Just to get it out of the way, I let my kid watch television.
I’m not proud of it or anything but a lot of days I need a mental health break from mommy/caretaker mode and put it on for an hour to myself. For my 18 month old there really isn’t really much that holds her attention except for Teletubbies or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I normally opt for the latter because it’s easier to find on Netflix or the dish.
This morning I decided to put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for PJ while I unpacked some boxes. Normally I don’t give it much thought, I don’t really pay attention to the dialogue except for those ridiculously catchy tunes. But today I paid attention to the dialogue and caught Mickey throwing shade at Goofy for calling himself handsome. I remember giving the computer a side eye glance but kept on going through boxes. As the episode progressed they called on Toodles and the handy helpers to bring them a Mouskatool. I was completely appalled that one of the Mouskatools was Pete’s pants. They used them as a sail but the way that they mentioned it and then laughed that Pete got left without pants made my blood boil. I couldn’t believe that this beloved Disney character was promoting alienation and bullying of his “friends.”
I thought that this might have been just one episode. Disney couldn’t possibly be promoting these morally corrupt values to 0-5 year olds. I started watching other episodes and saw these instances recurring more and more. How is it that a show with talking mice, ducks, and dogs can encourage children to poke and make fun of things or people that are different? Are these the type of leaders and role models we want to give our children?
My job is to raise my child to be kind, loving, and generous. To encourage her to be the best her she can be. But we all know that no matter how well a parent tries to nurture these values in their child, bits of their character are molded by what they see on television.
Imagine that these little jabs Mickey gives to Goofy or Pete are a drop of water, each one collecting at the bottom of a bucket. Eventually those individual droplets fill the bucket creating a pool. That bucket is your child’s mind and those droplets form the pool that are filling it up. That pool is what your child is made up of. Images of bullying and alienation become her normal. The children watching these shows are at such an impressionable age. Should we really be allowing them to be watching these things? NO!
After today I don’t will not allow PJ to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or any television program that advocates, no matter how stealthily, the mistreatment of people different than the social norm. All of us, no matter how cool we think we are, are quirky, weird, and dare I say it, DIFFERENT. I’m not going to teach my daughter that she has to fit a societal mold because it makes people feel more comfortable. I’m going to encourage her to be whoever she is, no matter what anyone else may say.
When I moved there were certain things I was sure I would miss like Publix supermarkets and my local Chinese restaurant. However there were other things that I’m doing surprisingly well without. The list is divided between things I thought I’d miss before coming here and things I didn’t realize I wouldn’t miss until I got here.
If there’s one chore I hate it’s loading and unloading the dishwasher. There’s just something about it that frustrates the hell out of me. When we first got to Uruguay I realized that dishwashers aren’t as common as they are in the United States. I used to think that if I hated a machine washing my dishes then I couldn’t imagine being happy having to wash dishes by hand. Much to my surprise I actually prefer washing dishes by hand than I ever did using a dishwasher. My dishes are much cleaner, hardly any water spots and dishes get cleaned right away as opposed to piling up in the sink.
2. Big Box supermarkets
Yes there are big box supermarkets in Uruguay, however I don’t like shopping there much. The produce isn’t as fresh as buying from an outside vendor and I get better deals on protein buying it from a butcher. Their “artisanal”breads leave something to be desired so I usually buy it from a bakery. Living in my small town is what I imagine it must have been like pre-1950s in the United States. Don’t get me wrong, I miss Target so much but for every day shopping I prefer buying locally.
3. Fast food
Oh my word, I was a frequent patron of fast food establishments when living in the States. I’m talking about I went to Wendy’s or McDonald’s twice a day. I was worse than an American statistic. I’m not proud of that. When I moved to Uruguay I realized that while yes they have McDonald’s and Burger King it is only in shopping malls or in Montevideo. Meaning, if I wanted to grab some McD’s I would need to travel an hour and a half to get some. Needless to say I have managed to survive without those golden arches.
I’m not going to say I don’t watch television anymore because that would be a lie. But when I moved to Uruguay I thought that finding something to watch in English would be next to impossible. Luckily it isn’t as most TV shows aren’t dubbed but subtitled. Not only do I lack time to watch TV but seasons are so off from what’s currently airing in the States that I just don’t bother. I mean, they JUST started airing How I Met Your Mother. I will say though I really miss watching HGTV.
5. The “big” city
Before leaving Miami, I knew we would be moving to a farm. I pictured small towns of twenty people, miles of wheat and red barn houses. I was already missing my suburban life before stepping foot on the plane. After being here for a year and a half and having returned to Miami I can say I wholeheartedly never want to return. I like our town of 6,000+ inhabitants and I like that I can scream as loud as I want and my neighbors can’t hear me. My daughter has 40 acres of land to run around on and plenty of animals to entertain her. There are some aspects of city living I miss like an abundance of ethnic food restaurants and things being open past 6:00pm but overall I’ve fallen in love with small town living.
To my fellow expats, is there anything you thought you’d miss that you find yourselves making due without? I’d love to hear about them!
Be on the lookout for my follow up post to this, “The ___ things I didn’t know I’d miss…” coming soon!