Counting Kids Videos
—by Tricia Wellington for little-turnips.com.
We have a daily routine of counting kids videos. I'd prefer that we practice counting with an abacus, or even my rock collection, but the videos seem to be fascinating at the moment. As with everything I can’t persuade her not to do—like leaping the crib rails and dive-bombing off of the armchair—I have contented myself with helping her do it carefully.
Either I'm confused about what actually needs to be sent to the closet, or I have misjudged the ability of that savvy young mind. Whatever the case, when I was little, digesting difficult or controversial film scenes was greatly simplified by the knowledge that my parents were sitting next to me, waiting to answer my questions about what I was seeing. This was even further simplified by the fact that there were several things we didn't dare express curiosity about.
One. Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life—an essential part of our holiday tradition, and a reminder that one is never poor as long as one has friends.
Two. My Fair Lady, based on the play Pygmalion. Audrey Hepburn as the subject of an experiment in disguising dialects, dialect being one of the means by which we can determine each other’s geographical origins. This one appeals to my love for cultural anthropology.
Three. Hook. Kids will love this modernization of the Peter Pan story, with Robin Williams as the grown-up Peter turned accountant.
Four. Ever After. Updated, non-cartoon version of the Cinderella story that stays true to the original tale while introducing more realistic elements and combining them with actual historical events.
Five. The FIRM’s Total Body Sculpting video. Get yourself some free-weights and a Fanny Lifter and get busy.
Six. Ice Age. The humor is a little steep, but kids will relate to the human baby being cared for by a sloth, a mammoth and a sabre-toothed tiger.
Seven. Antz. Woody Allen as an ant who leads a revolution among the workers. Jokes are aimed at adults, but then, they’re the ones with the buying power.
Eight. Blank VHS tape. Reserved for the times a Disney favorite airs on a Sunday night. We are specifically waiting for Toy Story I, since it is no longer available anywhere.
Nine. The Lion King. Great story, but it seems to be a bit intense for little kids with its references to death and the food chain. More adult-targeted jokes.
Ten. Dinosaur. Really well-done, as kids videos go. This is another great story but with lots of references to death and the food chain—how else to talk about dinosaurs? The fabulously accurate animation might scare younger kids, though it could also teach that the ugly and the scaly are as deserving of our empathy as the cute and the furry.
Eleven. Tarzan. Good story, but there’s a gun scene, and a couple of scenes that dwell on being eaten alive, and the death of both parents.
Twelve. Field of Dreams. Kevin Costner’s flight of fancy about America’s enduring love of baseball. Abundant discussion of the father-son relationship could provoke a lot of father-related questions. Mom-only households be advised.
Thirteen. Vanilla Sky. How’d that get in there?