Saturday, 25 April 2020

Neighbo[u]r

When asked if I watched much television as a kid, I sometimes joke that Ms Frizzle was my babysitter.

I don't think we watched more than the average TVO Kids kid, and even looking back at it through the lens of "screen time awareness," I don't think our consumption was excessive in those early years -- but we made good use of our bush cable, and I can still catch most of the 90's programming references when they come up in conversation. The shows we knew, we knew by heart; there was no shame in reruns back then, and classics were syndicated to death.

(My sisters and I also had a lot of freedom to play. We spent a much larger portion of our time thrown outside with instructions to "stay in sight of the house," and return when Mum whistled. I dare say that woman could still summon us with her mighty, piercing blow.)

I haven't introduced Liam to the Magic School Bus gang just yet, but I am extremely grateful for the time that we spend every day under Mr Roger's gentle care. Mr Roger's Neighborhood is a peaceful, musical, curious realm that I am more than happy for Liam to wander through when my attention is needed elsewhere. Our boy asks for "Rogers" pretty regularly, and I don't feel guilty indulging him for fifteen or twenty minutes, a couple times a day. Through my sister's Prime Video subscription we have access to two dozen episodes, spanning from June 17 - July 22, 1968 (that final airing exactly twenty years before I was born). Perhaps when Libraries reopen after this COVID crisis eventually passes we will be able to get more, but, for now, we are looping them happily, re-learning lessons every few weeks.

The songs sprinkled throughout are catchy and positive little jingles, and I find they have replaced most of the pop music that used to run through my mind. Fred's kindness and joy has been patiently influencing the growth of Liam's little heart and reshaping my own internal landscape one heartfelt moment at a time.

I feel we are both in good hands with our dear Mr Rogers. This morning he taught Liam how to say "it's raining" in several languages, and also the importance of waiting (aka delayed gratification) while I folded a load of laundry in peace.

We're into more active play now, and I keep getting beanbags stacked on my keyboard as I type, so I know it's time to redirect my attention. When the day gets long or the making of meals calls my name, I'm thankful that I can beg a favour from for our beloved American "neighbor."

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