Categories
Parenting

You’re Not Broken

I’ve been vocal about my Disney disdain for years.

Yeah, I like Toy Story (ahem, Pixar) and Tinkerbell (sasspot) and Elsa (she’s a freaking ice queen, hello). I balked when Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, and I maintain that was the right reaction, but I can’t turn my back on Star Wars.

But otherwise? Nope.

Then the freaking Disney Channel had to come out with the their first story of a tween coming out as gay. While the boys don’t watch Andi Mack currently, opting to annoy me with episodes of Jessie via On Demand, I feel like maybe we should give it a shot.

I’ve been trying to give the new season of Will & Grace a shot. I definitely wasn’t sold after the first episode. I texted my husband, working that night, “It feels like they’re trying too hard.” I missed the second episode when it aired and caught it via repeat while the boys were in the room. At almost 10 and 12, they’re still in bed by 9 on school nights as they catch the bus before seven o’clock in the morning. They laughed but mostly played their video games.

I didn’t think anything of it.

One Thursday, they got to stay up late as they didn’t have school on Friday. They “watched” the episode entitled “Grandpa Jack.” In this episode, Jack meets his estranged son’s son. The child in question is sent to a conversion camp to make him straight. It was full of “funny” moments, but also Really Big Moments. Like the one in which Jack says to his grandson, “This place can’t fix you, because you aren’t broken.”

Because you aren’t broken.

Our children need to hear this message.

YOU’RE NOT BROKEN.

We need to tell them this over and over and over. They need to see it in television and movie characters. They need to read diverse books to discover all kinds of different ways in which they are absolutely not broken.

Our children need people in their lives who believe in them and love them, no matter what. On bad days. On good days. Ugly days. Fat days. Hurting days. Confused days. Questioning days. Realization days. All the days in between.

Of course, as tweens, they don’t necessarily believe their parents when we tell them it gets better, when we tell them they matter. That’s why representation of diversity, of differences, of struggle, of overcoming in their shows and books matters so much.

Gen X started the trend when Rickie got thrown out of his home on Christmas Eve in 1994 in My So-Called Life. It would be another three years before Ellen got her kiss on prime time television, not cable. Will & Grace premiered in 1998. We were all older than our tweens now when we saw representation hit the airwaves, though I don’t remember reading a book in the 90s with a gay character—or hell, many characters of color. We’re still working on it, but we have hope for our children.

Our tweens are witnessing something good. They’re being taught an important lesson that many of my generational counterparts are still struggling to believe.

You’re. Not. Broken.

You’re Not Broken

Categories
Parenting

MOOSE!

On Friday evening, or rather, sometime in the dark night of Saturday morning, LittleBrother started screaming. Screaming. FireDad bolted out of bed to be met at our youngest son’s door by a sobbing, out-of-control, rocket pajama clad little man.

THE MOOSE! MOOSE!

At first I thought maybe he was talking about the moon. Maybe I hadn’t closed his blinds tightly enough and the full moon was shining in his window, “looking at him” as he complains that the sun so often does. I asked him if he meant the moon.

NO! The MOOSE! Was COMING… *sob*… IN … *sob* … the HOUSE!

We pulled him into our bed and he eventually calmed down. At one point, the moose was green. At another point, the offending, nightmarish moose was blue. Whatever his color, he was apparently horrific. He fell asleep and proceeded to kick, flip, flop and generally disrupt our sleep for the rest of the night.

On Saturday night, we tucked him into his bed. Around 10:30, the screaming began again. Once more we were met at his door by a frantic LittleBrother.

“THE MOOSE!”

We convinced him that the moose was gone, that he wasn’t in the house and that he was never coming back. Ever again. He looked at us with wary eyes but told us goodnight through leftover sobs. Thankfully he slept through the rest of the night. FireDad and I got a full night’s sleep.

I just can’t imagine what his two-and-a-half-year-old brain is conjuring up. The only two moose (mooses?) that he has experience with would be Moose A. Moose and the moose from the book Moostletoe. Neither of them seem all that menacing. I mean, sure, Moose A Moose is sporting some severely yellow skin which could be a sign that he’s fighting off some form of Hepatitis. It could be autoimmune but I wouldn’t share needles with him. And Moostletoe moose is absentminded enough to forget a Christmas tree which means he could be a raging alcoholic suffering from black outs. But, you know, they don’t look evil.

Or… do they.

Is that how LittleBrother sees Moose A Moose? I mean, I know that his songs can make me feel like sticking daggers in my ear drums but he still doesn’t look scary. He’s really quite nice if not slightly repetitive. (Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?) Moose A Moose has taught us all about the seasons and recycling and being repetitive! (See?) Hardly nightmare material.

I just can’t figure out why LittleBrother has chosen to have nightmares about any moose at all. If anything, I think his nighttime panic would have something to do with his dad running into burning buildings. After watching Firehouse Dog, the two boys have been play-acting firefighter scenes with more frequency. They heard sirens in the distance the other day and had to run inside and find their helmets. Though maybe I’m not all that surprised that they don’t have nightmares about fire. I never seem to dream about people or situations that are currently going on in my life. Only high school, old boyfriends and random people chasing me through the woods. Maybe LittleBrother is conjuring up Evil Moose Visions because we’ve recently cut back even more on our TV time due to the gorgeous weather we’ve been having. Maybe he actually misses Moose A Moose. Unlikely but maybe.

Whatever the case, I sure hope he’s able to get some sleep soon. You know, because I like sleep, too. And a world free of Big Scary Moose…s.