I sometimes wonder if I have been blessed with the unique gift of maternal instincts. Yes, I can change a diaper at lightning speed and hit the floor running at any hour when I hear the word “Mommy!” But in other areas, I feel I am grossly lacking. “What are they?” you ask. I always burn grill cheese sandwiches. Despite my vigilant efforts to remain by the frying pan, I am inevitably drawn away for an instant, and wham!, they pass golden brown straight to black.  Another strike against me? When I play my kids in games, I never let them win on purpose. I am so competitive that you can’t get me to throw a game of Chutes and Ladders.

But perhaps the worst of my failings as a mom is my inability to turn off my overly analytical mind when watching videos with my kids or reading them books. I just can’t get over all the obviously implausible and sometimes illogical premises, no matter how many times I tell myself “It’s just a book. It’s for kids. Leave it alone.” What is worse, I can’t help but point it out to the kids. “See there, Maggie. Did you notice that Papa Bear is a complete idiot who can’t find his elbow without Mama Bear’s help?” “Sam, have you ever noticed that Little People are all kids and yet where are their parents? Why are they completely unsupervised and where are Child Protective Services?” (This is to say nothing regarding the inconsistencies of such award winning programs as Little Bear where animals that are otherwise regarded as predator and prey buddy up to one another or Franklin where the turtle gets a name and everyone else is known simply by their animal type.) It’s a sickness, I know.

Just the other day, we were riding in the car, enjoying a lovely rendition of “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.” This is one of the boys’ favorite songs because it involves both violence and mess-making, which is rare in children’s music. We arrived at the tragic moment when the bee stings the little kid and the bee’s life is tragically ended and here I quote the revised lyrics: “Oh! It stung me! It didn’t hurt. I’m setting free my baby bumblebee…  Sorry, Mr. Bumblebee!” Are you kidding me? “It didn’t hurt”? Now I have swallowed a great deal of political correctness served up Sesame-Street-style in my days as a mom, but this takes the cake. I’ll take my burned grilled cheese and poor sportsmanship any day over this lie-to-the-children-because-the-truth-is-unpleasant bull hockey. Life is messy and, yes, sometimes painful, but without bee stings we wouldn’t have comforting hugs from Mommy. Without scraped knees, there would be no need for band-aids, which we all know make everything so much better.

3 Responses to “Bumblebees, Band-Aids, and the Whitewashing of Childhood”

  1. Emily Fauble


    Amy –

    I am so with you on this! I even find myself steering the kids towards certain more plausible stories! Oh and I too have a tendency to burn the grilled cheese sandwiches, just ask my husband!

  2. anne


    ahh…i have to respond to this! i burn almost everything in the broiler, my kids are nice and always comment when my garlic bread is actually edible. i am also not one to let my kids win on purpose…with the exception of wrestling my two youngest. i hate the fact that every children’s television show makes the dad dumb and the mother the only one who knows what 1+1 is. my poor children are always getting an ear-full of how stupid and far from reality so many things are in their books and tv shows. (my children have come to join me in my passionate hate for elmo.)

    thank you for showing me that i’m not the only mom out there who is willing to comment on the whitewashing to their children. you rock.


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