Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kill Your TV (Except Sometimes)

I like to watch TV with Bean on weekend mornings; the regular television programs are all terrible so we tend to watch DVDs. I don't think television has as crippling effect on children as many like to make out, but I'm only really comfortable encouraging the little guy to watch if the program is something I'm in control of.

During the weekdays I'm usually rushing around in an attempt to be as marginally late for work as possible, during this period Mama has taken to switching the TV on and plonking Bean down in front of it while she... well, I'm not really sure what she gets up to. This particular strategy has exposed me, in my most vulnerable early morning hours, to far more children's programming than anyone could possibly tolerate.

It's actually staggering how bad the quality of this stuff is, if it's not tailor-made to sell your kids some useless junk it's squawking down at them as if they were simpering idiots rather than capable beings developing at an inconceivably fast rate. There is one I like though.

Yo Gabba Gabba! (a title derived from the Ramones famous Gabba Gabba Hey! chant) is a particularly insane kids show in which a troupe of monsters (and a robot) are lead by futuristically retro DJ Lance Rock in all sorts of song and dance shenanigans. Unlike most of the insipidly butchered nursery rhymes of children's programming, however, the songs are fantastic, often performed by special guest bands that don't suck at all.

Today I caught one of my favourite modern ska/reggae bands, The Aggrolites, ditching their usual tough-guy image to perform an upbeat ode to the nutritional value of the banana. Check it out:

The Aggrolites - Banana (Yo Gabba Gabba!)

Previously we had Elijah Wood (heavily medicated, it would seem) teach a mind-blowing dance routine known as The Puppet Master:

elijah wood yo gabba gabba

And they even featured an animated episode in which a cartoon version of Alex Desert from the trad ska band Hepcat taught kids the virtue of picking up after themselves (though you have to be at least a little familiar with ska music to get the gag):

Yo Gabba Gabba! - Pick It Up (GOGO13)

Good times indeed, if that's brain washing then I willingly submit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yes in 09

In the coming months New Zealanders are going to be asked what they think of current child laws via a postal ballot referendum.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. We won’t be asked what we think of current child protection laws, we will be asked “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” It’s a question divisively phrased to generate a ‘no’ vote as common sense. It is a misleading, irrelevant question that doesn’t address the issues behind 2007’s child discipline law at all.

A ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum is a vote for positive parenting, child protection, and opposition to institutionalised violence. Challengers of the law would have us believe that it isn’t working, that good parents are being arrested in droves for nothing more than practicing sensible discipline on their children. This, as anyone with even a tenuous connection to the real world will tell you, simply isn’t true.

The law is there to ensure that what might be considered ‘acceptable physical discipline’ doesn’t degenerate into physical abuse. Institutions like Unicef, Plunket, Save the Children, and Bernardos deal with the reality of violence towards children on a daily basis, they understand the prevalence of such problems within New Zealand, and they support a ‘yes’ vote.

Physical punishment as a tool for teaching children discipline is not an effective or positive way to help children learn, it is the method of cowards and bullies. New Zealand as a culture has a grave problem with violence; it is tolerated, accepted, encouraged, and fetishised within our national character. If we teach our children that violence is an acceptable response to situations we do not like then is it really so shocking when they grow up to beat their partners, assault people who are different, or react to situations with unjustifiable force?

The facts are clear and readily accessible, and the human faces behind the statistics are all too easy to find. If opponents of the current law insist on wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars to undermine the rights of children with their underhanded referendum question then the least we can do is send them a resounding middle finger in response. Educate yourself on the issue, spread the word, and vote to help those who can’t help themselves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Beean

As promised, here's a few more shots of Hunter in his ridiculously cute Bee costume. Only a couple, however, because for some reason that's all Mama deemed fit to take.

Apparently he was the best dressed there, which isn't really anything to be proud of since we just bought the costume the day before, but you take what you can get, right?

As a consolation for so few Bee photos I offer to you instead; Park Day.

We live just around the corner from Auckland's Domain, a big park area with lots of fun stuff for Hunter to toy around with.

For example, he can eat daises there. Excellent.

It also gives him a lot more space to crawl about and explore than our apartment, which he very much enjoys.

There's also a nice pond there filled with ducks and great nasty geese, Hunter was a little hesitant about the birds to begin with.

But trepidation gave way to curiosity and he was soon barking orders at them in his weird little language.

It's tricky keeping him outside on a nice day because he's really not supposed to have much exposure to direct sunlight at all. We usually slather him up in lotion before he goes out but I'm pretty sure he eats most of that.

He has become insatiably curious lately, he loves the tactile feel of different surfaces. He was completely memerised by the mossy bark on this big old tree.

Bonus Photos:

Bean at a food court.

And Bean as a coal miner.

OK, that's it for now. I might do a proper post with words and everything later at a less hectic date. If such a thing still exists.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I just received a cell phone picture (via the internet, as my phone is the model they invented right after the car phone) that I thought intolerably cute, and wanted to share.

Hunter is off at his first costume party, hosted by Uptown Kids Daycare today. I didn't get to see him off because I had stupid work, so Mama (Edit: sorry, that was Grandmother) zapped me this picture of him in his Bee outfit.

Aww. The costume originally came with a lacy skirt thing, apparently the face my father pulled upon hearing that was comedy gold. Old people are funny. Anyway, Bean destroyed the skirt but he still looks pretty darn gorgeous I think. Better quality pictures to come once I get home and raid the camera.