The Facts of Life - and Death

>> Friday, 21 September 2007

My two boys are crazy about animals.

Well, I think the younger one is, but he may just be going along with his older brother and toeing the party line to keep the peace (aged only 20 months he's already good at this). But the older one is totally engrossed in anything from the animal kingdom, to the extent that when we finally caved and got Sky, one of the channels we subsribed too is Documentaries, purely so Boy #1 can watch Discovery and Animal Planet. It's paid off; his nursery teacher informs us that he frequently fills in gaps in her animal knowledge and if she wants his attention all she has to do is wave some four-legged creature in his direction.


During September, Animal Planet has been showing a series of practically every Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter documentary ever produced. They put it on at prime viewing time for Boy #1; 7pm, after his bath, when he gets half an hour guaranteed tv viewing time (yes, I am one of those antiquated mums who restricts the amount her children get to see). He is now absolutely in love with Steve, Terry and Bindi Irwin.

For the last few days all his role play and let's pretend has centred around that family and the various reptiles, mammals and sea creatures they encounter (I get to be Bindi, their little girl - see where I come in the pecking order?). Having sat and watched much of it with him, I have to admit that I too find it fascinating, and have been won over by a man who I previously thought a bit ridiculous; his enthusiasm and passion for nature, incredible knowledge, and simple optimism are pretty unusual in these cynical times.

The problem is, when Boy #1 finds out what happened to his hero, will his faith in Crocodile Hunter, human / animal interaction, and his own world view that this is basically a great place to be, be shaken? And should we tell him or let him find out for himself?

Any thoughts?

(I know that this is what some might call a 'luxury problem', hardly life-threatening, but like any mum, I just want to wrap my kids up in cotton wool for as long as possible. So shoot me...)


Frog in the Field 22 September 2007 at 11:54  

He'll find out eventually, I don't see the point in telling him just yet, really. He'll soon be watching other amazing people and move on to appreciate others just as much. When he does know you'll be able to say the programmes were filmed a long time ago, some before he was even born, that may put it in perspective a little.

Potty Mummy 22 September 2007 at 13:12  

Thanks Frog - think you're probably right. I clearly don't have enough to worry about that this is an issue!

aims 23 September 2007 at 17:04  

Not having any children myself - I may not be able to offer much in the way of constructive criticism....

However - I remember the day Steve Irwin died - I cried buckets! and I hate snakes! I then read a number of condolences and one stood out above the others and has remained fixed in my memory all this time....

A gentleman wrote - Dear Steve - I thought you were immortal - how I wish that were true.....

Maybe in the years to come your son will feel that way about him too...

Potty Mummy 23 September 2007 at 20:24  

Thanks for that - and I do so hope you're right! (Great epitaph, really spot on).

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