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No news is good news

Yet another bad week for America.

Just when I thought it was safe to turn on the news, yet another unspeakable tragedy has occurred.

When I was growing up the news was always on.

The Today Show was on in the morning.  Even if we weren’t watching, Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauly’s voices served as background noise for most mornings of my childhood.

At night, the background noise was provided by the nightly news with Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather.  There voices would drone on while my mother made dinner every night and we played or did our homework.

That would never happen in this house.

I actually turn on the news in the morning to get a weather report (lord knows we need that around here) and quickly turn the channel the minute Matt Lauer shows his face.

Once actual news starts I immediately turn to something that’s good for children, like Spongebob Squarepants.

I just don’t want them to find out about how horrible the world is before it’s necessary.  Why should they have to worry that they might be murdered at school or at the movie theater?

So, I shelter them….maybe sometimes too much.

The very first time I knew that my children were very sheltered was when they watched the movie “Annie.”  I thought they would enjoy it, because let’s face it, what’s more fun that belting out “The sun will come out tomorrow?”

Who hasn’t pretended to be an overworked orphan singing “Hard Knock Life?”  What children wouldn’t love this cinematic production?


We had to keep pausing it for their panic-stricken interrogations.

But Mom where are her parents?”

“Um.. I’m not sure.”

“Well, are they going to come get Annie and take her home?”

“Probably not….”

But…are they dead???” the two boys asked with pale-faced horror.

“Umm…I think maybe….”


And so on and so on….they couldn’t even enjoy the movie because they were so distraught that Annie’s parents had died.

I guess I hadn’t considered that there has been such a shift in children’s movies that they would find this alarming.  Today’s movies and shows for kids depict life as pretty safe and fun.  Nothing terrible ever happens.

That wasn’t the case in the 80’s.

When I was growing up Bambi’s mother got shot with a gun right in front of her, Cinderella’s mother died and left her to be raised by a wicked stepmother, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz had no parents and had to live with her old aunt and uncle and even the Sound of Music children’s mother was dead.

I am sure nobody ever said, “We shouldn’t let the kids watch this movie because they will be upset.”

Growing up I really thought at any given moment my parents could perish and I would be an orphan.  That was real life.

If my kids saw this they would go completely insane....Really the baby curling up for a nap in its mother's pool of blood IS a bit much Disney.....

If my kids saw this they would go completely insane….Really the baby curling up for a nap in its mother’s pool of blood IS a bit much Disney…..

Even as I got older the trend continued.

The Brady boys on the Brady Bunch had no mother.

Arnold and Willis’ mom in Diff’rent Strokes passed away when they were young and left them with some old white guy.

The kids in Gimme a Break had to be raised by their housekeeper when their mom kicked the bucket.

Samantha Micelli’s mother from Who’s the Boss…dead.

Webster’s real parents…dead.

We didn’t even care that all mothers in the television universe were dead!

I was too busy being jealous of how much fun it would be to live with Uncle Jesse to worry about the fact that the girls’ mother in Full House was dead as a doornail.

Another lucky girl was Nicole from My Two Dads, whose mother croaked and left her with 2 really cool dads!!

And the coolest and luckiest girl on the planet was none other than Punky Brewster.  Please read the following description from IMDB of my favorite show when I was 7 years old.

“Punky Brewster” (1984) More at IMDbPro »

Punky Brewster is a show about a girl named Penelope “Punky” Brewster. She is abandoned with her dog, Brandon, in a supermarket by her mother. She doesn’t want to stay in an orphanage, and finally befriends Henry Warnimont who adopts her.


If my kids ever caught wind of this show, they would never go to Trader Joe’s with me again!

I was so jealous of Punky and her treehouse and her mismatched hair elastics and clothes...I didn't give two shits that she got left at a store and was residing with a child molester....

I was so jealous of Punky and her treehouse and her mismatched hair elastics and clothes…I didn’t give two shits that she got left at a store and was residing with a child molester….

Blossom’s mother didn’t even have the decency to die, she just flat out left Blossom and her brothers in the dust and moved to Paris.

We thought we were safe with a show that was actually called “Valerie’s Family,” but no sorry….she died too.

The producers thought if we just change the name and show that their aunt is their having a picnic and playing soccer with them...nobody will mind.

The producers thought if they just changed the show’s name and showed their aunt in the opening credits playing football with the family…nobody would mind the mom being dead.      They were right.

Interestingly enough, I hadn’t realized that I spent my entire childhood watching motherless children navigate the world, until right now.

It’s making me think my kids should toughen up and watch the news.

But then last week I accidentally told them about something in the news and it didn’t go well.  When they started to step into a sink-hole in my neighbor’s yard on the way to the bus stop I freaked out.

“Don’t do that!” I yelled frantically.

“Why?” they asked with their feet raised about to jump in.

Wanting to really be effective in my explanation I said, “It could open up and swallow you up and you could die!”

“How do you know?” Michael asked fearfully.

Against my better judgement, (and we were on our way to the bus stop – so you know that’s not when I am at my best) I said:

“Well a man in Florida was sleeping and a sinkhole under his bed opened up and swallowed him and his house and he died.”

They stared back at me wide-eyed and started peering down into the hole.

Alright, this seems small and admittedly I should maybe lay off the news myself..but you just never know these days....

Alright, this seems small and admittedly I should maybe lay off the news myself..but you just never know these days….

There have been nights that they say they can’t sleep because they are afraid of sinkholes.

Before Disney, they cried and said they didn’t want to go because they could die in Florida.

And the best was when Sam decided he was going to participate in the “Tell” part of Show and Tell and started to “tell” his kindergarten class about the man in Florida.

What proves to me that I am right to shelter my kids is that the kindergarten teacher realized what Sam was about to say and quickly whisked him away and changed the subject before 20 children could lose sleep from enjoy his story.

Mention current events again and your expelled....Got it??

Mention current events again and your expelled….Got it??



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16 responses »

  1. Great post. I love your long list of examples. Your Bambi caption was my favorite. Or the Punky Brewster description. I can’t decide.

    It’s ridiculous really. I challenge you to name one central Disney character with a parent who isn’t previously dead, dies during the story telling or suffers from some other baffling affliction.

    Let’s take a look at the Disney princesses, shall we:

    Snow White – Dead mom & dumbass dad who remarries NEW mean mom.
    Cinderella – Dead mom & dumbass dad who remarries NEW mean mom. (Wait …)
    Sleeping Beauty – No one is dead. BOORRING. No wonder she’s a less popular princess
    Ariel – Dead mom & tyrannical dad. Maybe he’s a raging alcoholic. They never say.
    Belle – Dead mom & bumbling dad. Seriously, she’ll be taking care of him forever.
    Jasmine – Mom is “rarely mentioned & she is presumed dead.” WTF? Dad = tyrant
    Pocahontas – Dead mom & dad who tries to kill her love interest. Lose/Lose/Lose
    Mulan – No one is dead but dad is lame. Like SB (above), she’s less popular. And this is why.
    Tiana – Dead DAD (finally!) & nice mom.Voiced by Oprah! So why was Tiana so poor???
    Rapunzel – Mom ALMOST dies. Then Rapunzel is kidnapped. For more than a DECADE.
    Merida – Dad is legless & mom is a BEAR. This actually might be the worse one.

    Long story short, LGGG … you and I should just keep up our parenting styles. We’ll let the movies take care of teaching our kids about the horrors, carnage and tragedy in the world while we keep baking them cookies and singing campfire songs.

    • Thank you Old Dog for this addition!!! I have two boys so I was rusty on the princesses….it is such a strange thing…. I love how you point out the ones who have an alive parent are not as popular…lol!!!!

    • being a kid who was born and raised on those specific Disney movies, while they are tragic I learned from them that even through tragedy, and hard life times you can always choose the right choice and enjoy life. There is always a Brightside and it could always be worse. People today say they are so awful. But they aren’t, they give you a story of a homeless Aladdin, or a girl with no family, or a prejudice society and show you can always overcome those obstacles.
      Teens from this generation lose their flipping shit over not getting the right color iphone and haven’t been raised on these shows…and tbh look how bad it is.

  2. Loved the post….If i can remember correctly, I think even Cherrie was rasied by her grandmother on punky brestwer!! Also, the fresh prince was abandoned by his mom, when she kicked him out and said “your movin with your anunite and uncle in bel air”

  3. I loved your post and agree with it. I constantly stutter when I realize halfway through reading a story to 3 Year Old that I have to play censor. Thankfully the news is something I don’t get to discuss with him yet. I identify with your post, I wrote a somewhat similar one last Thursday. I guess as parents we all share some very similar thought patterns.

  4. hi, i’m following the “i don’t like mondays” blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.

    new follower bev

  5. My kids are much more scared of the real world than I was at their age. In all the shows they watch on Disney and Nick, the parents are either out of the picture or incredibly stupid. I never noticed this pattern of killed off parents – very astute of you!

  6. I couldn’t agree more. The news gets worse and worse. Too many horrible things to explain to the kids. That’s funny about “Annie”. You’ve got some intuitive, inquiring minds there. I was always too busy belting those songs out in my bedroom to even think about Annie’s predicament. Self absorbed? Why yes. Yes I am! lol

  7. You’re on to something here! Disney and Nick are killing parents off… Watch your backs ladies! They’re after us…. 😉

  8. That hole. That man being swallowed alive. It still terrifies me.

    This was a great post. I’m much the same. And damn that Hogans Family.

  9. Holy crap, did I not realize that everything I watched as a kid was apparently about children without mothers. Perhaps this is why my mother and I don’t have a good relationship!

  10. Now, I’m worried to show The Lion King to my future kids. Going to break their hearts for sure.

  11. OMG, SOOOO true!! I loved all of those shows.
    And Tuesday nights…Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three’s Company, Too Close for Comfort and then Hart to Hart. Tell me you remember? Nobody dead there but my fave night of tv for YEARS!

  12. Pingback: Caillou…The Silent Killer | Lady Goo Goo Gaga

  13. Hi! I have been doing the same thing, trying to work out the effect of all my childhood experiences on my adult mind.

    Where did you find that top image of Bambi lying next to his mom in a pool of blood? It’s not in the movie – and yet I remember this image so clearly. It has been haunting me because I thought I imagined it.


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