On Fresh Beats and Jump Arounds and the parenting in between

Some of you might remember a little post I did back at the end of May about how annoying The Jump Arounds, aka The Fresh Beat Band, are.  Since then I’ve received several endorsements and complaints.  Today I laugh because I got another complaint on the post just this weekend. 

I’ve been meaning to write a post addressing all the people that are upset with me not enjoying a children’s show.  Lighten up.

At first I was excited that The Jump Arounds went off the air because I noticed a lot of people felt the same way I did.  The show was engineered around four non-sings, non-dancers.  The songs were so very annoying.  But then Nickelodeon made a name change to deal with all the negative responses.  The Fresh Beat Band was born, but it was the Exact. Same. Thing.  Nothing changed.  I bowed my head in defeat, realizing that there must be lots of other parents who allowed their kids to watch the show.  My main problem is still that the advertise ALL THE F-ING TIME!  They advertise more than Olivia or Ni Hao Kai-Lan, more than any other show in the Nick Jr.  line.  I wonder if they actually believe that we would start watching it if they played it enough.  If you play it, they will come.  Maybe it’s more sinister, and this is a plot to hold us ransom.  I’m sure I can raise a million to get them to stop advertising, but I would rather that money go to somewhere important like autism research or making sure no child goes hungry again.

The Husband is begging me to make this post into an anti-capitalism speech.  He believes that The Fresh Beat Band is a symptom of a much larger problem, the desire to hook children in a pop culture that demands their money, starves their soul.  You’ll have to forgive The Husband; he recently watched Michael Moore’s new movie so he’s a bit obsessed with anti-capitalism theme, which is ironic because he’s a small business owner and I remember when he read Ayn Rand.  Don’t worry.  He’ll swing back in the middle in a month or two.

While I agree with my husband, I’m totally fine with other parents letting their kids watch it.  I just won’t let my kids watch it.  That’s my choice.  I’m the parent.

I’m upset because so many people think they have the right to judge me on my parenting over one little post, over one little opinion about some silly kid show.  And yes, it is silly because it’s only about entertainment.  Just like The Office is a silly show.  Just like The Simpsons is a silly show.  Just like Desperate Housewives is a silly show.

It frustrates me that parents out there don’t think it’s their place to monitor their children’s television shows.  Are you kidding me?  We’re talking about preschoolers and toddlers, not teenagers.  We’re talking about the most impressionable years of a person’s life.  Are they going to tell me I’m a bad parent because I won’t let my son pick out his own sugar-filled cereal that was advertised to him?  Am I a bad parent because I didn’t buy the toy my son wanted in the store?  It’s my job to monitor him!

I’m sure we’re going to have talks over the video games, movies, music, clothes he likes and wants.  I’m sure I’m not going to like everything he likes. But you know what.  That battle is years away.  I’d like to keep it there.

I like having a place where parents can complain about random kid stuff that we don’t like because we parents are subjected to a lot of stuff we don’t like.  If you’re like me, you have quite a few toys loving relatives and friends gave your children, toys that make you want to roll your car over or, at the very least, make disappear one night, but we don’t because the kids LOVE them.  We subject ourselves to a lot of shows that have annoying characters.  I’m not a big fan of Elmo, but I deal because it’s Sesame Street.  I think Donald is a loser, but the boys love The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Some days I wish Dora would just go away and not have such silly adventures (though I totally want a chocolate tree), but the boys are actually using Spanish that I obviously didn’t teach them.  I’m willing to eat a lot more vegetables because I’m setting a good example.  I’m willing to eat a lot more “kid food” if that means they’ll eat, especially if they eat the vegetable side dishes.  We’re willing to give up our television programming so that our kids watch something age-appropriate, and we’re willing to watch shows we don’t like because we don’t want our kids sold to by advertisers.  We do these things because we love our kids and want to be the best parents we can be.

But in the end, my opinion doesn’t matter.  I’m just a mom, living in Arizona, doing the best I can.  I get to be the loving, imperfect mom to two boys, and they are the ones who should care how I parent.  My opinion shouldn’t affect any you because you are the parents of other kids.  If I mess up, then I’ll just pull money out of the therapy fund for my kids.  And if you mess up, then hopefully you have a therapy fund.  Because I’ve learned one thing about this parenting business, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.  So don’t judge.

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Christmas Crafts for Kids, Toddlers, and Babies

Because Christmas is coming around the corner and we’re all trying to figure out what to do, I thought I would throw out some suggestions of things I’ve done in the past with my boys.  Some of these can be down with babies as well as older children.  In a week or so, I’ll make some new holiday gifts with the boys, and I’ll post those too.


Paper Ornaments

(Nothing is better than home-made ornaments.  These are simple and easy.  Perfect for toddlers.  For older children, use glue and glitter to decorate.  Grandparents are suckers for these sort of things.  Evan loved doing this last year.)


Things you need:


  • Construction paper
  • Christmas cookie cutters
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Ribbon
  • Crayons, markers, glue, glitter (whatever you want to decorate with)


Trace the cookie cutters with a pen on the construction paper.  Cut the shape out.  Have the child decorate the shapes.  Punch a hole in the top and string with ribbon.  Don’t forget to mark the year and the child’s name on the back.



Lid Ornaments

(I haven’t done this with Evan yet, but I remember doing them when I was four and loved it.  My mom still has mine hanging on the tree every year)


Things you need:


  • Plastic lids (from butter containers or sour cream containers or any top)
  • Hole puncher
  • Old Christmas cards or magazines
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Glue


Have the child cut out (or if it is a toddler, cut it out for the child) a picture of Christmas.  Let the child glue the picture on the lid.  Punch a hole in the lid and string it with some ribbon.  Don’t forget to mark the year and the child’s name on the ornament.



Footprints and Handprints

(When Evan was a baby, I inked up his feet and put down footprints that I decorated and framed for my parents and in-laws.  They loved it.  You can either frame the footprints or handprints or you can make them into ornaments.)


Things you need:


  • White paper
  • Washable ink pad
  • Wet wash cloth or wipes
  • Hole punch, scissor, ribbon (if you make the ornament)


Just ink the feet or hands (on young babies, hands are difficult).  Then place the inked hand or foot onto the paper.  Wash the hand or foot right away for nothing else gets decorated. 



Handprint Shirt

(The last time we did this, Evan loved it, and Sean was too little to remember, but we plan on doing it again.  I looked online for clever shirt sayings.  Our favorite: “You’re the best (fill in here)!  Hands Down!”  We also put the ages and names of the boys underneath their hand prints.  My dad loves his shirt.)


Things you need:


  • Shirt
  • Fabric paint
  • Cardboard
  • Wipes


(If you don’t like the raise look of fabric paint writing, water down the fabric paint a little bit and use a brush or pencil to write the saying.)


Place the cardboard inside the shirt to keep the paint from bleeding through.  Write the clever saying with the fabric paint.  Allow it to dry.  Then dip the child’s hands into the paint, making sure it’s nice and even, and place the hands on the shirt.  Wipe the child’s hands immediately.  Allow the hand prints to dry, and write the name and age of the child.


Picture Frame


(I did this for a gift.  The boys loved painting the frame and showing it off later.  I used the black paint as the background color.  I had them paint on newspaper on the floor.)


What you need:


·      Unfinished thick picture frame (the thicker the better to give room for toddler creativity)

·      black or white paint

·      finger paints

·      paint brushes

·      sealer or top coat

·      sand paper

·      smock


First sand and prep the picture frame.  Next paint the background color with white or black paint.  Once the background paint is dry, have the child paint the frame.  After the painting is dry, paint the sealer or clear top coat to protect the painting.


Check out these posts for more Christmas and winter craft ideas:

More Christmas crafts

Winter and Christmas crafts

Christmas Crafts for kids, preschoolers, and toddlers part 2