The Pup Invasion: A Parent’s Lament

Only Paw Patrol

To be honest, I’m not even sure how it happened.

There was life before “PAW Patrol,” and now we’re stuck in the painful after. A place in which time has no meaning, because all that exists in my 3-year-old’s world are Chase, Zuma, Skye, Rubble … and rice with butter, his primary food group.

Up in the morning? “PAW Patrol.” Last request at night? “PAW Patrol.” Bedtime stories feature even more tales about “the pups.” While I’ll admit to feeling my heart melt at Ollie’s request for “Good Morning, Adventure Bay,” which he says in a distinctly Ollie-like way that would be impossible to type out, I’m generally annoyed by the whole Nickelodeon-funded mess.

Oliver has had plenty of obsessions before. There were tractors, of course, and the ongoing love of farming equipment. Back when his vocabulary was limited to things like “up” and “milk,” “tractor” somehow worked its way in there.

And then we had “The Muppets,” all we watched for the first year of his life, followed by “Big Hero 6” and “The Lorax.” Now he’s especially into Blippi, a true icon amongst the Pull-Up set.

And those? I’ve been fine with those. See, unlike those programs, which have some vague humor that lets adults tolerate — or even enjoy — them,  “PAW Patrol” is just mind-melting. Boring. Colorful, but in an “assault on the senses” kind of way. 

I love the pro-“PAW Patrol” message that pops up before every episode, too. Going on missions with the pups helps children think critically! Encourages teamwork! Builds character! We’re basically curing cancer over here!

Look, Nick: you don’t have to try to make us feel good about this. I know my kids spend far too much time in front of a screen already. I put “PAW Patrol” on because it encourages my toddler to sit in one place long enough for me to mop up the milk he spilled or comfort the sister he pushed. I know it ain’t about the teamwork, OK?

I’ve tried placing limits on how much we’re tagging along with Ryder et. al., but the truth is that Oliver just really loves this show. Hadley tolerates it, so we alternate with episodes of “Sesame Street” because we’re learning all about “taking turns.”

When the kids fall asleep, Spence passes out on the couch and I finally have the remote all to myself, I usually … turn the TV off. I have a DVR full of shows I’ve stockpiled, but I rarely have the energy or focus to enjoy any of them. I’m trying to start reading again (slow process), and I give that preference.

But mostly? I crave silence. Space. My sister makes fun of how low we keep the volume on our TV, but all the noise — so much noise — coming at us all day just gets to be too much. By 10 p.m., I’m done. I want the darkness and nothingness. I might even need it.

I’ve even found myself turning off my car radio and driving in silence. The quiet helps me scrape some thoughts together. I actually do my best thinking on my morning commute.

Probably because that’s the only time my husband and I don’t have furry problem-solving guests in our home.

“PAW Patrol” is annoying, but I know it’s just a phase. Oliver will soon move on to the next toddler fever dream. Hadley will advance from Elmo to “Doc McStuffins” or something similar, and pretty soon we’ll have a rumble going on in the living room.

Or maybe we’ll actually … go outside. Just for a little bit. Blow some bubbles. Take a walk. Decorate the driveway with my mediocre chalk designs and Ollie’s scribbles.

It’s almost summer. Even with my husband and I working full-time and the kids in day care, it still feels like a lighter, freer season.

The perfect time to step back from the screens.

I promise I’ll try.




7 thoughts on “The Pup Invasion: A Parent’s Lament

  1. I know exactly how you feel! All the noise coming from tv shows nowadays is overwhelming. I’ve started using my tablet to introduce old–less frantic–shows to my kids. We now watch things like garfield and the berenstain bears–which i can get some enjoyment out of. My som is obsessed with mickey mouse clubhouse which i find brain numbing and completely against the laws of physics most of the time. Haha! I laugh bc some days kids’ tv shows just make me want to cry.


  2. I’m thankful for YouTube. I hope when I have kids, the PBS shows that I watched will still be there! I loved Ghostwriter, Carmen Sandiego, Wishbone, Arthur, etc. I still love Sesame Street, to this day.


  3. I could have written this myself, I kid you not! Caleb was obsessed with Paw Patrol a year or two back, then he dropped it. Didn’t care for it anymore. Sweet relief. Then, out of nowhere, about three months ago… he became obsessed again! Every single day, all I hear is “Pawtrol, Pawtrol!” When it ends, he tracks me down and shoves the remote in my hand: “more Pawtrol!” In fact, he did that just this morning while I was in the shower! He came bustling in with the remote, demanding I play it again (thank God it’s available “on demand” since it’s not always on live TV). I had to keep telling him I was in the SHOWER! Oy!

    Also? My DVR is 95% full ALL THE TIME. I have so many shows I want to watch, but don’t have the energy to watch them lately. I want quiet at the end of the day, so I pick reading 90% of the time, too.

    Pretty sure we’re living the same-ish life but in different states. HAHA!


  4. Good luck with trying to get out and away from PAW patrol. My child’s obsessions included Thomas the Tank Engine, Barney the Dinosaur and The Teletubbies at a young age, followed by The Power Rangers for a phase. Eventually they grow out of them all! Yay!


  5. I don’t have kids, but I totally get the need for silence. I actually love doing one of my commutes to or from work in silence. It’s nice to have space to just think without words or music or anything getting in the way. And summer still feeling lighter and and more free to me too 🙂

    I’m glad you’re back to blogging a bit!


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