Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Three-Year-Old Understands Empathy But Could Not Care Less

Finally, another show has punctured the tyranny of Paw Patrol, an overly clever Nickelodeon cartoon about six dogs with cute names who save the day in Adventure Bay on a regular basis. So many crises for one little town. For four months, it was all I heard or saw. Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol, Be there on the double! Judging from the chaotic line to meet Chase and Marshall (the cop dog and fire dog, respectively -- GET IT??) at the New Jersey State Fair recently, I am not alone.

Henry, absolutely enamored of his two favorite pups.
(I cropped my fat postpartum ass right out of this picture.)

But one day in August, Henry asked for Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which is a sequel to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS Kids. Daniel Tiger is the son of the original Daniel Striped Tiger character. (Remember?!) Anyway, I love the show. It is calm, quiet and educational -- everything Paw Patrol isn't.

The other day, Henry was watching it in bed with me. The episode was about empathy. "Empathy is when you think about how another person feels," Daniel Tiger's mother explained.

Later that day, in the bathroom, trying to wrestle my son to the potty, we had the following conversation.

"Mommy, you have to think about how I feel."

"Ok, how do you feel?"

"I feel sad."

"Why do you feel sad?"

"Because you're waking up my baby." [Completely made up reason he uses when he doesn't have anything else to say but wants to talk.]

"Okay. I'll try not to do that. And how do you think I feel?"

"I think you feel mad."

"And why am I mad?"

"Because I'm not listening to you today."

"And what can you do about that?"

"I can listen to you..."

I nodded, preparing to burst with pride and positive reinforcement.

"...but I don't want to."

And there you have it. He understood the show's message but flat-out rejected it. Congratulations to me on my continued success in raising a compassionate child. I can't wait for the teen years.

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