Despite my love of pop culture, I am not one of those parents who push it on my kids. Yes, I’ve dipped their toes into the water of super heroes and Star Wars, but it’s nothing like the parents I know who were showing the original trilogy to their toddlers or putting them on a steady diet of cartoons before they turn 5. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to share what I love with my kids—especially the Bean. But he isn’t ready.
The Bean is what I call a young 5. He’s more sensitive and what he loves are shows like Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba and Word World. Word World is a show that teaches reading, where everyone and everything is made of words. And it has captured the attention of my son like the Sirens captivated Odysseus or how a woman in a Snow White costume captivates me (but that’s another story). Right now Word World is just about the only show my kids will watch. As a result, the Bean is becoming obsessed with letters. He wants to learn to sound out words and he’s asking us how things are spelled. The other morning, WonderWife™ told me he actually read a bunch of words. He’s also been typing them out on her computer. I’ve even seen him try to teach his sister to read.
All of this is incredibly exciting as we slowly segue from picture books into chapter books. It didn't occur to me, but the world of reading is the gateway into cool pop culture. Pretty soon he’ll be into things like the Captain Underpants series. Then I’ll introduce him to the comic book Bone--an excellent all-ages fantasy. There are comics now of Cars and The Incredibles. And when he’s older, Harry Potter is waiting for him.
I’m okay with not being a guy who’s forcing my TV and movies down my kids’ throats. My patience with my kids is being rewarded. Because left to his own devices the Bean is choosing to watch a show like Word World that is stoking the literary fire within him. And although he may not be that interested in pop culture now, I know that he will be once the words start flowing.