Role Models for My Children
"Inspector Gadget is not afraid, Inspector Gadget is brave." Mm-hmmm.
"But The Brain is not brave, he is afraid." Ohhh!
"Inspector Gadget is afraid of the cliff." Hmmmm.
"Inspector Gadget is, was, he's, is on the tree, he was on top of it!" Ohhh.
"There is a back door!" Mm-hmmm.
"Dr. Claw has a trap! A good trap! With a poky thing!" Ohhh!
"I'm going to build a trap! With a poky thing!" Hmmm.
"And trap Mary!" Mm-hm --
*click of maternal brain engaging*
"Buddy, no! We don't trap Mary with poky things! We don't trap anybody with poky things! No, no -- no traps."
I sigh, and remind myself that as wonderful as it has been to discover the delightfully clean television shows of my generation's childhood on Netflix's "Instant Watching" feature, Dr. Claw leaves a little to be desired as a role model.
I tried, I really did -- we have almost every Veggie Tales movie ever released, we have books upon books upon books, educational games, lots of Madeline and Wallace & Gromit, and a mindboggling array of Baby Einstein titles. But we also got talked into the occasional (parentally edited) showing of "Star Wars", and the smart-mouthed Jimmy Neutron made his way into the collection, and of course we couldn't pass up the Three Stooges and Bugs Bunny in the dollar bin.
And really, even if you ignore his protracted whining throughout the first half of Episode IV ("But Aunt Beruuuuu!"), there are worse role models for a little boy to have than the squeaky-clean Luke Skywalker. But no - Peter now is the proud owner of a Darth Vader cape, Darth Vader mask, Darth Vader plate, Darth Vader bowl, Darth Vader spoon, Darth Vader fork, and a red plastic lightsaber. And really, Vader is quite a bit cooler now that I look at Darth and Luke through adult eyes, unhindered by my 13-year-old sighs over Luke posed in the light of the twin moons of Tatooine, blond hair blowing (and blowing and blowing) in the desert wind.
I do see Peter's point. I mean, it's cool that he can play the little stick figure guy all the way through all the puzzle levels of the mentally stimulating computer game. But it is kind of funny when the little dude falls alllllll the way off the cliff and bounces on the ground in slow motion with his little stick arms and legs pointing in all directions. (Or maybe I'm just kind of a sick mommy, also a distinct possibility.)
Peter is very, very creative. There's no question about that -- whatever parts of his brain go in different directions from mine due to his mild autism, the creative bits are alive and well. But I have to worry a little when his creativity results in an elaborate contraption at the top of the stairs, string and Tinker Toys and bits of paper crowned with my exercise ball. I come to the foot of the stairs and look up at this vision of architecture, and hear his voice around the corner, giggling and cackling, "Mary will come home! and she will come up the stairs! and I will pull the string! and it will fall on her HEAD!" It's a little hard to chastise him when I'm laughing so hard I can't talk.
At the end of the day, all I can really do is be thankful for the creativity, since somebody has to design elevators and games and new-and-improved mousetraps. Maybe Dr. Claw never found redemption, maybe Wile E. Coyote never made friends with Bugs Bunny, but Darth Vader turned out OK in the end ... plus, he wore a really cool cape, and when it comes down to it, I just can't argue with that.