Frances’s preferred documentary topics are diverse. Each topic’s phase is quite intense, lasting anywhere from weeks to months, during which period she learns a great deal.
It also means that I learn a great deal, too, because, after all, I am with her as she watches her docs.
Before Frances had come along, I couldn’t have told you what a terrapin is, how cute meerkats are, or what are the specific fertility issues afflicting the giant panda. I had no idea how wonderfully diverse architecture in the US and Canada can be, from where the Crown Jewels originate, or how many people on the planet have primordial dwarfism type II.
Of course, having children in and of itself is a learning process, but there’s just so much more to learn when Frances is nearby.
For many years, watching documentaries has been part of Frances’s very strict bedtime routine: if she does not watch a documentary or if she falls asleep during one, she will wake in the middle of the night crying and repeating, “I didn’t watch a documentary.”
So, I try to start bedtime early enough so that she can watch a documentary and have enough time to have her questions answered.
In the following panel, Frances (6) and I are watching one of her favourites — it is about turtles and tortoises.
Our family hasn’t really sat through a television show or a movie in years — at least, not in a way that most people would expect.
Even during her documentaries, the question experience is so intense that we have to enable subtitles whenever possible.
While we may not be able to watch a movie without constant interruptions, the extra effort is worth it as the questions are oftentimes more entertaining than the movie itself. 🙂