To Educate, Entertain, and End Accidental Injuries

I'm a really big fan of They Might Be Giants' children's CD and DVD, “Here Come The ABCs.” Luckily, Cal and Henry actually prefer it over other more goo-goo children's music, and it is something that I can tolerate more or less ad nauseum (ad nauseum being the only way children like to listen to something they really like). The grown-uppish songs teach really cool things, like what a conifer is (it’s endless fun for a 3-year-old to point out conifers on a road trip, by the way), and that LMNO is not really one letter but four. And you can't beat the lyrics of "I C U" or "Alphabet Lost and Found."

There is one of the songs, though, that I wish would have been written differently. It’s called "Letter / Not a Letter." For one thing, you don’t really know what the song is about unless you see it on the DVD, because it is really just background music for letters, numbers and squiggles to flash up on the screen while kids (in the background AND your own living room) shout out if it’s a letter or not a letter. This has some purpose, I guess, but a video entitled, "Toy / Not a Toy" would be infinitely more useful to our family.

So, TMBG – or Julie Aigner-Clark (classical music would probably work just as well) – how 'bout if you make a video with the following items, as well as some actual toys, flashing up on the screen in random order to music so kids can identify, “That’s a toy!!!” or, “That’s not a toy!” Just think how brilliant - the music and pictures would carry the message so much more effectively than my constant chirping. You might want to include additional visual effects, stuff that will help kids who watch these kinds of things know that their moms aren’t just inventing the possible consequences of "playing" merely for their breakfast table amusement. I'd so appreciate something that could make my little Einsteins understand that these are not toys:

  • table or floor lamps
  • non-board books
  • closet doors (or any doors, for that matter)
  • toilet or toilet paper
  • anything under the kitchen sink
  • a faucet
  • scissors
  • pens, pencils, markers
  • the alarm clock
  • Dad's wallet
  • Mom's toothbrush
  • electrical outlets
  • extension cords or the cord of the vacuum
  • your brother's head
  • dust bunnies
  • dust pans
  • the pile I'm trying to sweep into the dust pan
  • CDs/DVDs/Video Tapes and their cases
  • power buttons on TVs, players, the blender or mixer
  • clothes from your drawers or the hamper
  • your drawers or the hamper after you've emptied the clothes from them
  • trash cans
  • rolls of Scotch tape
  • the computer mouse
  • the car keys
  • plungers
  • the diaper you just don't fell like wearing anymore
  • diaper wipes (even if you are "cleaning" with them. It's pretend cleaning, otherwise known as playing. Sorry.)
  • food (maybe just a no-no for the over-2 crowd)
  • broken off pieces of things

And for you moms who might read this, tell me really how many of the items on the list your children play with regularly no matter where you stash, lock away or elevate them (the non-toys, not your children), or if I've missed any of those non-playables that haunt your child-proofing nightmares. Also let me know if you prefer TMBG or Jules (Ms. Clark and I have never met, but I know we'd be first-name, nickname kind of friends if we did) for the job, so that I can really pester one of them to produce this much-needed teaching / safety tool.

Before we all shoot our eyes out.

Oh, and what do you think of a follow-up project for other age-groups, like "Food / Not Food" and "That's a Toy, But That's Not How We* Play With It?"

(*See the last two paragraphs of this post.)


Angela said...

Girl do you know how to link! I clicked your links and was delighted to see, and read in it's entirity, the blog your last link goes to. I don't think there's a single thing you missed on your list. And what a brilliant idea, truly. We basically have decreased the annoying recurrence of some of these no-nos by eliminating them from our household entirely. Toilet paper, plungers (if you don't have one, you scarcely need the other!), dust pans, and toothbrushes. Because really, how could TMBG or Voice-annoys-the-hell-out-of-me-Julie AC tactfully put on a screen the "lesson" that mom's toothbrush doesn't go up your bum no matter how well it stays without any hands? And my gag reflex has been ignited one too many times with what my kids THINK toiletries and toilet tools are used for. The only thing I have to add is the dried clumps of rice, scrambled eggs, green beans, or WHATEVER that slipped from the pan unnoticed and fell under the stove just far enough from a broom's sweep and adult eyesight, but not so far that it can't be reached by sweet dimpled hands and consumed as an unauthorized afternoon snack.

Code Yellow Mom said...

And I need to add the debit card keypad at the grocery store and small pieces of furniture like side tables to the list.