Quitting Kindergarten

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S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, September 10th. The quitting kindergarten edition. I’m Elizabeth New. Can’t I write the homeschool and Family Travel blog? Dutch, Dutch. I’m the mom to three. Little Henry eight, Oliver six and Teddy three. And I’m living in NIPA, Florida.

S3: I’m Jenny Alemu. I’m a writer, communication strategist, a contributor to Slate Care. Karen Feeding Parenting column, host of Slate’s The Kids Are Asleep and Mom tonight, Emma, who is six. And we live in Los Angeles, California.

S2: Everyone, I’m Dan Coates. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family. I’m the dad of Laura, who’s 15, Harper who’s 13. And we live in Arlington, Va.. Today on the show, we have a question about a kindergartner getting fed up with screen school. We’ll also be discussing a wild question about a little one who told his mother that he wants to kill her.

S4: As always, we have triumphs and failures and recommendations. So, Djamila, will you start us off today? Do you have a triumph or a fail?

S5: Well, off the heels of last week’s grand double triumph. I had to show up with a fail. I inadvertently fostered a cat this weekend.

S4: So you’ve added a cat?

S1: No, no. I was so interested in the inadvertant part. Please tell what happened.

S5: So 5:00 in the morning on Sunday and get up. Go to the bathroom. NamUs brother was visiting. They’re both asleep in her room. So I get up, go to the bathroom and I see that the cat is on the floor behind me. I’m like, OK, cool is the cat. And then I’m like, that is not our cat. That is an entirely unfamiliar cat that is on the floor of my bathroom while I am eating at 5:00 in the morning. The house is dark. There is nobody here to turn to. I’m all on my own with this ghost cat. I did go look at the sleeping children and try to decide, like maybe I could just wake them up for some moral support and decided against it. I mean, I know exactly how the cat could have gotten like, I’ve got a very bad habit of leaving the patio door open at times for a little air. And because I do like candy girl running around a bit outside anyway. So there’s this cat in my bathroom, so I’m freaked the heck out. Like I’m just like, what the fuck? Like, I just I’m terrified. And it turned out to be a Bengal. So Bengals have these like Tiger ish markings, almost like cheetah print. I was like, so now I’m facing cultural appropriation in real life. I’m like, is this little white girl with braids? Feels like when she comes across a black girl with braids, like, terrified, I’m like, oh, this animal print in my closet. I went to bed looking at animal print wallpaper and I wake up to an actual while looking at all my bathroom and I don’t like coming home to roost, bitch. Yes, the cat came home to roost and so I really didn’t know what to do. I looked to my cat for guidance and she’s basically hiding behind me. I noticed that she was lingering around the shoulder and I wanted to believe that she was trying to protect them. But I think honestly, she was hiding behind them. And so I look at the cat, I say, shoo, she doesn’t do anything. I’m like, I don’t really know what to do. So I go back to bed. I’m like, I just have to deal with this in the morning. Like, I don’t have the capacity.

S1: I did everything a human being could possibly be. Everything.

S5: Yeah, I thought about it, I, I smoked from room to room. I shivered with fear and discomfort and I was just like, you know, I, I don’t know, like I just have to go to bed.

S6: You’re terrified of the cat while awake, but OK to go sleep with the cat in your house.

S5: Listen, I am not an early riser. I’m like 5:00 in the morning. I’m like, there’s not enough beer in me to get this cat out of my house. If I were a dog or a mouse or rat or something, I probably would have had a hard time going to sleep. But another cat, I was like, you know what? You’re probably not going to kill me. It is what it is. So I go to sleep the next day when the kids get up and I’m like, hey, I’m not trying to scare you, but there’s a you know, I show them pictures like, so there’s this other cat in here. I’m not really sure what that’s going to play out, but it’s got to go. So name is Brother, who’s five is afraid of Candy Girl. They’ve got a love hate relationship like part of him wants to be her best friend. And I see him like trying to like he doesn’t want to see it where he’s like trying to pet her, like talk to her quietly when we’re not looking because he’s like afraid the leg will comment on it or something. And so and he’s insecure about like her liking him or not and halfway scared of her. So I’m like, oh my God, he’s going to freak out because there’s a stranger cat in here. Like it took three years for him to get used to this cat. And now there’s a weirdo cat in here that looks like a tiger. And so he tells me this whole elaborate story about like he knew there was a cat in here because Candy Girl had hopped into bed with them while they were asleep. And he saw the other catwalk by, you know, and I said, what did you do? And I didn’t you know, I didn’t do anything. He tells the whole story. And then I am and I look at each other like, this didn’t happen. And so then he gets upset. He’s like, I hate it when. People don’t believe me, I said, but it’s not what you said didn’t happen, it wasn’t true. He said, yes, but I don’t like not being believed. So the whole thing I tweet about it and a woman who I know from the Internet and I’ve known for many years was like, oh, my God, my husband and kids would love to have this cat. Why don’t we come? We can come foster it, you know, like while you figure out if it belongs to a neighbor or something because I was a cow, put some signs up, take pictures was like, well, we’ll take it up and like, great, because I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with this right now. So I put some food and water out for the cat. It stayed largely away from us under my bed and under my dresser. At one point, Candy Girl kind of got a little bit too close and she kind of histo her. But it wasn’t too aggressive. It was just more I was more like, I’m afraid. So I saw that she ate some of the food and drink, some of the water because it’s gotten pretty warm in the house. So I was like, OK, I have to make sure she doesn’t die in here because that’s going to be a whole other series of traumas to deal with. And so my friend and her husband come to get the cat and we can’t find it. And so then I realized I left the patio door open and we had a little trouble coordinating you. They were running errands Sunday. I’m running errands. I dropped the kids and I feel so bad. I’m like they came all the way over in a 20 minute drive. There’s no cat, you know, I’m so sorry. We’re cool about it. If I say it again, let them know whatever, because it’s a Bengal’s. There’s also a good chance that this cat belongs to somebody. And so before I could go to bed, a cat had pops up from the side of my bed because it was still here. So even though the door had been open for hours, it could have left. It had chosen to remain yesterday morning. I’m again, kind of like, OK, what am I going to do? She then peed and pooped in my bed. And that was the final straw for me, especially because I laid down before. I was like, what the hell? What what do I smell? What what does that oh, my God, it’s in the bed with me, the pee in the poop. And so I had to toss my mattress protector on my sheets and I opened the window and she got out. And I do not miss her. I think she got out.

S1: She’s she’s in closet with you right now, as she is probably in the closet with me right now. That is a remarkable story, Jimi. I simply do not understand why did you just not throw the cat out the door instantly and be like, I wash my hands, you cat with my hands?

S5: Yeah, no, like, pick up the cat and throw it out the door. What if it killed me?

S1: I guess I guess I hadn’t considered that appropriately.

S5: I can’t I it’s hard for me to even like and I’ll pick up my own car. I pick up my car at the time, but like, the only way I would know to grab a stranger cat is like, you grab it by the scruff, you know, so it can’t, like, do stuff. And that’s terrifying. It sucks to grab a cat by the scruff if you’ve ever done it. It feels like it’s trying to spank a child or something. It’s like it’s how their mothers pick them up with their mouths. It’s a cat. Right.

S6: Yeah, what if it had bugs on it or something, but it was already in your house, right?

S7: That’s a clean and I’ve had to go to Home Depot and get cleaning stuff and a renting a rug doctor from the grocery store. And I’m going to do some deep cleaning of my upholstery and my bed.

S1: Good thing you’re moving out. Yes, they I’m moving out because that cat is definitely coming back. That cat seems like an agent of chaos and it is returning as soon as possible to make my bed.

S5: This is our house now. Like what’s right? Honestly, I like I get the keys on the 15th and the plan is for us to start staying there like on the 30th, you know, like once everything is out and I’m like, we might just have to pop up an air mattress.

S8: So one hundred percent chance. When you open the door to the new apartment and look inside, that cat is going to be sitting in the middle of the floor like licking its pond, staring at the cat, came back the very next name and her brother going through a goosebump state right now.

S5: And I feel like I’m living a goosebumps.

S1: This is Act one of a Goosebumps story for sure. Yes. Well, that’s an incredible story. I don’t have anything else to add. A remarkable cavalcade of fails. A lot of great job.

S4: Thank you.

S1: So, Dan, triumph or fail for you while I’m talking to you on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, the tail end of the very first day of school here in Arlington. It’s been a real roller coaster, but I feel very comfortable in saying that overall it was a gigantic fail in every way. So the kids, the kids got up early. Harper had to wake me up because my alarm was beeping, but I did not and had not woke me up. So like, I woke up to Harper poking me, being like, dad, dad. So they both got in front of their computers. We took adorable photos of them. And within an hour of school starting, we had received emails from both of their schools, plus the school district, like the whole school district. All of those emails basically saying, yes, we know everything is fucked, we’re working on it. Sorry. And so they had different experiences. Harper got online right away. I think she was early being Harper. She I think she got online before almost everyone else did. So she did not face any capacity issues when she was trying to get online. Then there are some glitches for her mid-morning because Canvas just stopped working for a while. But eventually she got back in and there was maybe only half an hour where she was supposed to be in class and she couldn’t be in that class. Lyra, on the other hand. Had these long delays on canvas and out of Microsoft teams, I think probably because of high schoolers started last. So I think Candice was already stressed by the middle schoolers and elementary school who are already on. But she finally got into her first and second period classes.

S8: But then after lunch, lunch, incidentally, is at the famously midday time of 10 40.

S1: Am I loved in 10, 40 lunches class and think, well, they do that, of course, because otherwise all those kids would be in the cafeteria at the same time during online school. But anyway, so after lunch, just everything stopped working completely like her school computer. Stop talking to the Internet. It wasn’t even that you can log in. It was that it just stopped talking to the Internet completely. Something about the VPN that Arlington schools use was clearly broken. And then we put her on our home computer and then she couldn’t get into her English class that we’d written down on the schedule. Then we figured out that we had written her schedule down wrong. Actually, she was supposed to be in chemistry, so eventually she made her way to chemistry. But there’s like a solid hour of fighting with websites and global connection and emailing teachers. And then we called the school’s tech support line. If you go to any apps school this afternoon online, there’s a big thing on the top that’s like call this number and then you call that number. And it’s like we are unable to take your call. Right. Leave us a message. And Lyor left a hilarious message that was just like, I can’t get in. What am I supposed to do? So that was day one. They were lots of errors, errors by us and errors by the school district and errors by probably by like campus programmers ten years ago or whatever, whatever they initially created that software. We were not always at our best through this process. There are some snapping. Lyor was understandably angry with us for writing everything down wrong and causing her to miss half a class. We were angry with everyone in each other. The only good thing about the whole process was that Lara started out the day very anxious about missing class. When she was a few minutes late for her first period class. She was like, What if I’m the only one? I don’t like this. It makes me very nervous. And by the end of the day, she’d been so beaten down by the process that all her anxiety had been replaced by just like a glum knowledge that this is how it was going to be forever. So I thought that that was good.

S4: It was like immersion therapy, like, oh, you want to be scared of being late, you’ll just be late for.

S1: Yes, you’ll be late for the rest of the rest of school. So anyway, we got one hundred and seventy four more chances to get it right. And I’m pretty sure everything’s going to go great tomorrow. But I’ll report back next week.

S5: I can’t. Can you imagine what it feels like to be a high school teacher having to interact with high school kids possibly in earshot of their parents? Like I know most kids are wearing headphones, especially at that age. But like I said, I just I don’t know. I’ve been thinking a lot about teachers and the idea that they have an audience now. And for some, that’s really great there, you know what I mean?

S7: Like, they’re going to be some teachers who need to be overheard by somebody, mom or dad or grandma, like, while they’re being super rude or nasty to children. And so they can be, you know, corrected or removed.

S8: But still, the performance anxiety I would have I think you’re right that there’s going to be like a wave of stories any day now about parents who overheard a teacher say something in class, totally misconstrued it. And immediately it’s hard to get that teacher fired. Like, that’s that’s definitely going to happen. Right.

S9: Or what about everything being online and being able to be recorded and reproduced and screenshots and video shots and of everything.

S1: Every lesson is supposedly recorded and archived for the kids. So nothing nothing’s lost. Now, whatever you say in class, it’s there forever.

S4: It sounds terrible. I’m sorry your kids had a terrible first day, but at least you were home with them, because I think, like, a lot of those things sound like things that they could have come home and had happen. Like I showed up at the wrong class. I didn’t have the wrong schedule.

S1: You know, in real life, if you’re having a problem, the whole world doesn’t just buffer around you for forty five minutes because of connectivity issues. Eventually someone talks to you and tells you what to do. That’s not an option here. I was glad that I took the morning off from work to try and help. Sometimes I was helpful and sometimes I’m sure my kids were like, Jesus, just go to work. You’re not helping me. But we’ll see. I’m taking tomorrow morning off to we’ll see how it could be another day.

S4: Yeah, I am going to complete the triple fail triple valley.

S9: We headed to northern Alabama this weekend. Navarre was hosting the world record setting Trump boat parade.

S1: That was that one in Nevada. They stop at Crab Island.

S4: Yes, they did the entire sound. We, unlike the one in Texas, had no boat sink. So that’s a bonus. I don’t know if everyone was apparent. Safe, but we decided we just didn’t really need to be our town has one road and just. Yes, didn’t need to be here for that. So headed up into the mountains and it was nice to get away. We did a bunch of hiking with the kids, which they like, but we haven’t really taken along other than my, you know, my attempt at starting a drive last week, which of course, we ended up going because I scheduled things. So we were back in the car, which is great. Had this whole great weekend of hiking and being in Birmingham. And just around there, it was just really it was a really great weekend. And then we were headed back. And I guess we haven’t stopped at a rest stop to do anything in a long time. So we stopped because everyone needed to pee. And I guess we’ve just been like spent the whole weekend kind of peeing in the woods, because as soon as we hop out of the car, we’ve got the kids en masse that we’re going to, like, walk to the bathroom.

S6: Teddy just like drops his pants out walking down the sidewalk and starts being just, like, holding the other kids. And I’m like, what are you doing it to make things crazier. He wanted to drive home in his bathing suit. And I was like, OK, cool. So he’s like in his bathing suit, like just peeing in the middle of this thing and there’s people and all these I just like pick him up, like, put your penis away. Just like ran to the bathroom picking up a cherub. Yeah. I mean, I didn’t even I, I didn’t even know what to do. Jeff says I screamed at him like, what is your child doing? Because in general, when penises are involved, I sort of feel like the gift of having three boys should be that this is not my problem. Right. Like like I don’t have one of these. This has nothing to do with me. But he had the other kid. So I like grab this child and he’s like, I need to pee, I need to pee now. And I’m like, we use the bathroom. And he’s like, we haven’t used the bathroom all weekend. And I’m so yeah.

S8: He was really observing social distancing. Yes. Yes. But he calls really well.

S6: Exactly.

S4: So we shot Teddy, half a dozen people at the Alabama rest stop our penis had a lovely conversation about it in the women’s restroom.

S7: I agree with that. And it was definitely safer for him to just pee right then and there than to have to go in the bathroom and the rest of it.

S6: Yeah, yeah, for sure. That’s probably safer. But then we should have pulled off like on the side of the road.

S1: Now, you know, that’s a great fail, but I’m still on Team Teddy here. I think Teddy did exactly the same.

S7: Teddy. Yeah, the virus strikes again.

S6: I’m sorry, Elizabeth. Well, I didn’t. It’s like I said, it’s my fail.

S4: Yeah, I failed one way. No matter how this cookie crumbles, I have failed. Well, all right.

S10: Before we move on, let’s do the business. Tune in tonight, Thursday, September 10th to Jamila’s Slate Live Show. The Kids Are Asleep. She’ll be joined by academic, author, activist and television personality Marc Lamont Hill. It’ll be fun. Don’t miss it. Tune in at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific on Slate’s YouTube or Facebook page. As always, we’ll put the links on the show page. If you haven’t checked out previous episodes, you can also do that on Slate’s YouTube page. And you definitely don’t want to miss this sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. It’s the best place to be notified about all our parenting content, including care and feeding. Mom and dad are fighting and much more. Plus, it’s a fun personal email from Dan directly to your inbox. So sign up at Slate Dotcom slash parenting mail. One even more parenting advice, join our parenting group on Facebook. It’s super active and it’s moderated so it doesn’t get too out of control. Just search for slate parenting on Facebook. Let’s get into our first listener question. It’s being read by the wonderful Shasha Leonhard.

S11: Dear mom and dad, my daughter quit kindergarten two times in the first hour today. I look at the grid of all the other children sitting through class and I don’t know how to get her not to hate it, she leaves, comes back to do the activity and immediately leaves. She’s doing the equivalent of just checking off the boxes, and the advice, though, is online school frustrating?

S7: Are you telling me that it’s awful to be five years old communicating with your teacher and your friends who you might not know at all because it’s your first year real school via a computer?

S5: This very well could be a question from a parent whose child went back to school. A lot of kids don’t like school. School is not always great. And I think that we want our kids to enjoy school as much as possible. We want them to be actively engaged and to participate and learn all they can and to be happy and safe and all that good stuff. We can ensure that they like school and kindergarten. I don’t want to say now it’s just time to accept defeat. This kid hates school and it is what it is. You know, just swallow that and move on. But I also don’t want you to be so overly consumed with the possibility that one hating Zelnorm kindergarten after a few days is a sign that the shot is going to hate school forever, or two, that your child might just not like school when they do go back to normal or when they have had a full year of Zohn kindergarten. It could just be that schools, not their thing. And maybe it’s the school. It’s not a good fit, or maybe it’s only been just a couple of days. But I don’t think that the answer for getting her to not hate something that is so new to society at large. Zoome Kindergarten. It’s the word. Say it out loud. It sounds like an SNL joke, like let’s do a zone conference call, but with kindergartners instead of adults, except for it’s our reality all over the world right now. It sucks and that’s OK that your child knows it sucks because it does suck.

S1: Describing it as an SNL sketches. So I even know exactly when in the show would run. It would be like twelve, thirty five after weekend update and it would be like the dregs of the show right before the really crazy sketch, right before twelve fifty. I completely agree it is far too early for you to make any big assumptions based on your child’s totally normal behavior, which I guarantee you is being shared by almost every other kid in that kindergarten class. So I have a few questions for you. The parent, as you are trying to figure out. Well, how do I how do I make this more palatable and more tolerable for my child?

S8: The first is. How much kindergarten is your school district asking your daughter to do? Are they truly attempting to do a full day of Zoome or is this a case where they’re using them in with a couple of hours and then asking them to do maybe more as the year goes on? It’s the former if they’re really asking your kids to do a full day while that’s crazy and kids aren’t set to do that. And I think a lot of schools have come to that realization pretty quickly. And if there’s a way that you can facilitate either by talking to a teacher, by talking to the administrator, and by rejiggering your schedule or the schedule of another adult of your home, if you can make it so that those days are shorter, at least at the beginning, I think that would be really beneficial to everyone. And that might include simply telling the child’s teacher if the if that child’s teacher is is hamstrung by various district requirements, hey, she’s just going to be in for the first couple of hours each day for the first few weeks so that we don’t overload her, even if the administrators at the school would be likely to say, oh, but of course, you couldn’t do that. The teacher will be secretly grateful, I assure you, that you’re doing such a thing. Another question I’d ask you is, how was your child thinking about school before all this began? And what kinds of conversations did you have with her before everything began about what this would be like? And Katie, you have with her now about ways that this can be as interesting and as fun as possible. That might mean you or another adult in the home getting more involved in this school experience anyway want to be in the first couple of days. But it also means setting her expectations at a place where they are more likely to mean that those expectations are going to be met as opposed to her being disappointed by the experience. And the third thing I’d ask is how much were you counting on this school experience to be magical and how much are you letting your disappointment and how unmagical it is affect your response to your kids school? Did she say I quit kindergarten and storm off in a huff, or is it just that you see her checking in at the computer, doing a few things, then wandering away and doing other stuff and then coming back to the computer and checking in with a few things, then leaving? If that’s what’s happening, I would actually define that is basically about as good as a kindergarten experience on Zoome could be right. If your child is doing a few things willingly, moving away to investigate the rest of the world and then coming back like she’s actually doing pretty well. And I would urge you to not let your despair, your adult despair, which we all share at the very idea of Zoome kindergarten, the stupid SNL sketch of an idea affect how you view her actual experience, which may be at least a little bit better than you think it is. But, Elizabeth, what do you think?

S4: So, Dan, I mostly agree with you that I thought that in general I was kind of like, OK, what’s wrong with this?

S9: Like, this is exactly kind of how my kindergarten home school looks, particularly in the younger ages, like they come up, engage with me a little bit, and then they’re off doing something else, like sitting and doing an activity are like really being focused. So unless the teacher has a problem with what’s happening and Dan gave a lot of good suggestions for that, I guess, is it that bad that they’re just phoning it in and so much of this is tied up and like what a kindergarten experience is?

S4: And I think we just have to have an entirely different set of expectations, like this is not in person kindergarten. This is not a normal kindergarten that the rest of us grew up with and new. And so therefore, your expectations just have to be different.

S8: Everyone is literally phoning it in.

S4: We’re literally phoning it in. Your daughter’s phoning it in. Great. She’s meeting the back again. I feel like I always say you can only control your own behavior. So you have the choice basically as the parent to say, like, I don’t like what this looks like.

S9: I want to do something else. And then what? Is that something else? Is it pulling them in, homeschooling them? Is it talking to the teacher and say, I’m only going a few hours? In most states, kindergarten is not compulsory, so I would assume that particularly over Zoome, that is something that you can work out with the teacher. If the what you need is this sort of like Zoome babysitting situation and you want her just to phone it in and they’re not causing problems around the house, I actually don’t see anything wrong with this. Like, yes, it sucks. This whole year sucks like nothing is the same for anyone, but we have to just understand that and move forward and not try to make it look like what it looked like pre covid. So everything sucks right now.

S8: The only other thing I would add is you may already be doing this. And if so, that’s great. But I do think it’s worth your while to think about. If there are specific things my child is missing from this experience, whether their social interactions or interactions directly with in some kind of teaching environment, I hope you are exploring other ways that you or other people can provide those things, whether it’s by you reinforcing some of the stuff that’s happening in kindergarten with direct one to one interaction after the school days over whether it’s arranging some kind of safe feeling, play experience with your child and other children, whether that’s in person or on FaceTime or whatever. You know, these are all things that you can do to maybe make your child a little bit happier, but also to assuage your feelings about the things that your child is missing. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. I think it’s useful to assuage your feelings at a time like this when we’re all feeling so bummed and pissed about what school looks like. Assuaging those feelings is a real benefit, and it probably has a side benefit of helping our children as well.

S9: I wonder, too, if she can move some of the things that she’s running off to do into the view of the camera to make it more like kindergarten feeling. So having like some art supplies ready or some other things like a kindergarten classroom would have such that when her daughter does move away, the things to engage with are right there so that she’s still there, maybe hearing what’s happening or, you know, just being kind of in view of the camera because, I mean, kindergarten classrooms are very flexible in that sense and that they’re switching activities frequently. And there’s a variety of things you could have right there. Puzzle’s building blocks, whatever your child likes to play with that, you could rotate through that space just to make that feel more like that. But, Dan, I agree. Like, I think it’s our job as parents to make up for what is missing in the same way that like when they’re at school all day and they come home, we provide things that feel kind of more homey and things that are more that like one on one attention and checking in about our day. So can we provide anything now, even if it’s like, hey, my kid just has a lot of energy and what I need to do some time in the day is make sure we’re getting outside for a walk or going to do this. And that’s why she’s running around, like figuring that out. But again, it’s still it’s so early in the year, like you’re going to have to settle into a schedule that works for your child and for you and for your child’s teacher. So I think, you know, as long as you’re checking in with everybody and making a schedule that at the end of the day works for you and works for your child, then that is kind of the best that you can do. And I think making the best of this situation.

S4: Don’t panic. Don’t panic. You’re not alone. I think that’s the other thing. Even if you don’t hear other people expressing it, like everyone kind of feels like they’re phoning it in because, as Dan said, they literally are. All right, listener, thank you so much for your question. If you have a question for us, send it in. Email us at mom and dad at Slate dot com or do what this parent did and post it on our Slate Parenting Facebook group onto the second question. It’s once again being read by Sasha Leonhard.

S11: Dear mom and dad, in the last three weeks, my husband has spent 16 days in the hospital. We have three small children ages seven, five and three. Today, I caught my three year old whispering to my five year old that he wanted to kill Mommy, so he put dish soap and oil on the kitchen floor so I would fall and hit my head. He wants me to be in the hospital so that daddy will stay home with him. In a way, I think it may be his way of sharing how much he misses having his daddy at home, but I’m also worried because he acted on his impulse. Do you think this is learned behavior mimicking his brothers who have done similar things or independent reason for concern?

S8: First of all, it is extremely normal and non psychotic for three year olds to say outrageous things, including wishing their parents dead. It’s a little bit more unusual for them to act on it. But given the cartoony nature of his action, it seems to me like exactly what a three year old would come up with, maybe with some assistance from like watching a bunch of Looney Tunes cartoons. So, I mean, I might recommend that you remove all Acme Anvil’s from your home. But in general, I think that you do not need to worry either that your child is a psycho or that they might succeed in killing you somewhere down the road. I think that’s extremely unlikely. And I know that you, a letter writer, have experience with this, with older children, as almost everyone who’s ever had a child has. You have some experience with their child saying something that if an adult said, it would definitely be like that person would be committed or charged with a felony. But when kids say it, it’s simply a matter of impulse control and a lack of any filter between their minds and their mouths and the fact that they haven’t yet soaked up different ideas about what is appropriate or inappropriate to say, I think it’s worth it to talk to this child a little bit about the things that we say and do and how it’s important to be safe because you don’t want the people you love to get hurt, no matter what crazy plans you might have hatched involving me or your father. But I also think you don’t need to worry that this represents some looming problem you’re going to have to deal with down the road.

S7: I agree. I think that you won’t forget that this happens. So if this is a clue or an early sign of some terrible antisocial behavior, you won’t. It is well documented. I don’t think that you will fail to think back to that incident. If you have to sit with a therapist or someone at some point and go through the signs that something might not be quite right with your little one. That said, at three years old, I am inclined to agree with them that, no, this isn’t necessarily a sign of some grave trouble, but an indication that, like you said, your child deeply misses his father and would like to switch the two of you out. And so he’s come to figure that if you care for him while his father is sick, then it stands to reason that if you get sick, you’ll go away and his father will have to care for him.

S8: Right. That’s extremely three year old logic, while only one person can be in the hospital at once.

S7: Right. And so with that, I think that the biggest thing that you need to emphasize is just the potential for consequences of actions like this. So that one, your logic was incorrect and here’s why. No, it won’t be the case that you just get Daddy home, in fact. And there are situations where kids have to be taken care of by someone else because both of their parents are unavailable. So if that is sick, the last thing you want to do is make it so that mommy can’t be here to love and take care of you. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s really it, that you need to let him know that this is a very dangerous thing that he did that could have hurt somebody badly. And if it weren’t such a cartoonish type of prank, you know, I mean, because it’s such a cartoonish type of prey, just imagine that he tried to test it out on himself or you know that in the process of trying to do this, that he’d really done something that hurt him very badly or one of his siblings.

S1: Yeah, I don’t even know that you need to focus on that while we’re both in the hospital. Who knows what will happen. I also think it’s totally possible this kid hasn’t even thought through the consequences as far as oh, that would hurt my mommy if that actually happened. My mommy might be hurt. And and that expression this causes someone to be hurt is very potent for three year olds. And that consequence in and of itself might be enough to sort of drive the message home and it might be a connection. He simply hasn’t even made it at this point.

S4: We had a very similar thing happen that actually ends up kind of being one of the things that leads to our pandas diagnosis. And Henry, I have this very clear memory. If we were in the car visiting my in-laws in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Henry became obsessed with this idea of I had done something that had upset him, obsessed with the idea of me dying so he could get a new mom. Like you said, it was incredibly hurtful at the time. It is something I still like, think about and carry around because it was the same sort of thing. He felt like, well, if I could just get out of the picture that someone else would let him do this thing that he wanted. And that did lead to therapy, which eventually led to this panda’s diagnosis. And I’m not suggesting in any way that this child has pandas. There were a bunch of other symptoms at the time that we had also missed. But this realization that he was I mean, he was about three doing this to get a reaction. Because he knew that talking about death got a reaction, but he didn’t really understand what that meant. He knew that when someone died, they weren’t there. But one of the first things in family therapy, because from this this behavior continued, of course. And I would say that’s the other thing to look for, like, is this a one off? He also has older brothers like Teddy gets looped into things like this all the time that his brothers think are funny that he then is doing but doesn’t really understand. But at the time, Henry became very obsessed with this idea and would talk about it a lot about the idea of me dying and leaving and being replaced. And in family therapy. One of the things that we talked about was like the idea that me dying meant I would be gone, not just replaced with someone else not getting a new mom, like kind of the trauma. And a therapist guided us through that so that we didn’t traumatize him more, but that even with the issues he has with emotional regulation was something he stopped doing, because I don’t think that was ever the intent. The intent was I feel very angry or in this case, like I feel like I don’t want mom here. I want Dad back. Right. So I want to do something to force this change. And in my case, it was that he didn’t like whatever rule or regulation I was enforcing. So if I can just get her out of the picture, I won’t have this anymore. But once he was sort of walked through the idea that, like, death is final and that there would be all these other, you know, changes, that is then something he no longer really played with. And again, I don’t know that that is the kind of conversation. And in the Facebook post, she does go on to say that her you know, she’s spoken to her children’s therapist. So I think that’s a good step. The family therapy was also good for me to understand that this was really normal and also that this wasn’t something they were saying that was meaningful, because I think that this is something like Henry has no memory now that he said these things or did these things. And I always feel like I’m the one who lives with the burden of, like, the clear memory of him saying that he wanted me dead so he could replace me. And so therapy not only helped us how to deal with him, but also the personal feelings that that brought for me as like the mom in the situation. But again, I will tell you that at that family therapy, we were very much encouraged that, like, this is a very normal thing, especially for this age, that really can’t understand what death means. They know it’s something that’s talked about. It’s something like you said, they see in cartoons.

S9: I know she talks about having a therapist. I would say lean into that or lean into to family therapy to address this issue, probably with everybody. I don’t know. My boys are the same age and things are just if we deal with it with just one, it’s kind of like a virus we keep sharing. It’s like everybody kind of needs to have it addressed and how we’re going to handle this as a family.

S12: I think one thing you mentioned in particular that is really important that bears repeating is like the mother taking the time to think about how this makes her feel and that a therapy process should address that for her as well and perhaps her husband. So it’s not just about what the kids want or, you know, he’s doing this because he misses his daddy. It’s also like, yeah, you’re the person who you love and you care for this child. And he’s described you as disposable, essentially. So even though you know that he doesn’t understand the permanency of death or exactly what he was asking for at all, that it still may feel really bad to know that in a moment where you’re doing the work of two, you have to hear someone say something like that above you. My daughter told me that she wanted to kill me last week over an oil surprise, though it didn’t feel good to hear it. I understand that she’s still working on impulse control. So while she is old enough to understand that death is serious and permanent and to grieve before, she also doesn’t know how to not blurt out something like that, she doesn’t really mean so. I don’t like hearing it. But over time you will learn to not internalize your child’s devastating threats against your life in the same way. But that takes time. You have to get used to being abused in that way by someone you love who’s so small and cute.

S9: There are a lot of great children’s books, too, that deal with emotional language, and I think some of that might come into play here because it seems like the three year old is using the language that they know or something that they feel like they can control to explain a situation. And I have found like children’s books to just be a great way that you can read it and give them that language. I know I’ve mentioned before the rabbit listened, and I think that’s a great one for here because it really talks about like this is that impulse to do something else bad, to change things. But there are all these other ways to react. And also it’s a good reminder to the parent who’s reading it that like some of your job as the parent is just to listen and absorb some of that. And like you said, just learning to absorb it and deal with it yourself and not necessarily project what it actually means or what it means to you onto your right.

S8: You don’t have to bounce that back onto them. They didn’t deliver with intent and they don’t need to know necessarily the way that it makes you feel. As much as as that’s often my impulse when someone says something horrible to me. Listen, I’m really sorry that this is all happening to your family, and I’m sorry that your husband has been in the hospital so much. And I hope that in the time since you posted this on Facebook, things have gotten better. And yeah, I think family therapy for everyone and talking through what’s going on with your family and the difficulties with having a partner struggling with our health is well worth your time.

S9: Dan, I agree with that so much. And I also I wanted to add one more thing, just to say that I think it’s OK for the listener to tell her kids are like how that makes her feel, too, even though we’re not bouncing it back, is very different than saying, like, the things that you’re saying are hurtful. But I still love you. And I think that’s such a good message in these to say, like your your words still have meaning, especially in this time with your family. Like Dan said, I think there’s a lot of emotional language in talking that needs to be happening about how everybody feels.

S4: So we wish you the best of luck. We hope this helps. And if you want us to help you send in your question or conundrum to mom and dad at Slate Dotcom. Let’s move on to recommendation’s. Dan, what do you have for us this week?

S1: I have a classic comic book series which is being reissued in America. It’s been hard to find and a lot of ways for many years. It is Asterix, the classic French comic book series about Gauloises soldiers in the Middle Ages and their adventures all across Europe. The whole series is being republished by an American publisher called Papercuts and brand new translations that are meant to be a little bit more Americanized and a little bit more modern. Not ostentatiously modern, but a little bit more modern than the translations that have been being used for decades now. The original translations that were done when the series was first published in the 50s, 60s and 70s, the books are still totally silly and weird. If you read them when you were a kid, I think you will really enjoy revisiting them if you only sort of vaguely know about them because someone mentioned them in French class or you had a friend who knew them, I think you might enjoy learning about them. And I think they’re really great for kids. They’re really funny that are very odd. A surprisingly good, if still somewhat incomplete introduction to middle aged European history and the Gallic wars. They’re really fun books and I recommend them. That’s all these different Asterix volumes. I’ll post a link in show notes.

S4: That sounds great to me. How about you?

S12: I am recommending something that is very, very, very clearly for when the kids are asleep. As someone who allows her child to watch some television, that’s a little bit above what would be considered age appropriate. Under no circumstances would I let my child watch this show. So I’m giving you that caveat. Perhaps a teenager. I don’t even know that. Feel comfortable watching this with the teenager. It’s called Paly. It’s a show on stars. It is about a strip club in a very small town in the black south called Tuscaloosa. And think of like showgirls campiness meets Hustle and Flow with a little bit of moonlight bashed in. There it is over the top. The first few episodes I’m not going to be I was a little bit like I’m not so sure. I’m not sure I love the creator and lead the show. Sorry, don’t. She’s right. There’s a lot of Howard folks, my alma mater, Howard University folks behind the scenes in front of the camera. And again, the first few episodes like this is a lot I don’t know. And I’m so in love with it. And I think that, like, there is a relationship I don’t want to spoil, but there’s a relationship on this show that if it were taking place, if these two characters were on a show that had white leads or that was maybe on HBO or Showtime, they’d be on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. It’s a relationship between a young man and a I’m not sure if she’s a train. A woman or a gender nonconforming person, but it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on television, and it is a good show, there’s mystery and sex and pretty people and music and race and gender. I mean, there’s just so much show. It’s called P value. The P stands for pussy. So be clear, this is an adult show. It takes place in a strip club is not for your children. It’s not for the squeamish, but is a really great show. And it comes on Sunday nights. As far as the season finale went live yesterday, I haven’t seen it yet. But this show is everything. And if you are looking for a juicy escapist program to watch, I recommend it highly p value on Starz.

S1: I did not know that was Katori Hall who did that. She is a really good writer.

S12: Yeah. For this to be her first big television project, I don’t know that this is what and it’s based on a play that she wrote. So I don’t know that folks would have expected this to be it. But like a few episodes, then you really get it. Like it really comes together nicely and it is something else.

S1: I’m really glad that you’re watching the show, which takes place in the strip club where Elizabeth took her kids for OK.

S6: Yes, yes.

S4: It’s this one little circle, small town, Deep South. Yes.

S9: I’m recommending something for a year around eight years old to do in the car when when you are not geocaching at the strip club. I’ve been really good about things for the for the little ones to do. But when we were headed out on this road trip, I was thinking, like, what do I really have for him to do in the car? He mostly wants to play Legos in his free time. But I pulled out a book from Usborne that I had picked up at a little bookstore pre covid days called Write and Draw Your Own Comics. And it’s part of an entire series of write and draw. There’s like fairy tale stories, right? And draw your own play, all kinds of stuff. This was amazing. Not only did I check him into handwriting and practicing his writing, it kind of guide you along how to draw your own comics. And it’s suggesting stuff. There’s plenty of blank comics in the back as well for him to draw, but he was excited to draw them and then share them with us. We heard ad nauseum about them on our hikes, but it’s exciting to see him doing something like this in the car kind of without without our help and not watching TV. So that was great. And I will definitely be pulling that out at the homeschool table as well to keep him writing and entertained. So that is right. And draw your own comics from Usborne books. All right. So that’s our show.

S13: One more time. If you have a question, email us at Mom and dad at Slate dot com or post it to the Slate Facebook. Just search for Slate parenting. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson. For Jamilah Lemieux and Dan Boyce, I’m Elizabeth Nicam.

S4: Hello, Slate, plus, listeners, thank you so much for joining us. Your support means a lot. Kids, cartoons, love them, hate them. They’re pretty unavoidable part of parenting. But unlike that one Peppa Pig whistling episode, they aren’t all annoying. Dan and Djamila, are there any kids cartoons that you wish your kids didn’t age out of?

S14: Yes, there are. But can I first admit something? So the Peppa Pig whistling episode I was on DS and narrow the old one where the guests were largely right or folks that they knew in New York City and not like A-list celebrities. And Métro has a bunch of kids. And so somehow the Peppa Pig came up and they’re talking about it as like, you know, we’re talking about like the worst like the worst episode of children’s television. And like, I’m like, you know, they’re talking about just how, like, generally mean inaudible Peppa Pig is. And they show the clip. And I have no reaction whatsoever. And I think, like, maybe I’m just broken on the inside, but like when Papà hangs up on her, I have no reaction.

S12: I’m like, OK, she’s just being a kid, you know? But I guess that says a lot about myself and the sort of child that I’m turning out.

S14: That said, a few weeks ago, my daughter had the unmitigated gall to say, what was that show I used to like with the little black girl who’s a doctor? Doc, mom. Oh, my God. Doc made me. So I used to like I used to like I’m like, first of all, that’s back when I was young and stupid, back when I was young. Like, we have so many back when I was little, back when I was young, I can deal with back when I was little because I’m like, OK, at seven you can see yourself is no longer being a little kid. That’s slowly allowed. But it’s the back when I was young and I’m pretty sure that it was back when I was young, it was Doc McStuffins.

S12: And so, like, I can’t think of the last time that she was able to get through an episode of that experience. I was interested in it. It’s not that she doesn’t still watch some of her. You know, like we can still every once in a while, they’ll be a Sesame Street moment or something where she still wants to watch her like little bitty kids stuff. McStuffins she aged out of in a meaningful way. And it sucks because I love Doc McStuffins. It was the cutest show ever. I felt like it taught them really great value. Like the stuff that they age out of is the good stuff.

S4: I agree. I love Doc McStuffins.

S8: I also didn’t know that Peppa Pig episode because our kids were too old for Peppa Pig. I think I think that the Pig was like not a thing when my kids were of age.

S14: Do you know the the reference, the whistling.

S1: You know, I know I’ve I’ve never seen that episode. I don’t I don’t know about it as a hallmark of bad children’s entertainment. I’ll certainly go look it up like immediately. As soon as we finish, I’ll give a quick I wanna know a quick description.

S14: Go ahead. The thing or the the uninitiated still Peppa Pig, who is this little British pig who can be a little rude sometimes she call, she wants to eat a lot. She wants to learn how to whistle and she’s struggling with it. And so, you know, I guess maybe her parents had assured her that not everyone her age would know how to do this or whatever. Some reason she calls one of her little friends, like, you know how to whistle. And she’s like, what’s then? And she’s like, oh, it’s when you, you know, blah, blah, blah. And so her friend, who did not know what whistling was in the first place to feel insecure about not knowing how to do it, is able to do it just from papa explaining it to her. And so and she’s like, oh, like this. And she whistles and Pappa’s like, OK. And she like hangs up the phone.

S1: That kid deserved it, right? You can’t just be showing off your whistlin skill when someone else is insecure about it. God, she’s rude most of the time.

S4: There’s a complete buffoon.

S1: She’s British. That’s the way British people are. It’s just a great lesson for everyone. I’m glad that I never had to deal with Peppa Pig. I have no idea how I would have felt about it. I have two shows that fall into this category for me, and they sort of fit what I think of as the two tracks of children’s entertainment, of good children’s entertainment.

S8: There’s the track where the show or the movie or the book or whatever is inoffensive and charming. And you don’t see the harm in it, and so you don’t mind when it’s on. For me, that show is The Backyardigans, a show that was huge in our house for many years. There are these anthropomorphic animals who play in there and they’re beautiful, adjoined backyards.

S1: They have imaginary adventures that then transform for them into real adventures. And they sing these very catchy tunes. And each episode revolved around a certain style of music. So there’s a whole episode that was all zydeco and a whole episodes that were hip hop or country or whatever, and they were cute and fun. And we liked singing the songs with our kids. And when they were on, we were happy that they were watching that and not something horrible and annoying like Dora the Explorer or presumably Peppa Pig. It wasn’t like we were like, thank God, another Backyardigans. And then there’s the very rare kind of children’s entertainment which becomes less rare the older your kids get in some ways, where not only is it inoffensive, but you, even as a grown adult, actively enjoy it and will freely be like, yes, let’s watch another episode of that. It’s not just background noise while you’re trying to get something done and you put your kid in front of the TVs just so they’ll be occupied for a while.

S8: It’s an actual thing that you do together and you really legitimately enjoy and could watch multiple episodes of it. For us, that show was always Phineas and Ferb, which ran four years on Disney kids and had maybe four or five years ago and our kids in the suburbs heyday. Our kids were actually a little bit young for it and it was sort of aspirational viewing for them. Know they watched it knowing in a way that they didn’t quite get all the jokes and wishing that they did. And it sort of led them all down, all kinds of interesting byways of asking us questions or looking things up or looking up references on the Internet. It’s super smart and sweet. And it was always really, really, really funny. And so we were very excited when last month, Disney Plus released a new Finnieston for a movie like the first Phineas and Ferb named product in many years. It’s called Kandace Against the Universe. And when we told our kids, Oh, there’s this new Phineas and Ferb movie, do you guys remember Phineas and Ferb? I’m happy to say they did not go. Oh, was that that show we liked when we were young girl immediately launched into the theme song and sang it all the way through. They remembered it and they’re like, yes, we absolutely want to watch that. And so we watch this new movie and everyone loved it. I ended up writing about it for Slate. We’ll link to the review in the show notes and I’d love for you guys to watch it. And for listeners who had kids who used to love Phineas and Ferb when they were little to watch it as well, because I loved it and wrote about it positively. But then a critic I really respect, Emily Nusbaum at The New Yorker, who’s also a fellow long time Phineas and Ferb lover he didn’t like, completely hated it and was enraged by it. So I really want one time fans to watch this with your kids and tell me who is right, me or Emily Nussbaum.

S12: What was that? Can you just give us a brief synopsis of why she hated it?

S8: She only tweeted about it. She did not write a full review. She thought it was misogynist. I did not at all. But I’m a man. My girl children also did not but their children. So I’m curious if other people read it that way. Phineas and Ferb is about two half brothers who get into all these adventures in their backyard over summer vacation. And they’re always fantastical adventures where they’re like doing things that are patently impossible, like building a rocket ship or building a huge roller coaster in an afternoon, are creating a time machine or whatever. And then Candice, their sister, who’s older, she’s a teen. She is always desperate to bust them because she can’t believe that her brother is going away with doing all this shit every summer day.

S1: And her attempts to bust them always go awry. And there her parents never learn all the crazy stuff that her brothers are doing. And so this movie is it’s it focuses on campus. And one of the things I really liked about it was that it gave this character, who, for the duration of the show, had been a real drag. It’s not a fun character. The one who’s always like you guys are having too much fun and I’m going to bust you. And I sort of thought that that was a little bit sketchy.

S8: Like I didn’t love that portrayal of an older sister in the original show. And in this one, it’s about her having her own adventure and sort of facing some of the stuff that that led her to resent the fun that her brothers were having and to embrace her love of them and her happiness at the things that they are doing in ways that I thought were pretty sweet. So I’m really curious. I want Emily to write about it, although she hasn’t yet, as far as I know. I’m really curious what it was that she found like super objectionable about this movie, which I did not find objectionable at all.

S4: So people should watch and come weigh in on the Facebook page.

S1: Yeah, yeah. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me you’re a moron. This is super misogynist or better yet, tell Emily Nussbaum Pulitzer Prize winner. She’s wrong.

S4: Well, we are still very much in the cartoon stage here in the sweet spot.

S9: We are in a sweet spot for all of that. And in fact, Henry has recently discovered Phineas and Ferb and is a big fan of it. And it does seem like Oliver’s a little bit interested. It’s still a little bit beneath Teddy, but the boys really love the new magic school bus. The magic’s the best returns again. And I loved Magic School Bus growing up. And so being able to show them like some of the old ones as well. And Kate McCann invoices the new for kids. And it’s just really lovely. Lots of science themed stuff. So right up the kids alley. And I never mind when they have that on both because I think it’s interesting and fun and where will they go? And they’re tackling a lot of good topics, global warming, things like that, that are interesting also for me to hear, because sometimes they’re talking about science and studies that I was aware of. So also being educated by magic school bus. But we also really liked the Octonal and still like that again, another science underwater adventure program. And then when they were little and this is one that I think we are kind of aging out of, although Teddy’s still into it is Tokyo, which is a Spanish British cartoon. A lot of these we picked up when we were living in Europe and you can get them here. And I think they’re popular here as well. But really love Tokyo is like all on a white background. So especially when they were starting. Stephen Fry is the narrator in Tokyo, actually interacts with the narrator and teaches lots of like beginning concepts. But Henry will still tolerate an episode of that with his brothers, especially when it’s like everyone agree on something or we’re turning this off. I know like Blooey being the new darling of cartoons, we really enjoy the Australian Blooey with the little dog. And I know there’s been lots of love for that on the Slate Facebook page, but we are also big fans and Blooey is one of the ones I actually like sitting down and watching, although they have like the most idyllic life, Crono would never happen to them and they would clearly ace any kind of virtual learning that happens there. But we’re we’re loving the cartoons, the these cartoons in the cartoons stage and definitely trying to edge out a little bit of the of Henry wanting to bring in some some more shows that are not, as I think, accessible to all the children.

S8: I mentioned earlier of loony tunes made me wonder, do your guys kids watch Looney Tunes?

S4: No Roumell, but it’s more like we I don’t even know that I would introduce it just because I would say I’m kind of a stickler for any kind of that violent humor. I tend to just try to avoid having it partly because of Henry and who he is. And I feel like introducing anything like that of humor might give him ideas, but also just because I have found some other quality content out there, I mean, I certainly watched it and thought it was entertaining.

S12: I know the name and knows who Bugs Bunny is. I would be you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if she could name some of the other big Looney Tunes, you know, and I’m sure she knows who Daffy Duck is. But like, it’s not something that she comes across often. Like I watch the Looney Tunes growing up because oftentime like that was one of a handful of Saturday morning cartoons, especially like if you take a cable out of the equation and now like, yeah, we’ve just never had any reason to choose it. And it’s it’s very rare that she’s just watching television and flipping channels, you know, and like even if she’s scrolling through, you know, whatever streaming service has Looney Tunes, I don’t know which one that is like. I can think of 50 cartoons easily that would get her interest or attention before Looney Tunes. And I also I will say for like all the stuff that I let a watch that’s a little bit above her pay grade violence is where I really draw the line. Like, you know, I think she’d be fine if she saw a Looney Tunes violence. I would just prefer that she did.

S4: I just always feel like there’s better choices out there.

S8: Yeah, I deeply respect both of your decisions yet also. We bought a bunch of Looney Tunes DVDs for our kids, and they’re fucking hilarious, they remain so unbelievably funny. Ads like little tiny, insanely ultraviolent, weird works of American art. I love them so much, even though I also shy away from violence and kids entertainment everywhere else. For some reason, when it’s fucking roadrunners and coyotes getting hit with hammers and shit, I cannot get enough of that. And those were a huge hit in our house for many years and they’re available on DVD. And you’re right that they’re like basically impossible to to just stumble across at this point in the way that we we watch them when we were kids. Apparently, there’s a new Looney Tunes series that’s on HBO, Max, which has gotten really good reviews and has lessened the violence, which is to say there’s no guns. So I assume they still hit each other with hammers and stuff.

S1: Elmer FUD, though, with no, but if I no longer has a lot going rabbit hunting, but I believe they still suffer horrible fates. So I actually sort of want to tune into those and see what like what they are like. I’m so curious.

S4: There are so many like cultural references to that kind of stuff in to the anvil dropping or two roadrunner and coyote. I do often wonder, like, oh, are they going to get these references or understand what’s happening?

S8: Have I ever told you guys the story of the first one? We went to Universal Studios and The Simpsons World. No, no.

S1: My God, this was insane. So many years ago, we did the Harry Potter thing at Universal Studios in Florida and we spent a glorious morning writing the Harry Potter train and going on the various rides, except for all the ones that were broken and waving our wands and stuff. But then by like two o’clock, we were, you know, we got there like 7:00 a.m. or something.

S9: So by two popular enough to do. Yeah, right.

S8: We’re done with Harry Potter and we were selling Universal Studios and I realized I hadn’t even paid the slightest bit of attention to anything else that was in the park at all, because I’ve been so focused on making sure that we got to do all the Harry Potter stuff. So I was like, well, what else is there? And there is a whole Simpsons world. And I had not watch The Simpsons with my kids at all. I being a white male age. Forty six, of course, love The Simpsons and think it’s the pinnacle of Western entertainment. And so I was like, oh well let’s go do this. And so we went and they they, we did the ride which they thought was fun, though they didn’t get anything.

S1: I had some duff beer at Most Tavern and they’re like, why, why are you drinking these Milpark? What’s special about this beer? And I was like, it tastes terrible, like the real thing. And then we did some carnival games, they won the carnival games and they got little itchy and scratchy dolls. And then they were like, oh, how great, you got scratchy dolls. And then we went back to the hotel that night and we were going to bed and Liar and Harper take their itchy, scratchy dolls and they took them into the hotel bed and like, I love you, Itchy. I love you too scratchy. And I’m like, oh, shit. No, that is not what you do. No way. So then when we got home, I started showing them The Simpsons so they would understand the actual relationship that Itchy and Scratchy have with each other, which I thought was important. And now they really love The Simpsons. And that’s, I think, a great example of Itchy and scratchy doesn’t make sense unless you understand Tom and Jerry are Looney Tunes are like the mid century cartoon culture. They come out of that. It’s true. That is true. But also they’re hideously violent. And I scarred them for life by showing them episode where Archie blows up, scratches head and then sticks a stick of dynamite in his skull and then blows that I still am traumatized by that one like that bothered me. I cried anyway and cartoons got all of them got.

S9: I love them. That would have solved your cat problem.

S1: That’s true. If you had just had a cartoon mouse, a homicidal cartoon mouse in your apartment.

S10: Absolutely.

S1: You no longer have to worry about that. There just there would’ve been a lot of cleanup afterwards.

S4: Well, on that note, on the note of exploding cats, that’s it for this week’s Slate plus segment.

S1: That’s the kind of stuff you get when you’re a slate plus member, the kind of magic we spin.

S4: Yes. Thank you for paying for this until next time.