How are you?
It’s good to see you…
If you’re a parent you’ll know exactly which children’s television programme I’m talking about. For the uninitiated, it’s this. It’s aimed at children with disabilities aged 4-7 years and teaches Makaton through simple scenarios and events.
R and G are completely and utterly obsessed with this programme, as are most children of their age, regardless of disability. It’s actually one of the very few programmes that the girls will sit and watch. I’d better point out that the girls have very limited exposure to television and only watch a few hours a week. I’m not comfortable with having the TV on in the background 24/7. We V+ the two ‘Out and About’ series when they were shown on CBeebies recently and the girls watch them on an endless loop. Dh and I know the programmes so well now that we can hold (very) basic conversations in sign language, as long as they involve animals and cake.
The programme, or rather the presenter Justin Fletcher and his alter-ego Mr Tumble (I once jokingly said that I wondered why they looked so similar and someone took great pains to explain very carefully to me that they are in fact the same person…) are the subject of intense debate among parents. ‘He’s so pure!’ cried one when we discussed the programme. ‘He give me the creeps’ said another. As for my friend that would quite like to do VERY bad things to him (thus relieving him of his perceived purity), the least said the better! I have to say that while he seems like a nice guy, Justin doesn’t exactly float my boat. Now, the teacher in the episode where Justin goes on a bike ride and Mr Tumble delivers the post…well, I’ll leave that sentence right there!
I think it’s a lovely programme that teaches children something interesting and worthwhile (watching R and G copy the signs is very sweet) and doesn’t stigmatise disability. Each programme features two or three children with varying degrees of disability and at no point are their ‘problems’ discussed. Children take them at face value. I wonder how many parents watching the programme (apart from me) sit and try and work out what disability each child has. I know I do. I should probably feel quite ashamed of the fact that I can’t just watch Poppy or Felix or Entesar (can you tell we’ve watched them A LOT?) without wondering what their story is but with my parent head on I become curious.
Although I like SS I’m now trying to wean the girls off it and onto other programmes. There’s a limit to the amount of times I can watch the episode with Aunt Sukey’s spotty dog and I’ve very nearly reached it. They don’t mind an episode or two of Bob the Builder or Fireman Sam. I’ve banned them from watching the new version of Postman Pat (it’s blasphemous) ‘Special Delivery’ and Waybuloo is just weird. As for Penelope K by the Way, I wish there were still convict ships to Australia so that she could be returned from whence she came. We always end up watching Something Special again.
It’s time to run
I hope you had good fun
I said goodbye
I’m happy that you came
I said goodbye
Please come back