Je salue, tu salues, elle salue …

September 20, 2009

There’s a chance I will make myself some enemies when I say that I hate with a passion beyond reason the children’s TV programme Waybuloo .

Waybuloo apparently has a stated aim to develop children’s “emotional intelligence”. Now (imagine, if you have no sound card in your PC, the noise of a soap box being dragged into the middle of the floor) quite apart from the question of whether such a nebulous and poorly-defined thing as “emotional intelligence” can be developed by a TV programme – and quite apart from the question of whether, if it can, it is the role of the BBC to do so – I cannot believe that computer-generated cuddly toys doing yoga (I shit you not) and speaking about feelings in what some coke-addled media graduate imagines to be “baby talk” is the way to go about it. 

But then, what do I know? Have I the right to risk my young Piaf’s development of “emotional intelligence” (which, in the context of Waybuloo, appears to be Latin for “sharing” and “not crying if you come last”) by denying her access to this rich televisual resource, just because of my own distrust of its charlatan laziness lack of the stuff? I thought I had better assess her.

Not only has she been specifically praised recently at nursery for sharing (though I suspect that she is vastly better at sharing when there are two of something – I sense sometimes that she would fight to the death for a talking doll); not only is she quick to laugh and slow to cry; but these last few days she has gone into kissing overdrive. Once upon a time she did not see the point of kissing; then it became a sort of game of kiss chase, whereby I would ask her for a kiss and then pursue her, giggling (her, not me) until she very solemnly pecked me moistly on the lips; and then this where, unprovoked, she will alternate between maman and me, kissing each of us snottily several times over.

And then, tonight, I asked her (as I almost never do) “tu m’aimes?” and got my first “yeah”! Does she understand what it means? Who knows? But we are always telling her we love her – as we cuddle her, tickle her, dress her, sing to her, put her to bed, say goodbye to her at nursery, even wipe her arse – so she must know it’s a basically positive thing, right?

 She is far from perfect. She really does not enjoy time spent in cars and is very able to communicate her feelings on the subject; she is still delightfully free from the straitjacket of social convention when it comes to keeping food on the plate or even on the table; if something bores or annoys her she is more than happy to express her emotions by hurling the offending article across the room. Clearly, we have some way to go before we have a perfectly rounded individual on our hands. 

But we’ll do it without the help of a CBeebies-instigated sun salutation, thank you very much.


13 Responses to “Je salue, tu salues, elle salue …”

  1. […] Je salue, tu salues, elle salue … « Papa et Piaf – view page – cached There’s a chance I will make myself some enemies when I say that I hate with a passion beyond reason the children’s TV programme Waybuloo . — From the page […]

  2. emmanuel bavoux said

    Je ne connais pas cette émission, mais il est sûr qu’il appartient aux parents d’écouter (et d’entendre!) leur(s) enfant(s) pour les aider à s’exprimer en toute circonstance. Cette émission (surtout une émission du service public) peut faire penser à de la propagande émotionelle nationale, non ??

    • papaetpiaf said

      Exact. C’est assez loin de “bonne nuit les petits”, c’est sur …

    • papaetpiaf said

      A propos, je serais ravi d’ameliorer mon vocabulaire en apprenant les noms des “manoeuvres” de yoag en francais – comment dit-on “sun salutation” et “downward dog”?

  3. emmanuel bavoux said

    Mmmh go to a yoga french site dude. I’m no yogi so doesn’t know this kind of stuff. Sorry.

  4. emmanuel bavoux said

    Wow : you’ll get knowledge and neverending fun free of charge :

  5. charlotte said

    Bonjour Sean, I am completely with you on this one. Although I disagree that what is meant by “social intelligence” is vague and undefinable. Social and emotional skills would be a better description and I think that these (and the stages we go through to aquire them) are quite well defined. But the Beeb has to use the word, “intelligence” since if it used the word, “skill” it would be pretty obvious that it is something you have to learn by practising and it is still more obvious that a child is not practising socio-emotional skills by watching the bloody box.

    • papaetpiaf said

      Thanks for support.

      To be clear, I think “social intelligence” (which can be assessed against a known structure) is a lot more definable than “emotional intelligence” (which covers a neutral spectrum and so by definition is hard to pin down). I also really meant, not that it cannot be defined, but that many parties (the makers of this programme included) seem unable or unwilling to do so.

      Agree, too, re skills and how we acquire them. You might as well try to teach a child to walk by showing it a documentary about the London Marathon.

  6. My 17-month-old is showing a worrying addiction to Waybuloo. It’s like visual heroin for the under-2s. He may have to go cold turkey.

  7. I’m glad its not just me – I can’t stand the high pitched voices, the incredible non-story lines and the fact that its replaced Zoo Lane and Charlie and Lola during bedtime hour

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