Posts tagged BBC

And Then There Were Two…

Look closer... it's right there!

Wrapped in bathing towels, Teddy, Caleb and I came home two days ago from the neighbour’s pool to witness what nobody ever wants to come home to: the toad’s terrarium stood open, empty of everything but the plantation soil and the rock puddle. The only clue to the tiny amphibians’ whereabouts was the guilty look on Sammy’s face, who had – until that point – been busy playing in the sandbox (Sammy was at home with Dad). Upon closer inspection we realized that two of the three toads were squished between Sam’s little fingers – his sandbox toys, evidently.

Guilt-stricken and fearing the wrath of his older brother, Sam ran back to the terrarium where he deposited the poor toads upside down in their little puddle. The sight of them just lying there belly-up not moving will probably always be etched on our collective psyches. Were they dead? Alive, but severely shaken by their ordeal?

Teddy quickly righted them back onto their legs, at which point it became clear that the breath of life was indeed still in them. It also became clear, however, that one of their brethren had been released into the wild blue yonder. A search was immediately initiated, but the chances of finding a frog small enough to bathe in a thimble in a dense patch of clover are about as slim as finding a parking space at the mall on Boxing Day.

Eventually Teddy called off the search, consoling himself that now he had “one less mouth to feed.” That, and the missing toad was the fattest one – too fat to fit into the mouth of any predator. Absolutely right on both counts, I assured him.

Still, the animal fever continues to rage at our house. They’ve taken over the house: chameleons, koalas, toads, frogs, lizards, and whatever else the boys have seen on TV. To be clear, we don’t keep all of these animals – the boys pretend to be them. Believe it or not the boys’ creature personas were not the result of any children’s programming, although certainly Zooboomafoo with Chris and Martin Kratt laid the groundwork for their current passion. Their current animal zeal is fueled by occasional family movie nights featuring BBC Earth’s Life documentary. The exceptional footage of this series (as with all of BBC Earth’s documentaries) leaves the children with scenarios that they just have to re-enact. Could previous generations of children have known what a chameleon’s long, slimy grey tongue looks like in slow-motion as it greedily snatches a preying mantis? The way that suction-cup tip envelopes the unsuspecting insect and rudely plucks it off of its perch in the blink of an eye is impressive and worthy of an attempted emulation, at least if you’re four and six years old.

Image: africa /


Source: africa/


Anyone who can still argue that children are not heavily influenced by what they watch on television need only watch our children’s play immediately following what we have just allowed the BBC to put into their little heads. If it’s not a komodo dragon lying in wait for its little brother err… prey, it’s a chameleon stuffing his cheeks with cherry tomatoes and storing them for the winter (it seems they’ve created a brand new sub-species by crossing a chameleon and a squirrel).

Beyond just being entertaining to watch, our children’s role-playing has reiterated for us the importance of our role as sentinel at the media portal of our children’s minds. Whether we like it or not, we have a very strong influence over our children’s behaviour simply by determining what we allow them to watch. Let’s give them wholesome material to emulate.

  • Toads! (

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