Line Between Reality and Pretend is Very Thin
We used to sit with our oldest child while watching TV and ask him: Is this cartoon or real people?
He would routinely get it wrong.
And we would start to freak out because it is so obvious when something is animated and when it is real (well at least it was 5 years ago, not so much now). But he couldn’t tell the difference and since we were first-time parents we obviously thought he had some kind of perception issue. But no, he was just a preschooler with a preschooler’s mind.
I was thinking about this recently when I took my two younger kids down to the CBC building and they met the hosts: Patty and Sid. They were dumbstruck, in awe and had no idea how to handle the situation. Especially when Patty started talking to them.
The look of confusion said it all as they followed the hosts up to see a new set. Are we on TV? Can everyone see us? NO, the cameras aren’t on, I answered.
But we are with Patty and Sid, and they are on TV, answered my son. Yes, but they are also real people and they are on TV when the cameras film them.
It’s OK, happens all the time, said Sid.
And now guess what happens? Whenever my daughter sees Patty on TV she tries and talks to her. The line between imagination and reality is so thin and permeable for kids. It gives me a better understanding of why kids have nightmares, why they lie and why they sit so immersed in front of the TV.
Everything is still amazing and scary and out of their control; and they are just observers. They eventually learn what is reality and what is pretend – but I no longer want to burst the bubble.