Thursday, February 23, 2012


Nazi Crane?

I took 2 1/2 years off from working to take care of my twins.  And, I would not have been able to go back to teaching if my mother had not been their caretaker for the following 2 1/2 years.  My mother spoke of family tradition, and her own grandmother living in the house with them growing up.  Families work together to raise the children.  She saved me. I love teaching.

During her time caring for the kids while I was at school, my mom found the same TV cartoons on Youtube  that Sam and I watched in our youth - The 1980's cartoon version of Transformers, and He-Man were Michael's favorites.  Stella was introduced to, and became enamored with, Linda Carter's, Wonder Woman.  It aired in the 1970's and was originally set in World War II, the era in which the original comic book began.  As it was set during World War II, many of the episodes involved Nazis and war events.  After the first season the show was moved into present time with some TV magic and finagling.  (Wonder Woman doesn't age, Steve Trever's son, Steve Trever, is now the co-star of the show).  However, because they both watched all the seasons of Wonder Woman, WWII and the Nazis were now in my children's vocabulary.

Flash forward to preschool:  Michael's talent as an artist is apparent.  My sister, an art teacher, started drawing detailed robots with him when he was very young.  He has these colorful marker pictures all over his bedroom, tacked to his walls.  He loves drawing robots.  He loves drawing mechanical inventions.  He loves drawing Nazis.  Yes.  He draws elaborate war vehicles, somewhat futuristic, mixed with airplanes and tanks, and he clearly draws the swastika on the enemy vehicles. He draws these at preschool.  Recently, when I was picking the twins up from school,  Michael started handing his friend a picture he drew.  I quickly snapped it up and said, "Michael, can mommy have this one, I love it," and the little boy exclaimed, "Hey,  Michael gave me that Nazi picture!"  Oh shoot...

Nazi Castle
So how did it all go wrong?  1. Sam let him play a WWII era fighter plane game on his iPad.  (Blame the husband first and always).  2. He knows his Grampy John was a Marine in WWII on a big ship.  3.  He asked me about the Nazis and I told him (in 5ish year old terms) about WWII. He understands the Nazis were very bad.  He somehow also got it out of me that the allies were fighting against Japan as well.  The clever little fellow suddenly showed interest in looking up the Japanese flag in our Atlas book, and now he also draws Japanese enemy vehicles, clearly emblazoned with the red sun.  Oh shooooooot.  4. I bought some beautiful picture books that gently tell stories from WWII (which also showed the Nazi symbol in the pictures). This is where he really fine-tuned his artistic representation.  Can you see the slippery slope?

The problem is my kids are too gosh-darn smart, and they ask too many gosh-darn questions.  While intelligence and curiosity are wonderful, what my children will think of next also scares me.  I have to be on my toes at all times.  If I'm tired or cranky, I can't be impatient and blurt out a non-age appropriate explanation.  I also cannot try to change the subject; That doesn't work... Not with these twins...

So... at age five my children know about slavery, racism, Nazis, the atomic bomb, war, the definition of "sexy," and a little about the menstrual cycle. Shoot?

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