One of the big battles I have in my house is finding a happy medium in the evenings regarding what to watch on tv. This would be later in the evening, but not too late; after homework and reading is done and the kids are just winding down.
I was pretty strict before about shows and channels they could watch; and to a certain degree, I still am. However, Nolan is approaching an age where he kinda needs to know what is going on a little bit, pop-culture wise; and a little innuendo is not going to hurt him. I talk to him about what we see; and I don't want him to be so innocent that he becomes the butt of jokes because he doesn't get what's going on.
It's a fine line.
This summer, I kinda let things slide, and the kids were watching "Scrubs" reruns quite a bit. I wasn't completely comfortable with it, don't get me wrong, I like that show, it cracks me up; but there does tend to be a lot of things on it, sex not being the only questionable thing, that perhaps Ryan shouldn't be watching. For the most part, I know that most of the innuendo would go flying right over his little head; but the problem is he wants to be so like the older boys, I could just hear him repeating something he shouldn't at the worst time--like at school.
Ultimately, I put my foot down one night, took Nolan aside, and explained to him that if he was alone, for instance, up with me late, that he could watch it; however, if the little kids were up, he was stuck with Spongebob. I explained my logic, and told him it was inappropriate for an 8 year old, and I expected him to follow through and suck it up, and change the channel.
I told him I counted on him to help me set a good example. We only have two tvs, one in our room, and the one in the family room, so it was important to me that he understand me and that I meant business.
He got it. And it wasn't a problem the next time, when I changed the channel.
I put it one of the many Discovery channels we get, and we were watching, the little man, Audrey, Ben, and I. It was a show about jellyfish.
Giant jellyfish that invade a fishing area in Japan, getting caught in the nets and wreaking havoc on the fishermen's livelihoods.
So far so good, I thought, jellyfish. Eww, but okay.
Until the narrator started talking about how Professor So-and-so studies the life cycle of the jellies, trying to understand how they reproduce ("here he is, harvesting their sex organs...eggs...sperm...") such that their numbers might be diminished. Ryan was sitting up straight at this point, because the next scene showed the jellies being chopped up by the fishermen and thrown back into the ocean.
Very interesting, the narrator intoned, that this chopping up of the jellies seemed to turn them on; made them more likely to reproduce. Some death enzyme or something like that "acting as an aphrodisiac." I think you know what happened next.
Ryan sweetly turns to me and asks: "Mommy? What's an ap-pro, an aphrodisiac?"
My kingdom, my kingdom for a beer, I thought. Sometimes, you just can't win. (Since when does the Discovery Channel promote jellyfish porn, I ask you? Good god, I did sleep too much during biology class.)
I took a deep breath as I reached for the remote. "Nevermind," I said. "You know, chopping up those jellies is kinda grossing me out. Let's see what happened to Turk." As I changed the channel.
At least with "Scrubs" I know if there is a word he doesn't understand, there will probably be a visual aid driving the point home.
Hey, even I have a new, horrified appreciation of the term "banana hammock."
Also gross when you think about it, but offset by presence of the adorable Mr. Braff.
The best solution occurred to me, just then; it's one I'd known all along:
"Time for bed, Ryan."