The other day I brought into the car a swiss roll – one that’s carefully wrapped in a packaging printed with Mickey Mouse faces all over. And when Isa saw it, he immediately recognized the character and said it out loud.
My initial reaction was “Whattt?!! Since when he can recognize Mickey Mouse?”. And it is NOT because I am proud of it – I am truly shocked.
My husband calmly answered : It could be from the creche.
We have never introduced it to Isa. We do not subscribe to children’s TV channels: Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network – No. None.
You see, we have been very careful about these brand images. My husband especially. He has always reminded me to not buy any clothes for Isa with these brand names and images (Batman, Superman, or the local Upin & Ipin), or toys, and even if we happen to have them, we never refer to these items by it ‘given’ brand names. Isa’s train set is of Thomas & Friends collection for instance, but we always refer to it as ‘train’, never as ‘Thomas’.
This would have slipped my mind should my husband be less consistent about it. He could not find the logic behind wearing a Formula One shirt with sponsors name all over (why would you give free advertising to those brands when they should be paying you for walking around marketing their brands?), or wearing a football jersey (Isa has one, a present from my mother) or the rationale behind sticking to one brand when others could provide the same service at the same quality. It’s brand slavery – and I totally understand it.
And we do not intend for our son to be grow the silly brand loyalty and succumb to materialism unnecessarily and start pestering us once he is able to do so for toys and stuff later. More stuffs won’t make it happy – and we have experienced it first hand to be able to give him a head-start to minimalism.
Unfortunately, how others interact with Isa is not something I can control. I am certain that for audio-visual activities for instance, there could be some videos on Mickey Mouse played – it could be educational, no question about it, but…
That’s why when the feedback survey form from the creche reached me this morning, I took the time to put a comment on this matter – and give them a link for further reading.
I am not so sure how much change it would have (other good ‘educational’ audio-visual materials portray these brand characters I know), but there’s no harm in trying, right?