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Parenting, According to Dreamworks Animations' Mr. PeabodyThere is much to be learned about parenting from this new animated movie!
Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine—the Wabac—to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes the Wabac out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidently rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time-traveling trio will make their mark on history.
There’s not much that Mr Peabody can’t do. The star of Dreamworks’ forthcoming film is an all-round genius and time-travelling inventor of the WABAC machine. Oh – and did we mention, he’s a dog? But there is one area where even the world’s smartest being sometimes comes up short:
"Fellow moms and dads, I must confess: Before I adopted my son Sherman I thought raising a human child would be a breeze. After cracking the secret of time travel, how hard could it be? But it turns out that parenting is much, much more difficult than building a time machine.
For a start, there’s no instruction manual and no toolbox. Oh, there’s no shortage of advice to be had, with experts lining up to tell you why their method is so much better than all the others. After throwing away my 99th parenting book, I was in despair. I longed for a simpler time when there was just one answer to the question, “How should I raise my child?” So I jumped in the WABAC machine, and went back in time to find it.
The Espresso Route to Infant Weaning
First stop: a diner in Miami in the early 1960s. I arranged a breakfast meeting with Dr Walter W. Sackett, Jr., bestselling author of “Bringing Up Babies”. When I arrived I was somewhat surprised to see the good Doctor pour two fresh cups of coffee: one for me, and one for baby Sherman! Sackett advised starting infants on strained vegetables at 10 days old, progressing to eggs and bacon by 9 weeks, and weaning them on to black coffee at 6 months. Despite – or, maybe, because of – the fact that Sherman seemed share my love of coffee, I bid Dr. Sackett adieu and decided I needed to look further back.
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Be a Perfect Parent in Just Ten Minutes a Day
Next stop: Victorian England. Surely Queen Victoria, mother to nine children and mother-figure to the entire British Empire, would have some good advice for me? Turns out, the queen was not keen on children. She thought that babies looked like frogs, and handed out severe punishments for the slightest childish misdemeanor. When Sherman tried to give her half of his rusk, she was definitely not amused. Her own children were raised in distant nurseries by an army of stern nannies, and only presented to their parents for a few minutes a day. “Children should be seen, not heard,” was her motto. But my experience with Sherman has taught me exactly the opposite. It’s when he goes quiet that I start to worry about what he’s up to.
If Your Child Gets Under Your Feet, Bury Him
It was only when I went truly way back in the WABAC machine that I realized that nursery banishments and bacon-for-babies were, by comparison, good ideas. On a visit to the ancient Inca people of Peru, a villager showed me a square pit, dug into the bare earth outside his home. The sides of the pit came up to about the height of Sherman’s neck. The children would be left to play in the pit, come rain or shine, while their parents went about their business. I thanked the Incan father for his advice, bundled Sherman quickly back into the WABAC machine, and promptly gave up on searching for the perfect parenting method.
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The Best Advice is What You Already Know
The biggest lesson I learned from my historical parenting gurus was not to be swayed by the latest fashions in child rearing. Who knows which of today’s fads would look equally odd to a visitor from the future? So I’m not looking for answers from experts any more. Like most people, I’m relying on trial and error, together with my animal instincts. If a wolf managed to raise the boy who founded Rome, I reckon I’m in with a chance.
A Dreamworks Animation presentation, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” (3D) will open March 6 in theaters from 20th Century Fox, to be distributed by Warner Bros. Check out the film’s localized site here for videos, mobile apps and lots of games and downloadable fun stuff.
Click View Slideshow for screengrabs from the movie, and watch the official trailer below!
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