We are a SpongeBob-free house. I think it's a loud, ugly cartoon and I am the mom and can choose so we don't watch it. My six year old, Zack, has seen the show. He saw it once on a cabin camping trip with friends a few years ago. There were multiple families there and I couldn't really control what was on the TV. The sound of the show and the fact that I couldn't control someting drove me nuts. Zack has a SpongeBob SquarePants book, and he loves the characters. I will buy him SpongeBob SuqarePants books until forever, but I hate that TV show.
As a homeschooler, I am always in hyper-teacher mode, so we have lots of conversations about challenging ourselves and learning from all of our experiences. One time I explained to Zack that whenever he learns something new, he gets another wrinkle in his brain. He thinks his dad is the smartest person on the planet (I kinda agree), so he frequently remarks how he's going to have as many brain wrinkles as dad one day. On his quest for brain wrinkle accumulation, he makes sure to do math problems (numerical and word problems) that challenge him and his rate of asking about the meaning of words and phrases has increased exponentially--and he's always noting the brain wrinkles. He's serious about his brain wrinkles.
Recently when I was flipping through channels en route to Nick Jr., Zack saw the SpongeBob cartoon coming on and asked to watch it. I'd had a long day and was in no mood for a power struggle over a TV show because if he begged and asked me again right after I said no (which is what was going to happen), the TV was going to go off, and (confession) I needed him occupied while I took care of some very impotant business (taking a break from him). So I reached into my momma backpocket and used one of many valuable tools in my emergency sanity-saving kit.
Upon hearing the intro music to SpongeBob SquarePants...
Zack: MAuUUUUM! I REEEally wanna watch SpongeBob SquarePants can I watch it pleeeeeeeas?!
Me: Scientists researched and the results said that watching SpongeBob SquarePants shrinks your brain wrinkles.
Zack: You mean I would lose my brain wrinkles?
Zack: (shaking his head no franticly) No! Never mind, I do NOT want to lose my brain wrinkles. I work TOO HARD for those wrinkles.
Me: (shrugs) Ok. (pumps triumphant fist on the inside)
Does watching SpongeBob SquarePants really damage brain cells? Probably not. But it does drain every ounce of attention span that a child might need to access to function normally. That means fewer opportunities to rack up those brain wrinkles. So while I kinda did lie to him a little bit, it's still mostly true.
Most importantly, I won.
I know it gets harder. Therefore, I consider this a glorious victory.