...as I learned this evening.
The kids were remarkably well behaved this evening, and when they act this well I usually reward them with a little something. Tonight I decided to let them watch an extra hour of television, and the kids voted to watch a show called "Survivorman".
For those not familiar with the show, Survivorman is a show that pits a survivalist (Les Stroud) against nature in a unique way...he's dropped off in the wilderness with a few basic supplies and his cameras. For seven days he is completely alone - filming the entire episode himself with no camera crew. The kids have watched this show before and have really enjoyed it (as well as another survivalist show called "Dual Survival").
This episode had him dropped off in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest. This ended up being one of the few episodes that "failed"...he didn't make it the whole seven days. He had stepped out of his shelter to pee before going to bed, and came face to face with a jaguar - who showed no fear of him even when he yelled. This understandably freaked him out, and he decided to grab his pack, his spear, and his night-vision camera and hoof it to a nearby village.
The whole way to the village, you could hear the barely controlled panic in his voice; the jaguar had decided to follow him and it was very close. You could hear leaves crunching under its paws as it trailed him; every so often the jaguar would growl and the sound was picked up, quite clearly, by the camera. Les barely made it to the village in time - after he arrived he videotaped a small segment in which you could hear a very frustrated cat pacing back and forth outside the hut he was hiding in. A very scary ending to the show - and the kids were FREAKED OUT.
I had to reassure them that there were no jaguars here - those big cats like rainforest, and there is no rainforest near Illinois. I had just gotten them calmed down enough to sleep when Jacob remembered he had seen some big cats at the zoo nearby - and what if they escaped and hid in the woods near our house and GOBBLED THEM UP WHILE THEY WAITED FOR THE BUS????
And then, of course, I had a couple of panicked kids on my hands again.
And so, another lesson learned - if you are going to let the kids watch Survivorman before bed - make sure it's an episode you've already seen and know it will end well. And if the kids want to watch one of the scarier versions of the show? Make sure it is on a sunny afternoon so they don't go to bed scared.