Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 The Year That Was: Oona and Her Dark Cartoons

Reposted from 14 January 2011 Oona and Her Dark Cartoons

Based on an old stat message I found: 17 August 2010 at 01:49 · View album.RemoveLaya Isabelle Garcellano Florendo is watching igor with oona. After she watched coraline. My daughter, she of macabre humor and taste.

Until recently, Oona has been quite fearless. She wasn't afraid of the dark, had no concept that monsters are scary (thanks to the cuddly Sully and funny Mike of Monsters Inc.) and found humor in Igor. She even watched Igor a couple of times and found Eva nice 'when she's not sick and her eyes don't change and she's bad' (long story short: Eva the girl frankenstein is a nice sort-of monster, got tricked into getting her evil bone activated and her eyes turned black-green-evil. But sunlight and true love win in the end and Eva is saved). She also watched the New Orleans voodoo-inspired Princess and the Frog and the creepy Coraline.

I thought she could very well handle some of the more nature Nick Toons then. She liked the funny craziness of Spongebob well enough and although Flapjack was too gross for me (reminded me of Ren and Stimpy), she liked the friendly little boy with the whale mommy.

Unfortunately, one episode had our hero Flapjack running from monsters. The only way to escape is to tickle the scary things until they laugh and become hearts. Flapjack and his friend the Captain would have escaped too but there were just too many monsters. In danger of being overwhelmed and engulfed by a flood of monsters, another friend appears and helps tickle away the scary monsters, the gloomy skies and creepy landscape. Rainbows and a happy day appears. Bad thing is, the idea that bad monsters can get you had already lodged its filthy claws in Oona's mind.

The next few weeks had us trying to process it through nights she'd wake up yelling at dream monsters or crying. Once, Oona got up from bed and locked the door. She stood there pushing firmly against it, saying that now the monsters can't get in, while she was bracing herself for them to try. When I said there were no monsters around, that's when she fully awoke to tell me she dreamt of being chased. I told her to tell the monster to stop and that it was being bad because it was scaring her. I told her to send the monster to the corner or call the monster's mommy. Or me. Or her daddy. Because we have powers and monsters are afraid of us. Daddy rf also told her that she can use her powers to tell the monsters to 'shoo away, monster!' like she shoos away mosquitoes. (How's that for Daddy empowering our little girl? :D) However, it still took some time and few huge tantrums before she felt brave enough to venture alone into dark rooms and quit dreaming about chasing monsters.

Nowadays she's can differentiate reality from what a dream/nightmare is. And the worst she does is wake up grouchy to tell me she had a bad dream. I then tell her to go back to sleep so she can rest because bad dreams can be tiring and that she needs to be rested to have a good day. She always tells me she needs me to be beside her so I hug her to sleep.

Other parents may not agree with exposing kids Oona's age to cartoons like these but it's always a fine line. Like RF says, we can't shield them forever with how media is nowadays. The best we can do is always be there for them and be with them when they watch, so processing the experience and their questions are immediate. You're always on the same page too and you're able to understand where the other is coming from.

These cartoons are also serving as our common ground for allegorical/comparative material for life lessons.

1. Not all monsters are bad. They just look different but some are really good.  Some are even just misunderstood. (Monsters Inc.)
2. Some monsters are bad because they're sick. They just need sunlight, to be talked properly with and friends to help them. (Igor)
3. It's not nice to be snippy/masungit. People you love and friends go away if you do. (Coraline)
4. Being industrious is good, but having a bit of fun is not bad either. You need to rest too. Too much playtime is bad too. (Princess and the Frog)
5. And my all time favorite: Love heals. (All of the above.)

Oona is a bright kid, not easily scared or intimidated. She asks a lot of questions and expects answers that would not insult her natural intelligence. She's also a little kid who's discovering the world and that monsters exist. The best we can do is help her learn that not all who look like monsters are bad and that she has her own powers over those that are truly out to get her.

If all else fails, Dad has a shotgun and Mom has a shovel. Monsters should be scared of her parents!