Throw it Out the Window: the Second Story Window

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 8th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Kids

There is no doubt that media can affect certain people in negative ways. One would think that television producers would be more cautious when providing programming for young children.


My son lived with my grandmother during the week. It was too hard for my husband and I to take him by bus to her house and back everyday. It was actually my grandmother who suggested that my son stay over on the weekdays and I would pick him up Friday night after work. This arrangement was good for all concerned. Steven came home with us on the weekends, even though we had errands to run, housework to do and life was just so busy.

Our dog Sparkey

At the age of three, my son's life was about to take a serious turn for the worse. You see this was also the time that my husband would be diagnosed with schizophrenia; a topic that is too large for this paper but one that I will write about it in detail at another time. It was the beginning of the end for us as a family and not only was our human family affected but our dog Sparkey was as well.

There have been many commentaries on the effects that TV viewing has had on young children. The comments are both good and bad. As a young mother of a three year old, I had made it my business to investigate both.

During all the confusion with dealing with my husband and his illness I have to admit that I left my son watching more of television than I normally would have. But I always made sure that he was watching educational programs. I would do housework around his favourite programs; Sesame Street, The Polka Dot Door and others that I no longer remember. I figured that if the television had to be a babysitter for a period of time at least let it be an educational one. Of course there were times in the program that I would sit down with him and talk about what he had seen. I was trying to teach him how to read at that time as well - Sesame Street was a godsend for that. He would watch it twice. He would watch the American version where he would learn a bit of Spanish and then the Canadian version where he would learn French as well.

It was during that time that my husband had lost his job, though at the time we were not aware of his sickness. He was having some paranoid thoughts. For example, he told me that people were against him at work, but I really did not think too much about it at the time. Many people have problems with their bosses and or coworkers. This information was not enough to warrant any suspicion of an underlying cause.

My husband's sister also came for a visit from Barbados at the same time as Tony was complaining about the people at his work. When I first met her in Barbados two years prior, she and I hit it off famously and I expected it would be the same way when she came to visit but it was not. There were problems from the get go. She instantly took a dislike towards me. I am still not quite sure why.

Maybe it was because she fed into the new developments of my husband's illness. He was now convinced that all my family was against him. He felt that I was poisoning his food. I, in my naiveté, thought that she was smart enough to understand that this could not be true. But I guess as they say blood is thicker than water, and she believed his paranoia.

In psychological terms what was happening between the two of them was called a Folie a Deux which occurs when a person is mentally ill and is able to convince another person that is so close to him/her that his/her paranoia and/or delusions are real and actually happening. The two people then believe in the same things.

I was not aware of my husband's sister's behaviour at that time. I was still working during her stay of three weeks but since my husband was out of work, I could not afford baby-sitting fees. I left him and her to take care of our son while I was at the office. I thought that she was the responsible young girl I had met in Barbados.

Throw it out the window

In the beginning all was well. Then Tony started getting sicker and I could not be sure if she was feeding him with lies or if it was he who was convincing her that everyone hated him and was against him. He did love his son; that much I could be sure of. I also felt that since she was not sick she could at least take care of him and Steven for the hours that I was at work. That way I did not have to worry about my son's safety. However it never occurred to me that my poor dog would be an issue.

I had left instructions with my husband and his sister of what had to be done for Steven everyday. They were both aware of the time that his favourite programs came on. Polka Door as I mentioned previously was one of his favourite ones.

Polka Door Dot was a great educational show; I think it was fashioned after Sesame Street. They had a big purple creature in the show called the Polkaroo. This Polkaroo was a very mysterious fellow indeed. He liked to hide from the stars of the show and only came out for the children to see when no one else was around. He was very loving and playful, and he loved to sing a lot. He used to sing this song called Throw it out the window, the second story window. Polkaroo would lapse into song all the while throwing everything that he could find out of the window. But since it was a television studio what were actually thrown out the window were toys and other props.

It is amazing to me how the producers of that show could not foresee that a three year old would take the show literally and model the behaviour exhibited there. My son started to throw his toys off the back gallery. We rectified the situation by not allowing him on the gallery with anything in his hand.

What I was not prepared for was what happened next. It was a late Saturday afternoon and I was in the kitchen preparing the evening meal. My husband was watching TV and his sister was in her room with my son. The next thing I heard was her yelling "Anthony come here quick". Debbie never spoke to me so I was not surprised but I just had to go into her room to find out what was going on anyhow. When she saw me she just told me to look out the window, our second story window. There on the sidewalk was my dog Sparkey looking up at me. His eyes had gone completely white. There were no irises or pupils showing. He looked like he was blind.

I was hysterical. I ran downstairs to get my dog and see that he was injured. Within seconds his eyes came back to normal and he had no vision problems. Sparkey was okay, just a little shocked. I came back and asked Debbie what had happened and she told me that Steven picked the dog up and put him on the windowsill. I asked her why she would allow a three year old to do that and she responded, "Well how would I know that he would throw the dog out of the window."

That incident finished it for me. There was never going to be any chance that Debbie and I would live comfortably in the same house. Now it was not only that she did not care for me, but I certainly did not care for her anymore either. I told her how irresponsible I felt that she was and I questioned whether or not she was able to take care of my son. She sneered at me and said, "Do you think I am stupid, I wouldn't hurt my little nephew. You are making way too much fuss over a stupid little dog." My world was falling apart, I was losing my husband to a serious sickness, his sister had no use for me from the get go, and the faithful babysitter, the television set, taught my child to throw little dogs out of the window - the second story window.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Chiildren And The Media, Impressionable Kids And The Television, Kids, Kids Activities, Kids Programs, Kids Safety, Polkaroo, Sesame Street, The Polka Dot Door

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar spirited
9th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks for the sharing of this article Carol. It sounded like a very desperate situation to find oneself within.

That you got out of it somehow with your sanity still intact in the end, is a testament to the type of person that you are.

A strong, sensitive, caring human being.

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author avatar Kingwell
10th Apr 2015 (#)

My friend, I see that you've had some difficult times in your life. Blessings.

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