Now that we have change.org, people like to start petitions. It’s so easy! Have something that upsets you? Want to find other like-minded people who are upset by the same thing? Want to express your outrage?
PETITION. It’s egalitarian and I suppose sometimes does good things, although there really is no way to determine the impact of petitions on actual public policy.
I have an idea for a petition. I think it could really take off.
I have blogged before about the challenges involved in caring for Louis, the oldest of my dayhome littles. We’ve been through so much, he and I. The year-long struggle to potty-train. Teaching him how to first wear glasses, and then cope with having one eye patched 24/7. Introducing him to preschool. Helping him with manners. Encouraging him to be more independent.
It’s been a long, hard slog, and if his parents weren’t such great clients I probably would have found a replacement for him, especially during last winter. When he’s good, he’s a fun kid, but when he’s not it’s awful, and there were days when I would quite literally count the minutes until naptime when I could get away from him for a little while.
Happily, this hasn’t been the case for some time. He’s generally a pretty amenable kid these days. I do still look forward to his twice-weekly preschool mornings, but so does he, and by and large we’re OK.
Or we were, until a couple of weeks ago.
All of a sudden, I started noticing a return to undesirable behaviours. Whining. SO MUCH THE WHINING. Tattling. Speaking in a babyish voice (“me want it”, “me had it”). Foot-dragging. Refusing to help clean up his toys, or flush the toilet & wash his hands, or put on his coat before we go outside.
He’s been generally making himself unpleasant, and the worst of it is that Daisy is starting to pick up on all of this because hey, driving Hannah fucking insane looks like fun! Whee!!!
He’s even started deliberately and with malice aforethought teasing George, which is adding a new and yucky dimension to my day. Neither one of them naps anymore, and so during the afternoon ‘quiet time’ they are allowed to go into George’s room and play with all the not-safe-for-babies toys. This has been the routine for months now, but recently it isn’t working, because after maybe ten or fifteen minutes I hear George asking Louis to stop doing “X”, again and again, until George cries in frustration and Louis cackles with glee.
Don’t do this to me in November, kid, I’d think to myself as I tried distraction, consequences, more activities, fewer activities, ignoring, not ignoring, adding rum to my coffee (kidding, but only just), enforcing an on-your-pallet quiet time, skipping quiet time altogether. November is not a good time to start acting like a disagreeable little tyrant because right now my fuse is about two inches long and smoking on one end.
I’d been talking to his dad about it at pickups and dropoffs, but while I like his dad a lot he always looks vaguely befuddled by this kind of thing. He couldn’t shed any light on the sudden shift.
Then this morning! This morning his mom dropped him off and we had time for a brief chat.
“I’ve noticed it too,” she said, “especially the baby talking thing, which I was sure we’d dealt with last spring. I finally figured it out. It’s Caillou. He’s been watching Caillou again. It’s now banned. BANNED. You were right.”
If you search “Caillou whiny” on Google, you’ll get hits like “parents fucking hate Caillou” and “Caillou is a whiny little puke” (I love that last one). You can find page after page of parents complaining about how limited exposure to Caillou – as little as one episode! – changed their own children from mostly-compliant happy little people into screaming, tantruming balls of asshole who called their siblings “stupid”.
There’s even a letter-writing campaign to PBS suggesting they not allocate resources to the show.
Parents don’t like Caillou. In a million-channel universe, there is no need to keep this horrible little bald bastard on the air. He benefits no one and offers nothing, so I know that a petition to get his whiny little face out of our lives forever would likely take off.
Who’s with me?