The tragedy of Netflix

Oh, streaming movies from Netflix is delightful. Spouse and I stream films the one or two nights a month we can find time beyond dishes and errands and food prep. And I found for Peanut both Kipper and Pingu for his movie day, thanks to the recommendations of readers who know my feelings about non-violent, non-menacing, non-commercial age-appropriate, limited-length DVDs.

Movie Day once a week means Shower Day for Mama Naptime. (Yes, that means most other days may not include showers. Show me the mother of small children who showers regularly and I’ll show you a woman with child care or a partner who is home during daylight hours.)

Movie Day with the DVD player also means Peanut gets the remote and watches, pauses, goes to the kitchen to eat a snack, comes back, watches, pauses, runs around, watches, pauses, snacks again, pauses, goes to the bathroom.

And that’s where the tale of Netflix’s wonderment goes horribly, horribly wrong. The remote does not work on streaming Kipper. Peanut is not allowed to touch the computer. Peanut cannot, therefore, stop streaming Kipper and life as he knows it comes to an end when nature calls.

P: Mommy! Mommeeeeeeee!
M: [soaped and NOT leaving the shower unless someone is on fire] Come on in here, Peanut. I know why you need me.
P: MOM! [crying] I need you. I need YOU!
M: Pea, come here.
P: [screaming, crying]
M: Peanut, I know Kipper won’t stop and I can fix it.
P: Mom, I have to go potty and Kipper won’t stop. IT WON’T STOP! [scream in rage, fear, and helplessness. piercing scream. new scream. painful scream.]
M: Peanut, come into the bathroom.
[he does, crying]
M: Honey, I know Kipper won’t stop. That makes you sad.
P: [sobbing]
M: Honey, go potty while I tell you how I’m going to fix it.
P: [sobbing louder, stis]
M: Honey, the remote doesn’t work on the computer. Kipper is playing from the Internet to the computer and the buttons you have don’t work.
P: [nodding, crying]
M: And that makes you so sad.
P: [sobs]
M: I know it’s sad, babe. You’re disappointed. But Peanut? I can fix it. I can make Kipper stop and go back.
P: [sobbing]
M: Honey, I can make Kipper go back so you don’t miss any of the new Kipper.
P: But it won’t stop.
M: Honey, I can make it stop and I can make it go back. I will fix it. You won’t miss any Kipper.
P: [crying]
M: Peanut. Take a deep breath. You’re sad. I will fix it.
P: [crying, wiping eyes]
M: I will fix it, babe.
P: [crying, washes hands, goes back to living room, and I thank heavens, again for Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. And as he continues to cry, I wonder if the empathy can stop in a while because, for crissakes, I said I could fix it and he needs only wait the ten glorious minutes I need to wash out the huge clumps of postpardum hair leaving my head in a fistful each hour of the day. ]

I rewound the playback to the exact moment he told me tragedy struck. And he watched the rest of the movie, scarred for life and terrified of ever needing to go to the bathroom again.

Thanks for the tragicomedy, Netflix.

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13 thoughts on “The tragedy of Netflix

  1. I am familiar with neither Kipper nor streaming Netflix and yet I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. Oh my sweet little person, it will be! okay! in a minute! I will fix! it! I really will. Hang on. No really, just hang on a second. As soon as I– okay, look, wait, okay! Aha! And now we can fix it! See, it’s okay, like I said it would be. Okay?

    And yet that somehow does not affect the outcome of next week’s meltdown. It must be hard to be a small child.

  2. Oh! The clumps of postpartum hair that departed my head the THIRD time around! And what it left in it’s wake: wiry, unmanagable gray hair!

    Woe is me, the tragic lives of toddlers! Everything is an emergency, every sentence is filled with multiple emotions, all rolled up into one giant outburst, where they shake and moan!

    Heaven help us mothers of these children. That we can comfort them, and help them survive the next tragedy around the corner…

  3. I think it’s just mean that hair loss starts while they’re still wailing blobs of need–I mean, c’mon. Can’t it wait until they’re like, a year old or something and you’re at least getting some sleep?

    You are brilliant with Pea. You know that, right?

  4. As I read this post, I was thinking- wow, she’s handling this so much better than I would have. I would have been the one peeing and sobbing with frustration.
    Having not clicked through in a while…what in the name of Moses is the picture at the top???

  5. One of my computers (miniMac) has a remote. Why the hell don’t PC puters? People have been to the moon and back, we’ve conquered “remote” for space travel, but not for PCs?

  6. If you have Windows Media running on your machine, you can access Netflix streaming through the software and then any Windows Media remote can control the computer. Don’t know what your setup is, but you get something like this if you don’t have an IR card installed already: http://bit.ly/c54Jcu

    Alternate is to let Peanut hit the spacebar only. Spacebar will pause and unpause. None of the other keys will let him wreak havoc on the interwebs unless he knows keyboard shortcuts.

    Yes, I realize that I am solving a completely different problem and focusing on the narrow issue of Kipper. It’s how I do.

  7. @Melissa I know, right? It must be so overwhelming to be them. I’m shaking after a tantrum, but he’s WRECKED.
    @Maria I’m rather proud of the grey that’s coming out in the clumps. I feel like a grownup. Almost.
    @Kitchy I’m still not convinced of that. Never had a day of confidence with this child. And now, at school, I glimpse what the world will do to him and it breaks my heart.
    @Evenshine, the preschool has a great day of messy art, and the header picture is the shadow of Peanut, on a tire swing, with a sponge to mooosh all the paint he squirted with ketchup bottles ala giant mandala. Awesomeness, in short.
    @jc, you, my researchy friend, have pinpointed my dilemma with post-academia: the dominance of an inferior PC product. Oh, for my days of University and the Mac.
    @MPB, seriously?! The spacebar does that? Oh my freaking word, had I had that bit of wisdom I could have really showered in peace for the first time ever. You rock, friend. Thank you. Shut up with your “only solving little stuff” stuff. That’s a huge deal in our world.

  8. May I just say that you are a much nicer human being than I am? I would have told my child to put a sock in it. I know. Because it has happened before… In our case, our child did not know that you could not pause TV…

    Kipper was and still is one of our favorites. Mr. Monk for a while spoke with a British (or Canadian?) accent…

  9. i’m not sure why this post makes me giggle to myself. just the cruelty of a ten minute shower, one day a week, brutally interrupted by kipps. oh kipps. now *that’s* a frog!

  10. @subWOW Peanut still bemuses the family when he says something is “brilliant” or teaches all the kids at school that it’s “ready steady go” rather than “ready set go”. And he thinks the toddler is “Ahdold” rather than “Arnold” because of Pig’s awkward British nasal congested nonsense.
    @j I know you’re just giggling because that’s a toad not a frog.

  11. Yeah, use that space bar!! We have a mac mini connected to our TV with a remote wireless keyboard. So eldest knows that he’s allowed to hit the space bar if he needs a minute. Alternative solution? Have Peanut go potty before he’s allowed to watch anything. We do that, too.

  12. That space bar idea is brilliant… I didn’t know that!

    A third option for regular showers is to let video time be a daily occurance while mama takes a shower. The downside is that it loses its magic, and now after a few minutes of peace I have little visitors while I’m conditioning my hair… visitors making the toothbrushes into imaginary families and hiding them around the house, trying all the toiletries they can reach, arguing with each other, dropping toys into the bathtub, pulling back the curtain, etc.

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