Kids TV: The Good, The Bad And The Put-Your-Head-Through-A-Wall Terrible.

I’ve watched my fair share of kids TV over the ages.

From watching it myself, as a child during the golden age of SM:TV, Mona The Vampire and MI High to watching it at University as “research” for a housemate training as a primary school teacher, to sitting in a dark room at 3am watching Bing Bunny whilst an 18 month old does grabby hands at ice creams on screen.

Therefore, I feel like I am competently qualified to give you the run-down of the best and worst kids TV out there today.

(This is inspired by the current Pokemon series Elliot is obsessed with that we’ve been watching for the past few weeks. FOURTY-TWO EPISODES PER SERIES. Can you imagine what the last series of Game of Thrones would have been like if they’d had that timescale to play with?!)

The Best:

Dick and Dom in da Bungalow: Possibly the best TV show ever created. Laid in bed last night until nearly midnight watching clips of this on Twitter and actually crying real tears of laughter. My favourite moment remains: the girl who rang the wrong number. Back in the day when you only had six channels.

Hey Duggee: It’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing for a kids TV show. They’ve definitely had an episode where everything looked like it had fallen out of a Wes Anderson movie, and it’s given us the true gift that is the Stick Song. I won’t link to that as it’s a serious ear-worm. Or ear-stick? Not sure if that works – ANYWAY it’s really quite cool and I don’t mind watching six episodes in a row.

Waffle The Wonder Dog: Probably a bit of a Marmite program, here. It’s about a dog that can talk. But a) in the first episode, they get married and when they discover a magical dog in their house the woman rips off her wedding dress to reveal her Vet uniform underneath. Second best outfit reveal since Violet Chachki’s tartan moment. There’s also really catchy tunes, the dog is voiced by Rufus Hound and I spend all my time wondering how their house works – it has a very intriguing layout. That’s what I think of when I watch TV shows now – the interiors.

The Worst:

Paw Patrol: I could truly write an essay on the shit that goes on in Adventure Bay but I like to try and keep these blog posts under 1000 words. To sum it up: the Mayor is even shitter than Theresa May, there’s this weird man that lives at sea who pretends to be pretentious by picking particular POINTS OF PHRASE THAT BEGIN WITH P and you could probably swim in the spit that he creates. It just drives me up the wall. Also, your child will be obsessed with it one day and you’ll spend £79.99 on a Paw Patrol Adventure Bay Play Set complete with all five pups and a Bettina the cow and the next day he’ll be interested in something completely different.

Peppa Pig: I don’t think I need to explain the show Peppa Pig as everyone ever has seen one episode, or at least that meme of Peppa hanging up the phone on her friend like a bitch. It’s just absolute shite, from the fat-shaming of poor old Daddy Pig to the madness of why they all live on hills and where they draw the line at eating other animals? We watched hours and hours and hours of this and I dread to imagine how many brain cells perished.

Fireman Sam: I’m not 100% sure that Pontypandy isn’t the town where the Wicker Man takes place. Absolutely terrifying place where things set on fire every single day, and everyone has the Fire Brigade on speed-dial. WEIRD. Also, note that Norman Price is Fireman Sam’s illegitimate son and he’s obviously fighting those daddy issues by setting fire to things. Which gives me some serious serial killer vibes, to be honest.

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The “Actively-Skip-This-Trust-Me”:

Patchwork Pals: The episodes of Patchwork Pals are only approximately five minutes long, but I would honestly make those five minutes the time when you go to the toilet or boil the kettle or hang the washing out because it’s excruciatingly awkward to watch. In one episode, a chicken gets an egg stuck…coming out of them. And employs the help of their friends, including an elephant to help them get it out.

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HONESTLY, I’M CRYING WITH IT.

Show Me Show Me: There’s just something really weird about a grown man playing in a playground with teddy bears. It just seems wrong. All you need to know is in one episode, they were talking about kites and it sounded like something else. Every other moment of the show is irrelevant. Please find said moment here. But trust me, it really does sound like Something Else so I’d recommend being careful if you’re watching it with children in tow.

The Furchester Hotel: I’ll be honest, this is more of a personal beef. I have a deep-seated fear of Elmo that has haunted me to my very core and the thought of staying in a hotel where he just appears from nowhere shouting “ELMO” is…ugh. I’d rather stay in the hotel from The Shining and share a room with the old woman in the shower, honestly. I do applaud their rhyming skills though, as they concocted a whole song around the word “catastrophe.”

Let me know what you think of my choices, and if there’s anything you’d add or change. I’m sure you’ll thank me later when you’ve fallen down a hour-long rabbit hole of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

 

How To Parent When You Feel Like Shit

I am so, so glad beginning-of-November Hayley got overexcited about her new laptop and wrote up approximately 6 new blog posts to get me through the month, because as soon as I pressed “schedule” on the the Gift Guide for Dads, I got struck down by a horrible illness, a bit of a cold on steroids. I ended up laying in bed for a few days and I’m still coughing like I’ve smoked 50 a day for the past 20 years.

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The only problem is – I would have loved to lay in that bed all day and all night. I craved the kind of poorly where you forget what day or what time it is, and you just stay in bed with the curtains shut, festering and watching re-runs of your favourite programs under the duvet until you can speak again. Unfortunatley, I was only able to fester between the hours of 10am – 2pm because I still had to parent around feeling like shit.

Elliot has also been under the weather, he sounds like he’s been twos-ing my 50 fags a day to be honest. So it’s been easier as we come home from school and lay on the sofa under blankets until it’s time to go to bed.

It’s Winter so I know everyone is going to feel like this at some point over the next few months, so here are my tips for getting through the slog of parenting when you feel like dog-shit.

Take it (as) easy (as you can). Give instructions from your bed. I literally called Elliot to my bed of a morning with a whisper to go downstairs and eat his breakfast and then come upstairs and get dressed please. He’d then wander off, eat a banana that I’d give him and then come upstairs and get dressed whilst I laid on the bed and tried to build up the energy to put a bra on. Everyone in the playground that week was lucky I turned up looking half human as there was a definite chance I’d been asleep 20 minutes before each school run.

You don’t need to do shit. I’m going to be real, my house was disgusting when I felt ill. I didn’t do any washing, dusting or cleaning at all for the whole week, I just either laid on the sofa or on the bed (or, one morning I turned our sofa into a bed and really treated myself to a luxurious episode of Homes Under The Hammer). Elliot ate sandwiches for dinner every day (God bless school dinners!) and generally plodded around by himself whilst I was tapped out. I did start to feel guilty towards the end of the week so we did read a few books together and had one painful game of Monopoly that I conceded because I couldn’t actually speak the words anymore.

Surround yourself with everything you love. No, I don’t mean your cousins and grandparents around your bedside holding your hands. I mean, get yourself a cup of tea, and biscuits if you can manage to eat them and settle down in your favourite pyjamas and slippers and watch your favourite shows. We’ve all got comfy shows, I think, that we watch when we’re feeling rubbish. Mine are oddly police dramas so I’ve spent a week watching Luther and Whitechapel on the sofa, but it’s each to their own. Unless you like The Big Bang Theory, in which case I’m going to judge you hard.

Pick your battles. There is no point in arguing with your child about what socks they are going to wear when you feel like you’ve got razorblades in your throat. They want to watch Boss Baby on Netflix for five episodes in a row? Let them go for it. The other 51 weeks of the year when you’re healthy I’m sure you’d do some wholesome activities and as long as you croak out their spellings on a Friday morning then I’m sure everyone will forgive you for the lack of banana bread you made this week. (This is legit from personal experience, as I was getting ingredients out to make gingerbread men on Sunday afternoon and then thought “no. I feel too shit for this” and the world did not end. We just put the My Little Pony Movie on again and Elliot had a jammy dodger instead.)

Don’t be a martyr. This is literally a note to myself as I battled through the week when I was poorly and should have stayed in bed. I went on a bloody school trip to the library, ffs. I went back to work when I wasn’t very well and ended up giving the lurgy to someone I work with and I’ve still got the horrible cough three weeks on. It’s knackering and I wish I’d taken the chances when Elliot was at school when I felt proper dreadful to actually rest. But it’s like when kids are tiny and all the advice you get is “sleep when baby sleeps!” and you laugh it off like “haha! sleep? I’m fine, I have so much to do I’ll sleep some other time” and then three days later you end up crying into a jacket potato at 11pm because the baby isn’t sleeping and your life has fallen apart. Just take my advice, go to bed. Lay on the sofa during nap time, don’t rush around getting jobs done when the kids are at school. Just rest. You’ll feel so much better so much quicker and it saves a lot of hassle.