What happens if you give kids exactly what they want for as long as they want it? They’ll eventually get bored and move onto something else, right? Ummm, no. A week ago during the hurricane we just gave our 4 year old the iPad and left him in his “fort.” He didn’t leave his couch cushion shed for 8 hours – It was all hot and jungly like a Clemson dorm room. Every hour or so he would yell out his requests: “Milk please!” “Toast fingers!” I felt like we had a 20 year-old holed up in his childhood bedroom spending the weekend cramming for the LSATs. After watching 4 movies (I think) he walked out of his bunker with the innocence of Lazlo Hollyfield in Real Genius, “Huh, what? What time is it? Why is it dark? Can I watch a show?”
We’re in the midst of a similar tactic with our 2 year old. I’ve now listened to the Bob The Builder song 867 times. Here’s the best part, though; he only likes the intro which lasts 47 seconds, so we have to restart it EVERY 47 SECONDS. We’ve been at it off and on for 3 days. We’ve all lost our minds. I’m constantly singing a heavy metal version of it in my head, and my wife is whistling it while pruning our raspberry bush. The only positive aspect so far is that I now know exactly what I can do in 47 seconds. I can take 3/4 a pee; mow one strip of grass; eat half a turkey sandwich; or almost fall asleep.
We try to have it off occasionally, but one of us always absentmindedly starts humming the tune, causing him to go completely bananas. We obviously can’t say the name of the show in front of him, but we have to talk about it to each other, because it’s CONSTANTLY in our heads. For a while we were using the code “B the B,” but he caught on to that. It escalated to where we hesitated to even use words that contained the letter “b” for fear that it would set him off. Everything in our house is a B the B trigger now. I can’t even take out my phone or load the dishwasher without hearing that telltale heavy breathing of excitement running up behind me, “Baa da baa baa.” Our two iPhones, two Macbooks, iMac and iPad are cued up to deliver a hit of B the B whenever he needs it.
After about an hour of listening to the song he requests an upgrade to watch the show on the TV. Yeah, and ONLY the intro. Now I have to watch and listen to it, and rewind it every 54 seconds (there’s a little extra in the TV show. I can pee during it). I found a site where you can loop a Youtube video, so I got just the intro and set that to loop on my laptop. He watched it for about 10 minutes before banging out some combination of keystrokes that closed the browser window, deleted my search history, reformatted the hard drive, and Skyped the Kremlin (He once played with my Dad’s phone for 20 seconds, and when he gave it back it displayed the message: “Your settings have been saved.” No one knows what he did, or what the effects might be).
So, we’re back to him listening to it on my phone while he carries it around giving it to me with a tiny cry every 47 seconds. Someone help us. My biggest fear is that I’ll somehow become addicted to the show. If you’re exposed to something long enough, your subconscious adjusts to enjoy it simply as a means of sanity and survival. I’m waiting for the evening when we finally get him to bed and walk back downstairs like zombies and put on another episode. “Wanna see what Scoop, Muck and Dizzy are up to, babe?” “Yea, cue it up.”Follow Me