Friday, September 30, 2011

Who loves Kipper?

One morning earlier this week, before I could fully open Sophie's door to wake her up, she looked at me sleepily from her crib and said, "Duck play in the playground. Like Kipper." I had to smile- I guess this is what it's like to be a 2-year old, when you go to bed and dream of your favorite orange cartoon beagle :)

We started to let Sophie watch Kipper on our trip to Boston when we knew we had to occupy her with something during the flight and long drives. Our friends Amy and Eric recommended the series glowingly and now I see why. It is exactly what you would hope for in an animated show for toddlers- soft, warm colors; characters who are gentle and loving and who speak slowly; sweet and simple plot narratives; and the greatest trauma any of the characters have had to endure is losing his sippy cup- something any 2-year old can identify with. Kipper and his buddies Tiger, Pig, and Arnold (Sophie's favorite), amble about in a genial, self-amused manner, often chuckling infectiously to themselves about their mildly mischievous adventures. There are occasional moments of slapstick comedy but it's high on cuteness, and like I said, low on angst and violence.

Although speaking of angst, we did have a moment yesterday when Sophie was watching an episode she had already seen before, about Kipper being visited by a baby goose. As the video ended, Sophie suddenly burst into tears. And I mean a full-fledged wail, complete with giant globs of tears streaming down her cheeks. I turned to see what was happening on screen- Kipper's new friend was flying away and Kipper was waving goodbye. Sophie was inconsolable.

Later, as I was putting her to bed, I asked her why she cried earlier. Sophie's answer? "Because goose fly away. I sad." Our sweet, sensitive Sophie... This makes me think to never show her the first 20 minutes of Finding Nemo or the second half of Bambi, for a while at least. Until she is of suitable age, Sophie will believe that Finding Nemo begins with Nemo's first day at school and that Bambi ends with the whole family escaping from that first hunting expedition intact. If a goose flying away reduced her to tears, I don't think Sophie can handle watching someone losing a parent on screen. You can watch the full Kipper episode here, complete with the traumatic farewell...

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