Saturday, July 14, 2012

Darn Children's Commercials

An insidious summertime commercial has appeared, among all the horrible ones designed to make kids want stuff they don't need, like a stuffed animal with pockets.  In this commercial, a boy gets out of the swimming pool and gently hits his head, as if he were getting water out of his ears.  Letters and numbers fall out instead, while the announcer warns that if you don't give large amounts of money to this tutoring company, your child's brain will leak knowledge or something.  This particular visual, of the child losing letters and numbers from his ears, bothered my son immensely.

"Why, mama?  Why are the letters coming out of that boy's head?"   Z even had a nightmare about this poor boy last night, and he started talking about it, worried about whether letters and numbers were going to leak out of HIS head.

Part of me was thinking very hard about my son's concerns, pondering how I might alleviate his anxiety.  Part of me was just looking at my child and thinking, huh.  I do this sort of thing all the time, with the freaking out about obscure and unlikely scenarios.  It was like my kid was in my head.  Is it time for me to face the fact that my kid may have inherited my anxiety issues, which I got from my mother, and she got from her mother, and so on, and so on?   Joy.  Maybe they should put something about this genetics thing in the parenting man--. Oh. Never mind.

So...I had to come up with something simple that would make sense to Zane and would also alleviate his anxiety. Before my morning coffee!  I also had to think fast, because the kid was staring at me, waiting.

"Uh...Zane, you won't leak any letters and numbers out of your ears because that is not where learning goes.  Learning goes up here(I tapped his forehead).  That silly boy did not put his learning in the right place, so it leaked right out of his ears!"  I made it all sound just so very ridiculous, the idea of storing letters and numbers in your ears, of all places.  

Zane thought about this.  I waited, eyes half closed in a wince.

It worked.  He's not scared of the commercial anymore, and he told his dad that he was putting his learning in the right place.  Then, while I had my coffee, I started worrying.  If my kid is actually a genius, and he takes any sort of neurology classes in the next couple of years, he'll be upset at me for not telling him the correct place that memories are stored in the brain.  But then he'll remember that I didn't let him think that his learning would just seep out of his ears, either.

I think that I am safe.


  1. Now THAT is funny. :) And let me tell you... it's summer time here. That means boys rolling in god knows what, taking shower's whenever they please, and an occasional tick check.

    I would be thrilled if the only thing coming out of my kids ears were numbers and letters. :)

  2. That commercial sounds like it was quite traumatic for Zane. I don’t like having to explain commercials to my kids, especially commercials that upset them. I admire the response you gave him! I wish I had more clever responses like that one when my kids ask. Since I usually don’t have a good response I like to skip commercials altogether when given the chance. I was relieved when a Dish coworker suggested I upgrade to the Hopper. With this I can completely skip commercials recorded during prime time on all major networks, with the push of a button, using the Auto Hop feature. This helps so much with the little TV my kids do watch, it prevents them from seeing a lot of commercials I’d rather they not see.

  3. How sweet, funny and yet stressful all at the same time. Congrats for coming up with a great answer that fast. Good luck with the anxiety stuff too!


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