One of the interesting things about becoming a parent at 37 is that, through my son, I’ll be able to see what childhood looks like in the early 21st century. I’ll see what clothes they wear, what foods they like, and what brand of anti-gravity skateboards they’ll prefer. And, growing up 10 minutes from downtown Montreal, I know his childhood will be completely different from mine. I’ll also see what the kids are watching on TV.
I know it’s recommended to restrict television viewing until age 3 but, let’s be honest, his mother and I are TV people. So we added Treehouse to the cable package to see what’s out there.
One programme stood out immediately: In the Night Garden. Created by the people who brought you Teletubbies, this BBC production is aimed at toddlers and is intended to calm them down before bed.
Igglepiggle is a blue doll who takes a little boat “no bigger than your hand” to the Night Garden, which is filmed in perpetual twilight, where he meets his friends. From there, not much actually happens. Last night, for example, Makka-Pakka’s trumpet wasn’t blowing correctly. So he turned it over and a pretty stone fell out, which he kept because he’s a little OCD about washing stones. Then, he, Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy, the Tumbliboos, the Hahoos, and the Pontipines all danced. Then everyone went to bed.
And it’s all narrated by Derek “I, Claudius” Jacobi.
Of course, it’ll be some time before our son is actually watching anything as he’s six months old in two weeks. But he does take notice of the TV when it’s on. I just don’t know if Igglepiggle is inherently more interesting than, say, Fred Langan of CBC News: Business as he’ll watch both with equally rapt attention.
But whatever he thinks of it, all I know is I find it incredibly soothing.
In the Night Garden, I mean, not CBC News: Business.