domingo, fevereiro 22, 2009

I suppose as part of being a Quaker, I have always had a strong anti-war, anti-violence view of everything. I am constantly trying to instill this in Ju, although it can occasionally be challenging here. When he was given a bunch of made-in-China war toys (plastic hand grenade, knife, gun, etc) there was no question that they would become a donation for kids in the street. I refuse to have anything like that in the house. He is not allowed to watch Power Rangers, Spiderman, Batman, or any of those fight-and-kill violent styles of programming. (I cannot understand why anyone would expose a child so young to these kinds of ideas, although it seems to be the norm here at least in Brasil.)

People here allow boys to be much more wild, misbehave much more, and in general seem to discipline them less about proper human behavior, in my opinion. Girls are put on a much shorter leash. There is a certain view that boys "need" this kind of play where they kick and wrestle with each other, that it's a boy thing and I will never understand. Maybe so. But how much of this is what boys NEED and how much is what we put upon them with expectations based on society? Boys are given toy guns, girls are given dolls. I know I've had this argument with myself before and it never seems to resolve itself. And there is always the view of "well, all these other grown men grew up playing these games and they turned out okay, so why does it matter so much"? I could ramble on about this forever.

Anyway, there were some things I liberated after a time, like Looney Tunes, thinking that they really weren't that harmful. Woody woodpecker is very popular here and all the kids disappear from the outside area of the condo at 6:30 to go watch it. I hadn't really paid much attention to the content of these cartoons, having watched them myself when I was about seven or so. It's just a cartoon, why does it matter? But Ju's behavior at school and with us (direct disobeying of rules, lack of respect for other people's space, hitting and bothering people) has gotten so bad in the last several months, I have been forced to reconsider that age old argument that violent cartoons are bad for your kids. The Looney Tunes characters do horrible things to each other - hitting with mallets, blowing each other up, pushing off of cliffs, getting run over by cars.... And Ju laughs. He laughs at all of it. It bothers me that he finds this funny. I never put much stock in it before, thinking that kids know the difference between real life and cartoons, remembering how I felt at that age when some adult made a comment about how these violent shows were affecting children, thinking that these adults assumed we were all stupid kids who didn't know the difference. Maybe for a seven year old this is true. Maybe. But perhaps for a three year old, this division is a little fuzzier. Certainly when I saw Ju begin head butting people after watching Woody Woodpecker, I started to rethink this line.

So now the Looney Tunes DVDs are banned. Woodywood pecker has gone the same way as Power Rangers - not allowed. We just got some new video tapes of Dora and the Magic School Bus and something called Yo Gabba Gabba that Ju absolutely loves. The desire to have him relate to "normal" Brasilian boys at school by being able to talk about the same characters and play the same games is usurped by my concern that he may end up in the principals office because he broke some kid's nose by head butting him. Lets see if TV really makes a difference.

sexta-feira, fevereiro 20, 2009

"Mommy, I have a 'ien.'"

"You have a what?"

"A... a... a this" (points to my ring)

"Ah, you have a ring."

"Uh huh, a eeng."

I feel like I've had this conversation before.

sábado, fevereiro 14, 2009

terça-feira, fevereiro 10, 2009

Lela, the cat I brought from Michigan, won't touch anything except cat food and raw meat, and occasionally some cooked chicken or lunch meat. Ju's two cats (Brasilian vira-latas) eat nearly everything that is put in front of them - meat, bread, oatmeal, raisens, apples, mango, papaya, jack fruit, carrots, peas, if it comes from our plates, they will eat it. They are both rather persistent at asking for hand outs as well, which makes it seem a bit like we have very agile dogs living with us, except that they climb up on the table when we're not looking and steal the food from our plates.

sábado, fevereiro 07, 2009

"Where we going, 'eing'?"

Ju uses this word frequently now, when talking in English and in Portuguese. "Hein" is like 'what' or 'huh' depending on the context. It's quite common in conversation in Portuguese, but when he uses it in/with English, it makes him sound like someone from the U.P., eh? I am a Michigander (still don't like that word, I am not water fowl) but I am not a Yuper. My son, however, is beginning to sound like one.