Click on link before continuing on with this blog. Watch, wonder, and then read on. I’ll wait.
I love this furry little shit. Elmo’s compassion, talent and fearlessness astounds me, not to mention his uncanny ability to keep toddlers riveted to his awesomeness whether he’s tap dancing, rapping or just chillin’ with his peeps on the street. Elmo’s got game, and yes, before you start worrying about my sanity, I do realize that Elmo is a puppet. And I knew it before I saw this.
When Spawn was a tot, he suffered from chronic ear infections, croup and a craving for the boob tube that provided me with excellent fodder for motivation/consequences. Screw “1,2,3 Magic,” my toddler responded to Start/Stop Elmo’s World and although I can’t prove it, I think Elmo’s furry goodness was a more effective analgesic than anything I used to treat my achy little phlegm-boy.
In the days pre-DVR when technophobes like me were still struggling with the transition to DVD’s, an Elmo’s World VHS tape from the beginning previews to closing credits gave me 55 glorious extra minutes of sleep on weekend mornings. As a working mom suffering from guilt and delusions of being a flawless parent , the length and content of the Elmo’s World videos was perfectly acceptable example of television that I could justify even allowing my child to watch while still being perfectly perfect.
I can tell you that the fantasy bubble of out of touch/inexperienced/rookie parent burst pretty hard over the land of OHMYGOD I can’t stop throwing up and can barely stay awake because I’m stressed out, exhausted and knocked up again when my son was 3. 11 years later, I’ve learned to embrace the idiot box of cheap child care as a member of our family. Now I have the occasional twinge of guilt on the days when I’m sure that my kids are watching too much television because they are bored or I’m just too busy or I’ll be honest, too LAZY or not in the mood to interact with them. I know what and how much television they are watching. I’ve learned to accept that the days of snuggling with strictly educational and innocent programming are over around here AND I realize this was a choice that I made as a parent. Most days I’m not sure if the twinge I feel is guilt or acid indigestion over the 100 other things that create feelings of stress and guilt in my life as I try to raise my kids.
But here’s the thing, I keep wondering if the creators of children’s television programs realize that Dora doesn’t have to yell everything and that Calliou is a complete asshole whiner whose behavior irritates as opposed to educates. Do they realize the absence of Max and Ruby’s parents is preventing their non-verbal and oppositional bunny son and bossy, stressed out bunny daughter from receiving the attention and therapy they so desperately need? Another thing, I’m telling you right now that I would pay – CASH - to ask the creators of Yo Gabba Gabba what kind of awesome weed they were smoking when they imagined the joy that a gigantic, nubby dildo-like creature because that kind of holy shit bizarre hilarity could only be the result of mind altering influence. Good advice on the not biting your friends bit though. That catchy tune has saved more than one of MY friends from getting bit. I think about this when I'm not watching T.V.
Despite my complaining, I’m fascinated by the vast variety of children’s programming and I’m grateful that my kids have learned much and felt comforted and loved by familiar characters. I love the magnificent, amazingly affordable babysitting that the idiot box provides, along with the wonderful, warm memories of my own childhood where I spent magical time in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood where I was captivated by the characters and reminded that I was special.
My point? Well, as a family negatively affected by a terrible economy, unable to afford many activities outside the home AND living in the Midwest where the cold weather forces us indoors for months at a time, I’ll keep mistaking my guilty twinges for gas bubbles stuck in my descending colon. And when I can’t, these buzz kill realities will be offset by my continuous grateful and loving feelings toward the multi-dimensional miracle babysitter/entertainer/educator/distraction/familiar friend, the television.
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