Lately, I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with PBS. “The Muffin” and “The Noodle” are definitely PBS kids. Most of the TV shows they watch can be found channel 26, and most of the time I think this is awesome! “The Noodle” also loves to play the computer games on the PBSKids website. Among his favorite programs & games: “Word Girl”, “Sid the Science Kid”, “Arthur”, “Cyber Chase”, “Clifford”, “Curious George” … did I mention “Word Girl“? Sounds cute, doesn’t it? A Super Hero 5th grader with a vocabulary that defeats the Super Villians! Fantastic! (And a darn cute show, if I do say so myself.) It is pretty amazing that my 3 1/2 year old feels completely comfortable using words like emperor, intercept, society, vocabulary, vicious, defeat … uh, did I mention vicious and defeat? Yeah, that’s right. Today I was in the basement washing out a poopy diaper (yes, we use cloth mostly – but that’s a subject for another blog) when “the Noodle” rounds the corner and with a “Condiment Gun” (yes you read that correctly) fashioned out of Lego Duplos, points it directly at me and says “Melted Butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just shot melted butter at you, Word Girl! Muhahahahaha! You’ll never get me now! So long slippery girl! Muhahahahahaha!” and races out of the room. Kinda of funny. I think I smiled to myself & said something like “Oh yeah? You’ll never get away with this Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy!” (he’s the super villian, I gathered the “Noodle” was pretending to be.) Then “The Noodle” (or “Chuck” – whichever you prefer), comes back with a bigger Duplo gun, points it even closer and says “maple syrup! I just attacked you with maple syrup, Word Girl, you ‘ll never get out of here now – you’re trapped! So long Sticky Girl!! You can’t defeat ME! I’m Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy!! Muhahahahahahaha!” and runs away again. Ok, so I was right about the whole Chuck thing, and it was a nice use of the words “defeat” and “attack”, but the guns were starting to get to me (even if they were only Lego “Condiment Guns”). I think I said something about not liking guns, even pretend ones, and went on with my scrubbing. Then he rounds the corner AGAIN and walks close to me & deliberately and slowly pats me (with force) in a way that I knew he wanted to hit me, but didn’t want to get in trouble and he says “Salami attack! Now I’m The Butcher and I just knocked you out with salami!”, and laughed maniacally. Ok, you really don’t want to mess with me when I’m dealing with poopy. I gave him a look of death & he said something like “I didn’t really hit you, but mom, I’m a bad guy and that’s what we do!” At this, I had to laugh, and after I finished up with the diaper, I attacked him with “tickle torture”. Still, I have found myself cursing PBS under my breath whenever I get the “ok, mom, you’re Word Girl, and I’m Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy” or “Ok, you be Dr. Two-Brains and I’m going to stop you!” or when I get condiment guns pointed in my face or random toys flung at me because he’s “Not throwing, it’s a pastrami attack!”. Sigh. It could be worse, and sometimes it is. Sometimes I have to be Robin to his Batman, or the Joker, or The Riddler, or Mr. Freeze. Then I have to ward off kicks & punches & toxic waste attacks. Or when he he uses “Sith Force Lightning” on his sister. Still, I guess it’s not so bad, I do get to let off a little steam when I’m the bad guy & stomp around & talk loudly & threaten to blow up the city. Kinda fun, actually, now that I’m thinking about it… just not all the time… and not when I’m in the middle of doing something (which usually seems to be the case)…and not when his sister – or me – gets hurt when he’s punching too closely or kicking or whatever. And it IS really funny when he wants to be Word Girl, but doesn’t want to be a girl, so says he’s “Word Car” or my personal favorite “Word Cracker” (yeah, that’s right, I said Cracker … I defeated him one day by getting my faithful sidekick to “devour” him). I guess since the “Noodle’s” vocabulary is growing the way it seems to be, I should be thanking PBS. Actually, I’ll go one better: Thank you Word Girl!