Not long ago, when I was homeschooling The Baby, we did some learning about media literacy, particularly the rules governing advertising to children. It seems to me that one of the rules (no, I didn’t memorize them and I’m not looking them up) had something to do with telling the truth. You know, like, NOT LYING TO CHILDREN.
I got my toddler fix this weekend, the nephew was here for 48 hours. (when your nest is emptying and you’ll be laying no more eggs, you start to borrow chicks just for fun. No, really.) Let’s call him Peanut, which I do, sometimes.
**Side Note** The child is allergic to peanut butter, and here I persist in calling him Peanut. Is it irony, or just bad taste to call him something that could kill him? Kind of like calling someone Arsenic, isn’t it? **End Side Note**
Anywho. During a rare moment when he was actually sitting still instead of dumping a jar full of sesame seeds in the middle of the floor or feeding the dog every treat in the bag, we watched a bit of YTV or Treehouse or something. A guy was making crafts on the screen, and the point of it seemed to be that a kid could make this craft in a minute or something. There was even a little countdown clock in the corner of the screen.
The guy cut a piece of paper in the shape of ears, glued a rock to the paper, stuck two stickers and a smaller rock on the first rock, scribbled with a marker and voila! A Pebble Puppy. In 60 seconds.
I work with 5 to 8 year-olds every week, and let me tell you something about 60-second crafts:
IT’S A LIE.
This is what it looks like in real life:
Kid cuts paper ears. Kid cries because the scissors slipped and the ears are crooked. Kid tries again. Possibly is happy with the result on the third try.
Kid takes cap off of glue stick. Picks up rock, then has to spend three minutes searching for the ears they just cut, which have fallen off the table.
Kid applies glue to paper ears. Kid puts rock on paper ears. Finger sticks to paper ears and paper rips. Kid cuts more paper ears and tries again with the glue and the rock.
Rock keeps falling off the ears. Kid puts more glue on the ears. Adult has to help unstick all the unused scraps of paper that have drifted over.
Rock is finally stuck to ears. Now stickers must be chosen, peeled off, and stuck to rock for eyes. Kid whines because someone else has used the stickers she wanted. Kid finally gets stickers and accidentally sticks one to ears. The other sticker is missing – after five minutes it is located stuck to hem of shirt.
Now for the pebble nose. The pebble must be located, as it has also fallen onto the floor. Fingers are now covered in glue and everything is sticking to fingers instead of to rock.
Time for the marker to add eyeballs, mouth and whiskers! Oops, the marker slipped and Pebble Puppy now has a large mole on its cheek. And shirt has a new black stripe. Good thing it’s washable, ha ha, as if.
Kid heads off to wash glue and marker from hands, eyebrows and elbows. The cap to the glue AND the marker have disappeared, Pebble Puppy looks like it has been hit by a car, and the kid ultimately leaves for home and forgets to take the 60-second craft they spent 20 minutes making.
For gifted kids, add five minutes discussing whether the paper ears should be brown or purple, how puppies don’t HAVE two noses, and how they’d really rather just draw a picture with the markers on this scrap of paper, thankyouverymuch.
Truth in children’s programming, my foot.