Changes to Protect the Innocence
I once heard someone say that children are born with all the goodness and purity that exists in the world. It's the adults who spill this goodness from them.
So how far do we go to protect the wonderful essence of childhood?
I know I'm always on the edge of my seat if I flip TV channels while my daughter is present in the room. We were shocked at the kissing scenes in Disney's "Pocahantas" & "Aladdin." We're used to the discretion of Hindi movies, where lovers duck kisses and hide behind umbrellas, trees, etc. She glimpsed the Madonna & Britney moment on MTV while I was flipping and she questioned it. I glossed over it and quickly put on the Food Channel.
I guess I don't want to answer questions just yet. I will eventually. I have no problem. But not now.
We were in a car where the local morning shock-jocks were doing their thing on the radio. Yes the FCC has a control over the language, but not the content. I asked for the station to be changed. While she may not understand the slang and double entrendres, I don't want questions. Not just yet.
By the way, I found it interesting that the DJ said his 12-year-old son is not allowed to listen to his show. However, the radio station made a CD and the son's friends got a hold of it and the son was subjected to humiliating teases about his parents. The DJ was not happy about this and had to have a good talk with his son about this.
Not only am I protective about her mind, I'm also protective about her body. My first experience with her was that breastmilk was the only thing she could consume and from that point on, it's been a challenge for me to let go. Yes, yes, I let her have her Halloween Laffy-Taffy (a pinkish chewy concoction of sugar, corn syrup and whatever) - so I'm not that rigid.
However, I read that baby teeth do not have the protective coating that adult teeth do. Therefore, consuming sodas is detrimental to their teeth. I then decided she would not have Coke until she is 6 years old. Really, she has her whole life to drink Coke if she wants to do so. There was a period where I drank a can of Diet Coke every day (then I went cold turkey on carbonated drinks and found myself feeling so much better!). Anyway, she has never had soda of any type.. and she even says "Soda is not for kids."
We went to Boston over the summer and it was at least 100 degrees that day. The only drink available was Sprite. I asked her to drink some - get hydrated at least. She took a sip and said it "bit my tongue" and refused to drink anything. I begged her and she said no. Then we finally got her apple juice and water.
My other policy is no gum. She's only 4 and really too little to handle it. Therefore, gum has become THE forbidden fruit. At the dentist, she requests bubble gum flavored toothpastes/fluoride. She questions me every time I chew a Trident or Dentyne.
Last week we flew to FL on vacation. On the descent, she said her ears hurt. We told her to yawn or hold her breath to pop her ears. But, she couldn't. So, I gave her a piece of gum and her eyes lit up! She loved it and chewed happily. She also relinquished it later.
The next day, she came to me in the kitchen and said "My ears are hurting me." I knew exactly what she was up to. I told her gum is only for the plane.
So, she danced around looking forward to the plane ride home so she could have gum. She told her aunt before bed, "We're going on a plane tomorrow. I can have bubble gum!" and raised her arms in victory.
As soon as we sat down, before the plane even moved, she said her ears hurt. I told her on the way down it'll hurt. So she went back to looking out the window. She fell asleep before and during the landing. I woke her up when the plane stopped moving. She looked out the window and realized we landed. "My ears are hurting me" she wailed. I laughed and gave her a piece since I promised her.
She had the BIGGEST smile.. my God, I don't ever recall such a look on her face - big smile, mouth chewing and eyes lit up. In the car, she kept chewing the gum and FINALLY gave it up later. I thought she was going to turn into Violet Beauregarde from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" as the gum chewing champion.
Anyway, I still believe we should protect for as long as we possibly. However, it's all about being flexible, isn't it?