February 17, 2011 by Marj Hatzell
Bug Boy has this thing for disasters. Not the kind that Bugaboo makes (sigh). The kind that are man-made or nature-made.
He knows everything you’d wanna know (or everything you could care less about) the Titanic. He is more upset about the 40,000 tons of potatoes and the dishes that were lost when they ship sank than the people who drowned or froze to death. I mean, POTATOES! All those POTATOES! Yeah, I’m a little upset, too. That’s like, potato heaven for me.
He loves reading about the Hindenburg. He knows the specifications, dates, times, story, etc. He also reminds us that Hydrogen can be dangerous. As can air ships. So he won’t ever let us go on one ever. You know, because we’ve had tons of chances to do that.
He watches documentaries about hurricanes, earthquakes and more. He watches video of the Twin Towers falling over and over. When Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake happened, he was hooked to the television and computer, scanning pictures and videos and news stories for weeks.He was interested. Fascinated. Riveted. Couldn’t tear him away.
Last night I came home from a meeting to find him still awake and completely glued to the television. At each bathroom break we had to pause the DVR so he wouldn’t miss one bit of it. It was a Nova special about an AirFrance crash two years ago. He gave me a complete synopsis of what I missed before I came home and noted the theories of how the plane crashed. Because, you know, I want to know how hundreds of people died after a nasty, catastrophic descent into the Atlantic Ocean.
I don’t know if it is the fact that he can emotionally detach himself from things like this or because he has a very scientific brain (like his father. Genetics? OBVIOUSLY) but the boy is hooked. Like, it’s all he cares about most of the time. I used to worry about him having nightmares from watching stuff like this. This boy? Watches documentaries the same way other little kids like cartoons. Cartoons (Disney, especially) give him nightmares. Going to movie theaters scares the holy crud out of my boy (SENSORY OVERLOAD, MY FRIENDS). But documentaries on people being burned or buried alive? FASCINATING! WHOA! MAKE ME SOME POPCORN! That’s perfectly “normal” for ten-year-olds, right?
Now, it’s not really my choice to allow him to watch those things but since he shows an interest and enjoys them? And gets quite a bit out of it educationally? How can I deny it? I can’t force him to watch something he doesn’t enjoy. I don’t have to let him watch anything. But his mind is always thinking, exploring, wondering. And disasters? Well, they are sorta his thing. And he’s already read every book he can read about the Titanic (he has twelve books about the Titanic so far, not including the dozens we’ve checked out from the library).
So. Documentaries. Better than Pokemon to him. Well, they’re currently a tie.