Tuesday, October 6, 2009


On Saturday we got reacquainted with Kipper. In a big way. For several hours. All because Valerie was ill with fever. And all she could do was sit on the couch and watch Kipper. The being sick part? Not so much fun for anybody. The watching Kipper part? Let me tell you.

Of all the cartoons I've watched targeted at toddlers, Kipper, from the UK but frequently seen on Sprout, is hands down my favourite (a little nod to the Brits there). Based on the books by Mick Inkpen, this is the sweetest, kindest little cartoon. Unlike so many other "toddler" shows out there, I really have no issue with Kipper. The series is about a dog--a beagle--and his friends: Tiger and Jake (also dogs), Pig and Arnold (pigs), and Mouse (and cousins). They share many adventures, mostly in their neighborhood, sometimes imaginary. I think my favorite episode is, appropriately enough, Kipper is Unwell. But I love them all. And there are still some we haven't even seen!

When we first moved to where we live now, about 3 years ago, Valerie had stopped taking naps (at just over 2 years old), so in order for me to get some rest, and slow down my high energy girl for a spell, we would watch 30 minutes of television together. And let me say this: While pregnant, I had planned on not letting my child watch any TV (I hardly ever watched it myself). But, as many mothers do, I soon realized that, used strategically, television does not have to be the brain-rotter we were glued to as kids, no sir. It can be a tool. In my case, for "rest time". And sanity.

As I was saying. We started watching 3 episode bundles of Kipper On Demand (we had to get digital cable to get internet service, OK?) This is how it would typically go: I would turn on Kipper and cuddle up on the couch with Valerie. About 10 minutes in I would fall asleep. I would wake up as the last episode ended. I would make the decision. Turn it off like my idealized version of myself, or select another Kipper bundle and doze for maybe 20 more minutes. So, 30 minute "rest time" became 60. So be it. I'm kind of still sane 3 years later, right?

But there was an interesting and rather endearing side effect to Valerie watching Kipper. She picked up a British accent. She would use it now and then, or go for days at a time speaking like a little English child. It's not like we watched Kipper all day long, as I have explained. It's just that we (Tom included) really enjoyed it, so we watched it consistently. Two years ago, in Valerie's preschool class, a parent asked the teacher where we were from. Because Valerie had chosen to speak with an accent all that day, the parent thought we were from Britain. I may have felt a little embarrassed at the time, but now I mostly just get a kick out of it. Besides, Valerie has pretty much outgrown it by now. And she's not that much of a TV watcher, either. She often asks me to turn off the television. So I didn't ruin her with all that "rest time", after all.

Before I end this post, I did want to add something about having a child who is ill. There is nothing like it to stop you in your tracks. The routine comes grinding to a halt. Calls must be made to the pediatrician, the soccer coach, the school secretary. Extra hand washing. Rolling with the fact that siblings are going to breathe on each other and there's nothing you can do about it.

And the worrying. The temperature taking. The forcing of sips of water and juice, and sickly sweet flavored medicine. But there is something nice about the slowing down, too. While Daddy took Andrew with him to the grocery store (sanitize the cart handle, please, for goodness sake!), I watched the last of the Kipper episodes with Valerie, then, my girl who still resists napping, cuddled alongside me and slipped into sleep without even realizing. And I got to share a little "rest time" with her once again.

[Kipper count in this post: 12]

1 comment:

  1. awww!! I laughed out loud when I read that she is speaking in a British accent...that's hillarious!!