We can’t stop here, this is Bear Country!

Berenstain Bears
The Berenstain Bears

The Things We Do for Family

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law invited us to see The Berenstain Bears Live. Seeing it as a great opportunity for my son and nephew to spend some time together doing something fun, I agreed. The day of, I was super-tired, and didn’t feel like going. Kevin had to prepare for his impending business trip, and so backed out. My brother and sister-in-law had both been battling bugs for the past week.

But I put on my big-girl panties, decided that for the sake of the kiddos, we needed to do this Family Thing. Why else did we uproot ourselves from New York to become Beantown “interlopahs,” if not for the kids to grow up together?

We drove ourselves, in two cars, mind you, over to the Theatre District and found our seats for the show.

What The Heck Are They Singing?

The show itself, meh. The acoustics stank. I couldn’t understand half of what was being said or sung, so I focused on how the actors moonlighted as stagehands and let the minimal props work for multiple situations.

Fat-Shaming Mama

That being said, I have big issues with the part that focused on The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food. The message is an important one: we all should cut down on junk food and make healthier choices. However, Mama Bear goes into a musical diatribe about how Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear are putting on “too much fluff on their tummies,” and they’re going to rip their pants. Of course, this is then demonstrated by Papa Bear ripping his overalls and exposing his polka-dot underwear, to much comedic effect.

(Oooh, look! A tie-in from the show’s Facebook page touting “healthy” recipes!)

Even though the show moves on to other topics, such as Brother’s grades, and Sister’s newfound fear of strangers, they then return, after their bows, to teach the “Fluff on Your Tummy” song, and related hand movements, to the audience. It begins with pointing out toward other people, then touching your belly, and laughing.

Yes, yes, jolly good. You, are getting so fat that you might ruin your too-tight clothes. Ha ha ha!

I don’t think I can quite convey the ridiculousness of it all. I wish there were YouTube videos of this, but photography was prohibited.

Eating Disorder 101

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Papa, due to Mama’s new rule against junk food, finds his secret stash of chocolates, an amount he proclaims should last him “for days,” and practically inhales them. He then has to find a way to get rid of the wrappers without anyone finding out, in order to avoid the wrath of Mama’s judgement.

Is this really the lesson we need to be teaching young children?

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Parenting Boot Camp

Reddit has some jewels of wisdom. In response to a potential parent’s fears about raising an infant, one Thompson S Sweetback responded:

 

Infants are the drill sergeants of parenting bootcamp. They give you four basic tasks – diapers, burping, feeding, and napping – and then scream at you when you do them wrong. There’s no encouragement, no smiles, just crying and quiet. And they give you tasks at any time, day or night. Just finished changing my diaper? Change it again. Good job, now change that one.

After a few months of breaking you down, they build you back up again. They smile at you. They sleep through the night. They hold their head up, so you don’t have to.

And after It’s over, the tasks you learned – swaddling, diapering, bottle prepping – are tasks you will likely never use again. But the skills you’ve gained – patience without sleep, calm in the face of screams, moving your hand into the shit instead of recoiling – are skills that will serve you the rest of your life.

This is the best description of newborn parenting I have ever read. I’d probably expand a bit on this, if I didn’t have to put my little one down for a nap.

 

 

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