Vampires and Teeth
I took my oldest son to the dentist the other day for the first time. I made sure that his appointment was right after mine. The waiting room had a box of toys and he plucked out the toy tractor immediately and they let him take it back to the room. He sat on my lap with the tractor and they began my cleaning. The dental hygienist offered to turn on some cartoons for Liam.
I said, “Sure”, he was thrilled.
It was the Disney channel and it started off with some show about dogs. Pretty soon into my cleaning the show changed to something else, I couldn’t see it because the dental hygienist was wrist deep in my mouth, but I could hear the show jingle of the intro song to a show called Vampirina.
Why? Why does there have to be a cartoon show for children on the Disney channel about vampires? Am I a racist for thinking that we don’t need to accept vampires into society? There’s too many other worthwhile things in the world to base a TV show on.
Anyways, after the intro song was finished, the dentist stepped in and the hygienist removed her hands from my mouth. I took that opportunity to ask her to turn the TV off. It was turned off, no problem. My son didn’t throw a tantrum, he just looked confused for a second and then turned around to watch the action that was happening inside my mouth behind him. For the next little while, he watched closely as the dentist counted my teeth and as the hygienist was doing her job, she explained to him what she was doing.
After a few minutes the hygienist asked timidly, “Was it the Vampirina?”
I smiled (I think I did, her hands were in my mouth) and nodded. I adjusted my head so I could actually speak, “Yeah, too much garbage on the Disney channel.”
She nodded and went back to my teeth.
Liam went back and forth between observing my teeth closely and turning around occasionally to play with the tractor. A little while later, another hygenist came in to do something on the computer. She looked at Liam playing with the tractor (perfectly content and quiet) and grabbed the remote to turn on the TV. The other hygienist stopped her and said, “No, she wants it off.”
“Oh…” was the response of the remote wielding hygienist as she apprehensively put it back down.
When it came time for Liam’s turn in the chair, he did really well. He isn’t quite two and a half and the hygienist and the dentist were both able to count all of his teeth, brush them and floss them. She even offered to fluoride since he was being so behaved and cooperative but I figured I’d save that treat for another day.
The hygienist raved a few times about how cooperative he was. Stating that most of the time they are just lucky to count the teeth of kids his age.
Anyways, I’m not writing all of this down because I want some gold star for my well-behaved boy. I’m writing this down because a couple of things stood out to me.
The second dental hygienist who took one look at Liam and immediately reached for the remote.
Why is that an impulse we have as adults? The first hygienist at least asked me if she could turn the TV on for him, but the second one just made the decision and assumed he needed TV.
Why do so many adults have the urge to dull out our child’s senses with television? Because that’s what it’s doing. It causes them to zero in on a box and block out everything around them. I’m actually glad that Vampirina was on because it snapped me into reality and caused me to want it off.
Liam did amazing for his first trip to the dentist. I believe it’s because he was observant with watching my teeth be cleaned and he watched as all of the tools, water and suction went in and out of my mouth. He wouldn’t have seen all that if he had just been glued to the TV. I think it’s important for children to know what’s going on around them ESPECIALLY if they are in a setting and situation they have never been in before. I don’t think we should just constantly distract them because that’s not helping them develop and understand the reality around them. Something as simple as a dental cleaning is a big deal to a little kid.
Let’s stop trying to just fill up the unknown spaces around them with television so we don’t have to confuse, upset or teach them. Children need to be confused, upset and taught. All of those things are key to them learning and developing in healthy directions under the guidance of their parents.
The other thing that stood out to me is that the first dental hygienist seemed to understand completely why I wanted Vampirina shut off. Why are people so afraid to shield what their children watch? I suppose I could have just let Liam watch the show so I didn’t have to awkwardly ask her to turn it off and then possibly answer the question, “Why?”. The only thing that would’ve done, is avoid me from having to deal with another person and it would’ve hurt Liam. I’m sure you’re thinking, “How could that have hurt Liam? It’s just a TV show”.
Yes, it’s just a TV show, but the ideas and behavior they put in these shows mold little kids brains so quickly. I don’t want my son thinking that vampires are just like us. Vampires origin comes from demonic seeds. Human corpses that return from the dead and feed on human beings. Why in the hell does that need to be transformed into this?
Normalizing something that came from completely blatant demonic roots isn’t something I’m going to jump on board with. ESPECIALLY when it comes to something I’m allowing my children to watch. Just because Disney put some big eyes and a button nose on something, does not make it innocent. It actually makes it worse. So yes, it will hurt my child in the long run to see evil completely normalized.
I’m so tired of seeing adults default to the television and not actually pay attention to what it is that children are absorbing on television.
By the way, I do have an update to my ‘no TV in the house’. I caved. No screen time at all was too much for this single mom to handle. I am not returning the TV to our living room though, it will remain down, possibly forever. I do allow my oldest to watch videos on my phone and my laptop. I’m extremely particular on what I allow him to watch and how long I allow him to watch it. I try to keep my phone time to a minimum around him and I’m trying to make it a point to read more and read more in front of him. I think it’s important for them to see books in hands, it improves the likelihood of them being encouraged to read.