I feel a little bit like King Canute trying to force back the sea – despite my best efforts at keeping my children locked up in tower and insulated from the insidious pressures of the outside world there are distinct signs that the outside world is forcing its way in and making them grow up too fast. I’ve tried hard to let them stay as children but I seem to be fighting a losing battle
I think part of the problem is that as soon as they head out into the wider world of school you are hostage to the lowest common denominator of What Other Parents Do – no matter how little TV or how little unapproved TV your little one watches they suddenly get to find out about Peppa Pig, ‘Mummy there is a place called Disney where the princesses live’ and Barbies from their new friends and you are POWERLESS to stop it
Car radios are another thin end of the wedge – one moment they are happy listening to the calming sounds of Classic FM or a nursery rhymes CD and the next, thanks to lifts with people who play Other Stuff they are asking for bouncier music and singing the latest jingles at you
And then there’s the parties and school activities
I really don’t want them to be that square kid in the corner with the unfashionable clothes, who has no idea of popular culture and lives in a hippie hinterland but neither do I want them to grow up too quickly
I had a massive crisis of conscience over allowing my 5 year old reception classer to go to the junior school disco – yes I’m sure it was all fun and innocence but is it just me that thinks there is something a little bit wrong to a bunch of small children bouncing around to ‘heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey seeeeeeeeeeeeexeeeeeeeeeeeee laydeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’? I just knew before she went that it would happen and still let her go… Watch my morals and boundaries wilt in confusion around me
I was under the impression that there was some sort of censorship on the radio, that naughty words were removed from songs to allow the brains of our children to remain unsullied and unaware of swear words (carving out an exception for incidents of terrible driving and my boss calling me at lunchtime on a Sunday when any NORMAL person would be sitting down with his family). The girls have taken to singing bits of songs that they like off the radio (yes I can’t stop other people playing popular radio stations, sadly…) as they build up a playlist of their favourite songs. So far this list has such classics as I’ve Got A Brand New Combine Harvester and Mamma Mia. Last weekend I deciphered their single line as being part of the latest Britney Spears / Will.i.am ditty only to discover that it isn’t exactly clean and innocent… It has now been embargoed on the basis it has naughty words in that Mummy Doesn’t Approve of and I had to put up with an entire hour of Bigger singing one line of The Wanted’s latest whilst trying to work out if that, whilst having no bad words in, was totally inappropriate from a feminist perspective….
Then there are other little things, like nail polish – Bigger came back with a tiny bottle of plain glittery nail polish in a party bag and was desperate to try some on her – another crisis of boundaries and we agreed she could have some on so long as it was all removed before school on Monday. Have you TRIED to get a three and a half year old to stand still long enough to remove nail polish? Or realised WAY too late that the cheap and nasty stuff refuses to come off even after bucket loads of remover and rubbing for hours leading to ‘Mummy I can still see a sparkle’to which the only reply is ‘I’m sure it’ll wash off in the bath’…
The latest Disney sexualisation of a PERFECTLY GOOD princess is yet more evidence of this horrid outside world trying to beat down my boundaries and to influence our girls in ways that make me terribly, terribly uncomfortable. It is one thing having to explain to them that yes it is a bit peculiar that Mummy is the only girl in her meetings, it is quite another to try and explain why Merida is 10 years old, a million times sluttier and has exchanged her frank look for a sultry come-hither version and appears to have had a boob job… (you can sign a petition here, not sure it will stop them but we can but try)
So the question is what can I do to try and hold back the tsunami of external influences and let them stay as children a bit longer? Short of locking them in a tall tower and refusing to let anyone else have the key….