Birds need to fly, and girls need to use the toilet

Do you ever just feel like people take things just an eensy bit too seriously?

I'm watching a discussion on age-appropriate movies for a two-year-old, and while I agree with some of the issues folks have, I'm finding myself shaking my head on some of them. And the sidebar conversation about how people go to great lengths so their kids aren't freaked out by the auto-flush toilets in stores/restaurants.

I'm trying to decide if I'm just a mean/bad mommy, but I don't really go to great lengths to shelter my kids from too much. Yeah, when Bean was potty-learning, the auto-flush toilets bugged her; they still do. But so does *any* flushing toilet when we're out because they're all so damn loud. That's life. Instead of putting TP in front of the sensor so it doesn't auto-flush, or bringing along my own potty in the car, I just talked her through it. I told her that's just the way some toilets work and I didn't like it either, but it is what it is. I've made a deal with her that if I *can* let her leave the stall before the toilet flushes, I'll be happy to, but sometimes she just has to suck it up and deal with it.

I'm not trying to be b*tchy to the folks who go to these lengths; in fact, I can think of one or two kiddos whose parents probably have to do this and more, because the kids are truly that sensitive and need it. For mine, tho, it wasn't a *must do*, it was a *could do* and I chose not to go to great lengths to shield them from a loud flush. I'm not the only person who takes them places - if I set them up to need that kind of coddling just to pee on the toilet, how do I ensure everyone does it for them?

To me, there's things worth shielding your kids from: I have skipped The Lion King because Simba's dad is actually murdered; I haven't shown them Dumbo or Bambi, but Dave apparently has, without any emotional trauma on either kid's part. Neither would be something I'd chose to show them if the control were always mine, but so much of life is out of our control anyways ...

In a way, it seems easier to me to broach these 'tough topics' early on. Thanks to the death of a PT at her therapy place, Bean's been talking about death for at least a year now, and understands that everything, people included, dies eventually. As time goes by and her level of questioning/understanding increases, her questions about death grow more sophisticated, but I've not seen any indication that knowing about it and knowing that people die has been detrimental to her or has scarred her in any way. It will just be something she grows up knowing about and talking about, much to some friends' dismay.

Conversely, tho, I don't discuss religion with her, nor do I want people discussing it in anything more than "some people believe xxx, it's all a personal choice" terms. Much the same way I try to tap dance around racism - it's just a concept that seems too complex for a four-year-old to understand. Death is pretty black and white; religion, not so much.

What about you? Do you try to shield your kids from unpleasantries? Do you tackle 'belief'-type discussions with them? Why or why not?


Vivian said...

I definitely shield my kids from certain things. My 2.5 year old, Kate, is very perceptive, making connections that stun me on occasion. So, many Disney movies especially Lion King (even though I like it) it out, at least until they're much older. They just don't need to worry about Mama or Daddy going away. I'm also a nut about the TV shows they watch. I don't allow the older kid cartoons like "Sponge Bob" or "Phineas & Ferb", though I kinda like P&F, I'm not OK with my 2 yr old telling someone to "shut up". I have the same issues with religion and God, you seem to have. My kids have been lucky enough to stay home with their dad but Kate is beginning preschool in the fall and I can see the questions coming soon. sigh.
I do admit that though I want to treat death as a very natural part of life we talk about, when I thought the fish died last month my first thought was "sh*t, now we have to deal with this." Luckily, the stupid fish likes to float on his side, wierdo. Overall, I'm attempting to prepare them for the real world while protecting their childhood. It's a hard balance.

Julia said...

For the most part, no. I mean, I do try to watch my language, keep her from seeing graphic sexual content, know...the usual. Otherwise, her world is still viewed through kid eyes. Even if I thought something were absolutely horrible and *I* feel the need to talk about it with C if I know that she saw what I just saw, C surprises me most of the time by being able to find a justification within her scope of understanding to explain the event. I think parents overthink everything. I am guilty of that more times than I care to count. For the most part, H and I feel that it is better for the kids to learn one lesson. Sometimes life is not what you want it to be, but you have to learn to deal with it. It's our jobs as parents to teach them how to deal, not for us to keep them from experiencing the world from our own paranoia.

Oh, and I am with you on the religion.

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