Thursday 4 December 2014


Any mother (or father for that matter) can tell you that once you have children, you suddenly become unable to watch (or read about) many shows/films that you used to watch before. Be it their subject content or their tone, you find yourself in mid program cringing in fear or weeping like a child as you feel your parental synapses on meltdown. You soon realize that you’ve suddenly become much more precious - and frighteningly empathetic -  since parenting took hold. 

Admittedly, I was okay for awhile…or perhaps I was just too tired to find the correct remote control, and then of course the brain took hold, emotions ran amuck and I found myself weeping at commercials appealing to end world’s hunger, especially those commercials with children looking bereft and hungry (not that I didn’t weep before, but suddenly it became a necessity to end world hunger NOW since the birth of the King). Not to mention, when I watched certain TV shows I could hear myself uttering phrases that sounded like something my mother would say – ‘Do they need all this excessive violence? Why must they show that, it’s only 8 o clock for god sakes.’ 

The other night, when I was uttering my usual phrase to my husband of, 'let’s just not watch anything too dark,' we opted for a sweet little nature show that had aired on the BBC.  I, feeling rather precious at the time, figured a harmless nature show about animals parenting their young could be right up my alley. I mean, honestly, what could be so bad? UM, well, seemingly I forgot that what occurs in nature is bloody ruthless and it makes a pack of wild four year olds look like choirboys. For starters, as I clearly forgot, merely keeping your baby alive out in the wild is a feat for any animal. Everyone is prey to someone bigger, scarier and hungrier and that makes for problematic parenting. Forget about trying to find appropriate childcare, just making sure your kid doesn't become lunch becomes the main occupation for many animals. Be it the buffalo who has to protect their young from unrelenting wolves, who as you can imagine are much more dexterous and quick than a lumbering buffalo, to the spider monkeys (I think it was a spider monkey, at a certain size all monkeys start to look the same to me) who have to fend off other freaking monkeys from killing their young, it’s a cutthroat world out in nature land. Fine, fear another species, but an attack from  your own kind? That's just rude. 

Then there were the animals that flat out abandoned their young even before their birth, as clearly in their species childrearing is not part of the package (yes, humans have sadly mirrored this all too often). The sea turtle for example who battled unbelievable odds just to get on the damn beach (through rocks, storms and other things trying to kill it) to lay her eggs, only to amble off and disappear back into the ocean never to be seen again. This of course caused me to scream at the TV, while my husband tried to calm me down with herbal tea, ‘What the hell?? She’s just going to leave her kids like that after all that effort?! Who the hell is going to raise them now?’ He didn’t have the heart to break it to me that most baby turtles don’t make it to the ocean’s edge after busting out of their eggshell. Then there was a bird that innocently sat on her eggs waiting eagerly to become a mother. Little did she know that a rival bird had put her own egg in the mother’s nest so that she didn’t have to raise it. And not only was this bird much uglier at birth (I know, love is unconditional…and clearly very very blind), but once out of the shell, it had the audacity to push the mother's biological eggs out of the nest when Mamma bird was out foraging for food. And let me tell you, this poor unsuspecting Mamma bird had to hightail it out of the nest every two minutes to find food. This monstrous little ball of feathers made the King look like a food amateur. Ah yes, a mother's work is tireless.

Needless to say, after my nerves were frayed and I realized nature (and human kind) is not for the precious or the overly sensitive, I reached for my book with not a death scene or child abandonment issue  in sight (and suddenly realised why my older sister has taken to watching the CW Channel). Come to think of it, I’ll be watching Korean cartoons (don’t ask) with the King in no time.

Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed