When did I lose my ability to enjoy children’s programming? All these years before my daughter was born, in my mind I held on to the memory of the names of the kids tv shows I loved watching growing up, in the hopes of obtaining them for my children to enjoy. I hoped that iTunes would have them up as kid shows from my childhood like The Magic School Bus, Rugrats, and Madeline had become available eventually. I must have imagined that I could remember the episodes, what made them special, and that they were timeless. I was wrong…

Last week the Tinley Park Public Library notified me that the kid tv shows Beetlejuice and The Gummi Bears was ready for me to pick up. I can’t recommend enough the Tinley Park Library for accessing all those movies, music, tv shows, and books you’ve missed for so many years. The SWAN system is an interconnected network that enables libraries (who are subscribed to it) to give library patrons access to eachothers content and to have it delivered to their respective libraries without having to travel themselves. It’s great for someone like me who was thinking about buying these kid tv shows I grew up with. Boy I’m glad I checked them out from the library first.

Like I said, I was looking forward to sharing my favorite kid tv shows with my children. So when my first child, Eileah, was born in March of 2018 I remembered this wish as The Little Mermaid Animated Series became available for purchase on iTunes just after she was born. I was so excited, I took a picture of us, a little over one week after her birth.

I instantly purchased all the seasons and proceeded to watch them with her over the course of her first year. The show stood the test of time, my attention wained a little but it was still a good show none the less.

I eventually found myself searching out other kid tv shows I had grown up watching on Hulu and iTunes so that I could see if they were still good. I must have subconsciously had a shadow of a doubt about making the commitment to buy them. I don’t want to force feed my children programming so I think I wanted to make sure I was right in believing these kd tv shows from the late 1980s and 1990s were in fact good. Afterall, I was a kid during the end of the golden age of animation, I thought everything during that time period was good. Oh those rose colored glasses.

Little Arnlow from the Beetlejuice episoide “Critter Sitters.”

As I said, I got The Gummi Bears and Beetlejuice and this is how well Eileah and I did. We got through about two and a half episodes of The Gummi Bears and one episode of Beetlejuice. She’s not really paying attention, Eileah plays with her toys but will randomly look up and maybe stare at the screen for 30 seconds. Me on the other hand, I was getting bored pretty fast. This wasn’t the first time this happened with something I used to love watching. What’s worse, I’ve been having trouble watching the new kid tv shows that are out as my husband and I vet them.

And so I ask you, is it ok that I don’t like watching kid shows now that I’m a mom?

Was the story of Peter Pan true, that grown ups lose something when they grow up? It’s definitely harder for me to suspend my belief and to not want everything to make sense. Take Beetlejuice for instance. Despite being produced by Tim Burton, the director of the live-action movie from 1989, the tv show would make more sense if it was about Lydia Deetz’s adventures with the married couple whose spirits stay with the house her parents bought, not Beetlejuice. He was sent back to the Netherworld for punishment. But hey, that’s an adult for you. Who am I to say what kids like anymore? I seem to have lost touch. God no, please don’t say that I’ve lost touch. Take The Gummi Bears for instance. The actual recipe for their gummi bear juice that gives them super-strength and the ability to bounce real high is a cocktail of berries, no magic ingredient or anything rare and unusual at all. How on earth would berries give you these powers? What’s more, how did kids believe that a juice made of berries would give the gummi bears powers? Again, I’m an adult now, sigh.

I’ve even been having trouble watching some movies for kids. I love Disney as much as anyone, but it’s been getting harder to sit through Disney movies because I know what’s going to happen in them. Frozen II is coming out this November, 2019 and I feel almost a premonition like feeling that I know what the plot is from the trailer. I’ve become so prescient that I can’t get lost in a kids movie or tv show. How am I going to be able to sit through things with Eileah when she’s older? Right now she doesn’t know mommy is mind-numbingly bored and wanting to do other things. I’d rather play with her than watch things and that’s what I’ve come to learn in the last fifteen months of her life. I thought we could enjoy kid tv shows together and everything else that she likes, but I fear now with my own old favorites going off into the sunset for me that I won’t be able to grin and bear the programs Eileah will like. Geoff my husband and I have been watching Puppy Dog Pals, Fancy Nancy, PJ Masks, Elena of Avalor, you name one of today’s kid tv shows and we’ve been watching them. These new shows are behind some force field that my imagination and inner-child can’t access. I’m making myself available to them, but something isn’t clicking.

My hope is that when Eileah is two or three, and her language skills are up maybe her enthusiasm and desire to share things with me she likes will sweep the cobb webs of my old person brain and I’ll be able to get with it. For now, I’m going to enjoy baking competitions on Food Network, CBS Sunday Morning, and watch reruns of Anthony Bourdain tv shows for as long as I can. Cause soon, our tv will become Eileah’s and hopefully another little person’s tv too. When we have our set of two kids it’s their world we’ll be living in and their shows we’ll be watching. I mean come on, do you really think we’re going to be able to carve out time for our R-rated dramas and PG-13 rom-coms? I don’t think so. It’s the life of a parent, and I’m just coming to realize how hard it is. This whole post is about the difficulty in watching my old favorite kid tv shows and today’s kid tv shows. If that’s hard, then I better brace myself for what’s yet to come. I’ll let you know how I do.


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