27 Nov 2007


My brother and his girlfriend got engaged last week, so we had them over for Sunday lunch to celebrate. We had a good day together, and 5 year old C. enjoyed playing with all our trains. He had insisted on bringing a few of his Thomas the Tank toys for Duncan to play with, which was nice of him.

The children were watching a film now and then; something about real people and Warner Bros. cartoon characters playing basketball. Duncan was glued to the telly at one stage, watching as a man was squashed flat by a heavy character, after which a few cartoon animals put a pipe in his mouth and pumped him so full of air that he turned into a massive balloon and floated off. I commented on the funny man pretending to be a balloon, and promptly forgot about it.

When I was trying to get Duncan settled that night, he kept talking about getting 'blown up'; 'Duncan not blown up, Duncan will be fine, be small boy.' At first, I associated those words with bombs, and wondered what on earth he had seen! It took me a while to realise he was still thinking about the film. I reassured him that he was fine, he would not be blown up like a balloon, he would stay small, that Mummy would look after him. I talked again about the man in the film, and how he pretended to puff up, he was a funny man, playing and pretending.

We have gone over these facts a few times since then, and have explicitly explained how each individual in the family was safe from the threat of being pumped full of air.

It's surprised me before, what the children have been worried by or frightened of in their videos. Lady used to be terrified of the opening scenes of 'Brum.' The kindly old engineer freaked her out for some reason. She used to go and sit quietly on the stairs when something she wasn't comfortable with was onscreen. It's harder to remember what Thomas was scared off, since he never was as sensitive as the other two. He didn't like the lion and the bear on the Teletubbies much though, and who'd blame him, the bear was voiced by the intimidating Penelope Keith!


abfh said...

Did you ever see the Dig Dug video game, where you kill the monsters by pumping them full of air until they burst? I thought it was creepy when I first saw it, and I was a university student then.

Looks like you did a good job of reassuring Duncan it wasn't real; hopefully he won't have nightmares about it.

Sharon McDaid said...

I haven't seen it and don't intend to! I'm a total coward when it comes to scary stuff on-screen. I can't handle horror films at all and have never played any of those ultra-violent games. I can for some reason cope with violent writing.

Suzanne said...

I agree with abfh that you did make a good effort to put it in terms he could understand so he can be assured it won't happen to him or his family. Hope it blows over soon.
My 9 y/o Downs boy used to panic when Tellytubbies came on. If he saw that baby-face in the sun, he would cry hysterically.

Amanda said...

We had to put our DVD of warner brother's loony tunes up for awhile.

They say kids tv is more violent now but really quite a bit of the old stuff is rather disturbing too!

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi Suzanne. Once I worked out what he was talking about, it was easy to quite easy to reassure him.
My other children laugh when I tell them what used to frighten them. Is your son still upset by the baby-in-the-sun?

Amanda, I don't think Duncan would like Loony Tunes cartoons. He prefers more gentle stuff. He does pick up interesting quotes though. Recently he's been shouting 'knickers' as in one of the short films on our Wallace and Gromit DVD!

Allie said...

Our P was frightened of a particular Postman Pat video! I think it had someone in a suit of armour.

The Jedi Family of Blogs said...

We have adored Wallace & Gromit since Brendan was very small... I remember when he was about 3 having a "picnic on the moon" in the kitchen, complete with blanket, thermos of tea, & cheese & crackers (of course!).

We have definitely been taken by surprise by the things he's frightened by on tv. I think the worst was an educational video made by National Geographic of the alphabet, using animals to represent each letter- sounds safe, huh? I thought so, too, & left the tv room momentarily, only to be brought back by screams from Brendan. I had no clue what had upset him until I re-ran the video & saw that the "c for chameleon" was eating a butterfly... I found that really creepy, too! We have pre-viewed nearly everything he watches since day 1, but I thought this kids' video would be safe to just "watch with". Sigh...

kristina said...

I guess I have my own phobias but some of the blow-up/get squashed scenes from Sponge Bob bothered (bother) me. Hope Duncan is ok.