From Treehouse to Teletoon BACK to Treehouse…

How I won my son’s innocence BACK…

I loved Spiderman as a kid… from underoos to pajamas and lunchboxes, I lived and breathed Spiderman.  He was a dude… kind, helpful, and he could shoot cool webs from his wrists.  When my son was born, I hoped he would find his own superhero – someone he could identify and love (besides his amazing father).

TV is a part of our lives.  Walk by any house in the evening and you can see a room illuminated by TV.  I don’t want to debate TV or no TV – that is a debate for another time, but I always try to watch TV with my children, I think it’s a cool bonding time.  With my 4 year old daughter on one side and my 6 year old son on the other with me there is nothing closer to heaven.  I watch to help them make sense of what is happening on screen and also ask probing questions, “How are they are going to get that tractor OUT of the mud?”.  I don’t limit TV to ‘hours’ — we watch ‘shows’ – usually little 20 minute shows – and we usually watch 3 of them (unless it’s a WIPEOUT or America’s Funniest Home Video night).

I don’t know what parents did before PVRs (Tivo for our American friends) – the personal video recorder, a VCR on steroids.  All of our favourite shows in one place, whenever we want them… I swear it was a parent that invented the incredible PVR.  Although my children do not always understand why shows aren’t ALWAYS on – “it’s not being aired until 5pm”, “we haven’t ‘taped’ it yet!” means nothing to them – but that is another conversation for another day (different day that the above other convo)

Aside from ‘Modern Family’, ‘Sportscentre’, and some rogue “Littlest Hobo” episodes, my PVR is full of Treehouse shows.  Most Canadian parents are familiar with Treehouse – a mostly commercial-free heaven of children’s programming aimed at the 2-6 year olds – from Diego to Dora, to the Backyardigans and Max and Ruby (where are their parents??).

My daughter still loves Treehouse but it is my son that was eager to ‘graduate’ to older shows.  I wanted to my son to be young for as long as possible – I fondly remember writing letters to Max and Ruby and also Toopy and Binoo, inviting them to birthday parties and social outings to the mall.

Boys and superheroes go hand in hand and once the Teletoon Retro channel was discovered, the Pandora’s box of Power Rangers, He-Man, She-Ra, Pokeman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was opened.  Max and Ruby became ‘baby-stuff’ only to be replaced by one battling show after another.  I lamented the shift, but realized ‘it is what it is’ – he is a boy – I loved those shows and I guess it’s natural for him to be drawn to them too.  I treasure Toopy and Binoo with my daughter even more now as I know our time with them is terminal.

Then a funny thing happened… I stopped ‘PVRing’ (yes, that’s a word) the fighting/battle mighty shows and he stopped asking for them.

But then a magical thing happened.  A little show called Bubble Guppies came on the screen… a cute little Treehouse show about guppies that sing, dance, teach, and have fun.  My Little BOY was back – the chant around our house was now

“Dad, can we watch Bubble Guppies???”

“If we finish all our dinner and clean up can we watch a little Gup?”

“If we have our bath early and put our own jammies on, can we watch Bubble Guppies – please please please???”

YOU BET we can!  I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can.  We laugh, we sing, and we learn!  I even snuck in a Toopy and Binoo before bed… the innocence of childhood was back… wish I could PVR THAT!!

Never thought I’d say a sentence like this, but thank you Bubble Guppies… THANK YOU!!!