We had a 15 minute break between Isabelle’s speech and OT apponitments this morning. I offered her a snack and she choose the granola bar option. I reminded her to sit down to eat it. I wish she had chosen a different seat. BUT, she choose the seat in front of the television. No big deal, she’ll nosh for a few minutes and then we’ll play on the Writing Wizard or Letter School app before her occupational therapist comes out to get her.
That was wishful thinking.
“Tom and Jerry” was on and she was immediately drawn-in as she nibbled at the granola bar. In fact, she took forever to eat that 90 calorie granola bar because she was transfixed on the screen.
“You know, I used to watch ‘Tom and Jerry’ when I was a kid.”
No response. She was giggling as I explained who was who and why Jerry Mouse was running away from Tom Cat.
Tom and Jerry were having a sword fight. No big deal, right? Well, then Jerry plunged the sword (which looked more like a knife) into Tom’s foot.
“Why’d he do dat?” Isabelle asked me.
“Jerry wanted to hurt Tom because he was chasing him.”
“Did it hurt?” she asked.
“I’m sure it did,” I replied.
“Is he gonna go hospital? For a needle?”
“He might need a needle, but he looks fine. Look now!” I pointed towards the screen. Tom had his sword again and was back on his feet fighting Jerry. Until —
Jerry took his sword and plunged it into Tom’s groin, which sent Tom down to the ground.
Isabelle kept laughing, but I was horrified. It was at that moment I noticed the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen. CARTOON NETWORK. I couldn’t even tell you what channel it is on our home television since it’s never been on in our home. (NOTE: Part of the reason we don’t watch cartoons, other than “Daniel Tiger,” is because kids with Apraxia don’t benefit from the frenetic pace of cartoons. They need to watch slower paced shows, if they’re watching television, where they can see the characters’ mouths move properly.) Ususally the Disney Channel is on when we are at therapy, but we’re never out in the waiting room long enough for it to bother me. But this, this was not making me a happy camper. I was starting to stew, wondering who decided to put Cartoon Network on this morning. And why, oh why, is “Tom & Jerry” so violent? (I’m sure it was like this when I was a kid, but I don’t recall.)
Suddenly, Tom swallowed Jerry. Jerry couldn’t find a way out of Tom’s mouth. Isabelle chuckled, but then she clutched her dolly. “I’m scared,” she told me.
“Of what?” I asked.
“Dis is scary!” she replied.
That’s all I needed to hear. I really don’t think she was scared by what she was seeing, but there weren’t any other kids watching the television so I did what any rational parent would do. I turned off the television.
Until… “He put a knife in his foot?”
“Yes, he did put a sword, which is like a knife, in Tom’s foot. It’s just pretend. Grown-ups use knives for eating. We don’t want around with them and we certainly don’t throw them at people. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” she replied.
Somehow I think this small exposure to “Tom and Jerry” and the Cartoon Network will come up again later. Funny how we work so hard to shield her from all of these shows on TV and all of that hard work can unravel in less than five minutes.