Have you ever worked really hard at something just to have it seemingly undone in the blink of an eye? I find myself feeling this way about housework, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning myself during baby season, etc. However, lately, I have been feeling this way about my darling bean. You see, dear reader, when my bean was small, I made organic baby food. I wasn't going to introduce preservatives and garbage into MY baby's system, no way. I wouldn't permit her to be in the presence of the television if Spongebob Square Pants or Ni Hao Kai-lan were on because I had read a study that found those shows encouraged bad behavior, poor manners, and lowered one's I.Q. I was diligent, some may say anal-retentive, about my darling bean. When she was born, there were many factors I could not control, but I controlled the things I could. I think she has turned out pretty well.
However, fast forward to the tween years...sigh. All those things I did to encourage her brain development, like playing classical music, reading to her, playing problem-solving games with her for hours, sending her to private school, are being undone by TikTok and YouTube. I swear to all that is holy and sacred, my child cannot begin a sentence without prefacing it with, "So, there is this guy/girl on YouTube..." or "So, mom, guess what? I just saw on TikTok..." She then goes into a very detailed, mind-numbing story about some ridiculous act she has witnessed. I swear I could put my fingers in my ears, spin in a circle and sing la, la, la at the top of my voice and she would continue with her tale. Perhaps I have an inkling of how The Bibbed Wonder feels after almost two decades of living with me and my...shall we call it love of language...insert giggle.
Every time she approaches her dad and begins with, "So, dad, I just saw on TikTok..." he cuts her off and tells her she owes him a dollar. She doesn't even miss a beat and says, "I don't play that game..." then delves into her tale of ridiculousness. The Bibbed Wonder threatens to create a TikTok jar where she is required to put a dollar into the jar every time she says, "I saw on TikTok..." but she isn't game. Eric and I are pretty sure if she would play, we could retire in a week's time. Unfortunately, she gets her game savvy from me. She tried to create a swear jar for me, but I just laughed and said things like: "I'm not playing that damn game!" or "To hell with the swear jar!" She just laughs at my ridiculousness and shakes her little head. However, it is so true that our actions do indeed come back to us.
I find myself longing for the days when I could tell her TikTok or YouTube would put holes in her brain; she would believe me and run crying from the room if it came on in her presence. Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could repeat that message to her friends and they too would believe it? Alas, I don't wield that kind of power over my bean anymore. My adoring, golden ringlet donned cherub has turned into a tweener with stinky pits, an opinion on everything with a preference for processed food...sigh. All that hard work for naught.
She doesn't just watch garbage...although there is still a lot of garbage observed, she watches educational things. For example, she watches two kids who interview individuals to raise awareness and perspective on topics such as racism, antisemitism, holocaust survivors, and recovering addicts, just to name a few. These kids are insightful, ask great questions, and shed light on difficult topics. My bean watches this on her own accord and asks me to watch with her. She also has started a journal of useless facts—these facts or fun, entertaining and informative. My bean is going to be a great little conversationalist at dinner parties. The majority of these facts she finds from watching YouTube. She also watches a few up-and-coming poets who speak to her, and she enjoys their writings. I will never condemn a kid for having an interest in poetry. Don't get me wrong, there are still many stupid dances that are memorized and practiced, pranks she only dreams of playing on me, and songs that I shut down before the chorus, but overall, I guess she does gain some positives from these ludicrous platforms. I still wish I could tell her TikTok puts holes in her brain, and she would believe me. Sigh...I miss the old days.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, find the good in the bad, and wash your hands.