Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Billboard Jungle

My children are becoming increasingly aware of the world around them...

...which has caused me to become increasingly aware that the world around them is positively littered with UNBELIEVABLY HORRIBLE AND DISTURBING IMAGERY.

On Sunday I was watching some football with my 4-year-old and attempting to impart to him the finer points of the game along with  the recurring life-lesson that Daddy's team is THE WORST

Throughout the morning CBS was running promos for "Criminal Minds" on heavy rotation, and my husband and I realized that we'd be watching the games on DVR-delay from now so that we could skip commercials rather than having to explain to the kids in-between snaps why "those ladies are always being hog-tied and menaced by a series of knife-wielding maniacs". 

I find myself constantly attempting to translate this world of adult images to my children in language they might possibly understand. As we drive around our urban Los Angeles neighborhood, my kids delight in finding new things for me to notice and explain!

There's a cat!

It's a BIG blue garbage truck!

Look!!! A blimp!

Mommy - what's that?

Well, let's see. I mean, it's a giant billboard featuring a young blond girl dragging her hand along the wall creating an immense blood trail. But wait! There's more! The gory drippings reveal a demonic face as they make their grizzly way towards the floor. 

Me: WOW! She sure is making big mess!

Child #1: Is that chocolate?

Me: Yes! Yes it is.

Child #2: Yeah! Chocolate!

Look at the cool balloons outside that store!

A firetruck! A firetruck!

Mommy, what's that?

Hmmm, well guys, that seems to be an enormous picture of a Nun bleeding what appears to be some sort of bubonic plague-based goo from both of  her eyeballs.

Child #1: She's crying!

Me: You're right. She's crying!

Child #2: Why? 

Me: Because she's sad.

Child #1: Why is it black?

Me: Because she is extra sad.

Child #1: Why?

Me: Because she lost her dog.

Child #2: That IS sad.

Look at that fast ambulance!

There's a doggie in that car!

What's that?

ME: a butt.

Child #1 and Child #2: Laughing all the way home while yelling "Butt!" over and over and over.

Rather than going all One Million Moms on the subject, I'm trying to just kind of put all the stuff we encounter in some sort of understandable context on a case by case basis. 

Mommy, what's that?

And then every once in a while, when explaining just isn't really  an option, we just change the route we take home from school until the posters change again.

Cause I mean really - what the hell is that?