Before having babies, I had illusions. My children would wear hand-knit sweaters, play with wooden toys, and eat what their parents ate. They would sleep through the night at four months, effortlessly learn a second language as toddlers, shake hands and make eye contact like small diplomats at 36 months. None of this folly came to pass.

Even my small goals were stymied. Because I had loved The Red Balloon as a child, I dreamed that my kids would love it too. When the boys were preschoolers, we had these devices called “VCRs.” I would pop a tape in, hit Play, and sit back with whichever little towhead was a preschooler at the time. Wriggling would begin even before Pascal got punished for bringing his red balloon to school.

As bullies in short pants and wool socks tried to kill the red balloon on the charming cobblestoned streets of Paris, my child would be lunging to be free of my arms, craving nothing more than the freedom to go chew Duplos.

Betrayed, I beseeched the heavens, “Why? Why can’t my kid at least like The Red Balloon? Is that so much to ask, that he and I share a favorite video – one we both enjoy? How can he not be fascinated by this incredible classic that transcends language? How can he prefer Power Rangers and Pokemon?”

Friends have reported the same frustration. Lindsay was crushed when her boys didn’t embrace her childhood favorite, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Trying to whip up enthusiasm, there she sat, bouncily singing “Oh Chitty, Whoo Chitty, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!” and her boys were like, “Mom’s weird. Let’s go outside and hit each other with sticks.”

However, hope springs eternal in the human heart. There’s always the next generation, right?

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