expressly say time and again, nothing over a G rating! It is harder with friend's though, because the boundaries are different.

Angela said...

I guess the positive part was that it wasn't actual people.
I put annie on for me and my son and the short part where annie beats up the boys that are picking on the dog. My son saw that and started punching the couch and then hit me in the leg.
It is hard to know what to do.

Christina said...

I would do the same as Julie's suggestion. I'm always asking for clarification from other adults when they're with Cordy, because she will often start talking about or asking for something I know nothing about.

Jenn said...

What Julie said. :)

Catherine said...

Oh....wow....
catherine

Stimey said...

Love those puzzles. And of course it was not the childlren's museum that got him excited but some sort of fighting game. That's exactly like Jack. He could ride a giraffe and forget about it if he watched an episode of Tom & Jerry. Congrats to Bub on his excellent retelling of events!

Beck said...

What Julie said - it's great, non-judgemental and doesn't make the other parent defensive.
Now that my Boy is in school? Whoo boy. Welcome to the big rough world of Men, my son!

Anonymous said...

Slippery slope indeed. Julie nailed it only I would ask about it in person not on the phone. It's bound to be something innocuous but out of Bud's experience to date.

Kind of reminds me of that pregnancy (not!) issue.

Angela said...

Julie's suggestion is perfect. So much better than perhaps, calling at her and nicely suggesting that she may need to have her head examined. Or something equally mortifying and over the top, which I would probably do.

b*babbler said...

Ooh.. that's a tough one. I really like Julie's suggestion. That way you can find out without looking confrontational, and then decide how to deal with the information you receive. If it's something innocuous, no foul, but if its not, then you can figure how how to deal with it diplomatically.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

Eeeek. My son loves to go over to his buddies house and play the Tony Hawk skateboarding game. I thought it was fine until he starting drawing bloody skateboarding pictures at school.
Erg.

It's a tough one, and it's hard to say something to the other parents without sounding judgemental. But in the end, it's up to you to protect your own parental values. Good luck!

Kathryn said...

Oh boy. Yes, that is a delicate situation. I really don't know what to tell ya.
I do love how excited Bub was to tell you about it. That is adorable.

Mac and Cheese said...

It sounds like Julie is the winner. I'd go with her plan too.

Patois said...

Hey, was Julie up for best parenting blog? 'Cause I just might have had to switch my votes.

KAL said...

Lots of good advice. How about that great conversation? I love how he prompted you to ask the right questions :)

Jenifer said...

We are dealing with the same thing and overall it is a hard topic to broach. Julie's tip was right on though for all the reasons everyone else has mentioned.

I found it hard at the cottage this summer. Our friends have boys and they watch stuff that even if I had boys would not be allowed by me. My girls watched some of it and sometimes I would just walk in the TV room and offer to play a game or read to them to get them out of there.

The ones I found the worst were cartoon superhero shows and Pokeman. Fighting, evading the police and battling each other are not things I think kids should be watching.

I was in the minority though so perhaps I just don't have enough boy experience, but personally I can't imagine letting ANY child watch these.

Jennifer said...

I have a seven-and-a-half year old boy and while two years ago, something like this would have freaked me the hell out (fighting? what?!) I've had to somewhat give into it now (with limits. Lots of limits!). This coming from a pacifist, hippie-dippie, granola-eating, vegetarian mama. *sigh* I didn't believe the whole "it's just boys" thing. Until I lived it.

Anyway. My first thought was Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots? ;)

MamaDrama said...

Ok, you got me started...sorry for the hugely long comment.
We are right in the middle of this as well. Jennifer, as a mom of girls, I thought you said it well without sounding judgmental about what moms of boys end up letting their kids watch. I think it's (usually) different with girls.

I feel like we've gone down a road that I can't turn off. My nearly 5-yr old son has always been attracted to the superheroes and guns and "boy" toys. We've tried to control it, no guns until a recent light saber with his Halloween costume, no video games. But thanks to cousins and preschool friends and our not wanting to forbid something he wants so desperately, he's now seen SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons, some Star Wars cartoons, The Incredibles movie, etc. and he has various action figures. Even without the toys, he plays "shooting bad guys" with sticks outside or toilet paper tubes inside, so I think it's just a biological thing with a lot of them. But I find myself in constant turmoil wondering how much we've enabled or "encouraged" by letting him watch the movies. Some of it I believe is a natural outlet for his boy-ness, and superheroes let them have a sense of power and control over their crazy world! I've read many versions of the research, and I still can't decide what I think...
We limit the amount of total tv, watch the shows with him as much as possible, and talk about any scenes or words we don't like. I know he learns plenty from friends at school, so we just have to walk the line carefully and make sure we are very present in his life and give him lots of chances for outdoor play, non-branded toys, and positive reinforcement for making safe choices.... sigh...
--rachel

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh my. I like Julie's suggestion. That's probably how I would approach it too. It's a rough topic and so many people are easily put on the defensive about it.

Personally, I sweat the stuff on TV probably a lot less than most people *think* I should. I'd much rather they see certain things with me & T right there and able to comment on it than to have the first exposure be in someone else's house when big brother or sister pops in a video or a game.

painted maypole said...

ACK!!!! what are these other parents thinking?!?!?

JCK said...

Glad you got the mystery solved. That might have been a bit dicey. I've been meaning to tell you, forgive the off topic, but your book list is really intriguing. I've read Naomi Wolf's other books and look forward to checking out, "Misconceptions."

Julie said...

That's so cute how he was prompting you to ask him a question. The right question. I just love this kid.

bgirl said...

very cute. i always get such a laugh when my little dude, wants me to say something, so he can say something. definitely a good thing - yay bub!