Bluey – a review

There’s a new level of peculiarity that comes with Bluey appreciation: you’re at a BBQ with other parents and all of you – ALL OF YOU – are talking about a kids’ show. Not in the “oh it’s just so educational” or “it actually has a good theme song” kind of way, no, you are talking about Bluey because YOU love it. You all admit to watching it without your children there. One of you even confesses to sending a message to your elderly neighbour, just to let her know about it.

Bluey is a 6 year old Blue Heeler and the animated show follows her daily play with her younger sister Bingo and her Dad, Bandit. Her mother, Chilli, often appears just to say that she is heading off to work, to play hockey, or to go for a run. The family live in a Queenslander surrounded by the sounds and sights of the tropics.

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What makes Bluey so amazing?

  1. It’s funny for everyone. While your child is laughing because Bluey has given up on Fruit Salad after dreaming she was a fruitbat, you’re in hysterics at Chilli’s line delivered for every parent everywhere: “7 o’clock!? That was a big sleep!”.
  2. The music is beautiful. The music makes every moment of every episode.
  3. Bluey’s relationship with her dad, is relatable and speaks to the generation of the parents watching. Toffee apples: “Old school, nice!” A reference to Indiana Jones – a game where Bandit rolls a Yoga ball down the hallway and the kids jump out of the way – “Raiders.” In ‘Keepy Uppy’ the neighbour’s dad runs to hit a balloon back over the fence, “I’ve done me hammy!” Bluey also builds a link between what we had as children – a world without screens – and what we want for our children, but in reality have to work quite hard to provide in this world of ‘video’ games and TV shows on demand. It reminds us of making up games to play inside when it’s a bad weather day (Taxi), begging our parents for change to play the claw machine in the local pub (The Claw), and guessing what your sibling or friend is saying underwater(The Pool).
  4. A respectful family unit enjoying creative and wholesome play, is what makes Bluey a lesson in good parenting. Not everyone is a natural parent. Many of us struggle with what to say and do at those pivotal moments in our kid’s development: when they are disappointed, angry, not sharing, or how to speak up when play gets too rough for them. And games – trying to think of games to play is a bloody difficult task for some of us. Every episode of Bluey shows us the trials of parenting, and how we can act towards our children when our actions and words come from a place of love. Bandit and Chilli are not infallible, but they do their best.
  5. It certainly is refreshing to watch a show where the father is the main carer of his kids. He is there for the getting ready for bed routine, and for the dawn walk to the monkey bars, but still he is always trying to catch a glimpse of the cricket scores on TV whilst wrestling his two daughters. He’s nearly always carrying a basket of washing. Friends often watch a whole episode of Bluey for the first time without realizing that Bluey and Bingo are both girls. Bandit rarely addresses them as “girls” and his terms of endearment are words like ‘squirt’, ‘buster’, ‘mate’, and ‘pint size’.
  6. The best thing about Bluey is the touch of magic that is sprinkled into each episode. The second best thing is my two year old daughter’s facial expression when she is watching that magic unfold. I thought she was a comic genius when one day, out of nowhere, she stuck two bobby pins under her top lip, clapped her hands and yelled “I’m a walrus!” Later, I realized that Bluey does this in the Takeaway episode – a moment that literally last TWO SECONDS. Enough time for my transfixed daughter to take it in, and replicate.

Whilst I love every single 7 minute episode of Bluey created, I am eagerly awaiting Season 2, or a Bluey movie. For the moment, when my daughter demands an episode for the 700th time (usually Markets), I have an arsenal of play ideas at my disposal. “I have a balloon we could blow up – how about a game of Keepy Uppy?” “No,” she says, “How about… Shadowlands?”

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Why you visit your grandparents # Part 2

My father was not born yet, but three of his siblings were. This is a story that gave me goosebumps to hear, and even more to write. This is how I imagine it – a story of such gravity that had it not occurred – my grandparents’ lives, and in turn my father’s, and then my own life would not be as it is now.

The sirens had been sounding regularly for days, and every time they sounded, the people of Rotterdam waited for what might come after they stopped. So many times my father’s family had huddled together – my grandparents, my two aunties and my uncle. They would sit together in the centre of the house, in the hallway, and wait.

Each time the sirens began, my Opa would leave his young family briefly, to go and open the front door. He left it ajar so that anyone passing by, should the need arise, could find shelter in their house.

One day, as the sirens rang out, my Opa went to the front door. He unlocked it, pushed it ajar, and glanced out into the street. There was a man there. A man Opa had never seen before – which was strange as Opa was a store owner, and knew everyone in the street. The man was dressed very well, in a good suit, and he greeted my Opa from outside the front door.

“Where do you take shelter,” asked the man, “when the sirens sound?”

“In the middle of the house,” replied my Opa, “in the hallway.”

The man in the nice suit shook his head. “No, no, you should stay under the stairs – under the stairs is strong, your family will be safer there.”

“Thank you,” said my Opa, and nodded goodbye, leaving the door ajar behind him, and leaving the man in the street, he returned to his wife and children in the hallway.

“Apparently we should be under the stairs,” he told his wife, “it’s stronger there, and safer.”

My Oma nodded, “I guess that makes sense – let’s go.”

When the sirens ended, most of Rotterdam was flattened. My grandparents, my two aunties and uncle emerged from where they had huddled under the stairs, not unscathed – but alive and not seriously injured. All around them was dirt and stone.

Oma held my Uncle Peter, whose face would remain scarred from that day onwards.“Who told you that we should stay under the stairs?” she asked her husband.

“A man who was passing in the street. I had never seen him before.” Opa kicked some rubble near his toe, and looked around where his house, the hallway, and the stairs had once stood. “He was wearing a very nice suit.”

 

I know the stranger could have been just a man, who cared enough to stop and comment as the sirens sounded in Rotterdam on that day. But my father’s family would have been wiped out had he not stopped, and not commented. In my wild erratic fancy, the man is a time traveller, an ancestor of mine, an alien or a clairvoyant. Either way, my father’s family owe him their lives – and yet all this, this whole story was told after my Oma began, “Well, it’s quite a funny story that…”

(Maybe I will end up learning, speaking, and teaching my children Dutch… just in case.)

Have you taken your mum shopping lately?

Mum walks around the discounted pants and whispers (which is not a whisper as women in my family cannot whisper) “I think the store lady finds us quite entertaining!”

We certainly were entertaining. I haven’t gone shopping with both my sister and my mum in a long time. And the last time I did this, I’m pretty sure I cried over some cargo pants. Shopping and me usually brings grumpiness and lethargy and I’m very much a “get in, get what you want, and get out” kind of shopper.

But today was incredibly fun – my mother is not old, not embarrassing, and does not need any special care when in a public place, but I felt a strange role reversal in play as my sister and I gave her advice on her selections with a genuine care that was probably non-existent in our outings as teenagers. We want her to look great, and feel great, but I also have a great time poking fun at her.

I pick up a beautiful shirt in Brown Sugar, and read “100% Linen” on the tag. Damn, cotton would have been better.

“Hey Kat – ” I say to my sister, “I’ll show mum and I bet you she’ll say something about having to iron it because it’s linen.”

I show my mum. “Is it cotton?”

“No, linen. 100%.”

“Oh no – linen… Well! You’ll have to iron it everytime you wash it!”

“Can’t I just hang it in the sun?” I stir. A customer behind the dresses laughs extremely loudly.

Mum tsks, “No! And you don’t iron do you?” This makes me laugh more, and she turns to the store lady, “This generation don’t iron like we do!” The store lady begins to go on about starching sheets… “It’s just so nice, getting into a bed with lovely, starched sheets…”

I’m glad my mum doesn’t starch sheets.