Posts Tagged ‘sesame street’

sunny days

Sesame Street starts its 38th season this week. Like most things that I enjoyed in my youth, it’s just not the same anymore. You know what I mean. Chips Ahoy cookies are half the size they used to be. Archie and Veronica look like something out of a Hollister catalog. Playgrounds put too much emphasis on safety and not enough on fun. And Sesame Street just isn’t the way I remembered it. I blame it all on the death of Mr. Hooper. Oh, and the need to constantly update things to keep up with the times. Don’t you people know that everything was perfect in my childhood and the reason today’s kids are so whiny and emo and passive is because you took all the sharp corners and edges out of life and made them soft and rounded?

Tangent. Sorry.

Let’s harken back to the days of yore.

I just like saying that. Let’s make a list. Hell, most of the stuff on this list is from when my kids were little. Not me.

My favorite Sesame Street memories:

1. The ten song

2. The 12 pinball song

3. Put Down the Ducky

4. Super Grover

5. Letter B

6. A loaf of bread, a container of milk, a stick of butter
7. I Love Trash
8. Grover the Waiter
9. C is for Cookie
10. Any Ernie and Bert skit

There are so many others that would have made the list (or made the list longer) but I’m out of time. Like, If Moon Were Cookie, or Doing the Pigeon or Teeny Little Super Guy.

Also, it’s ERNIE AND BERT. Not Bert and Ernie.

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my kid is video smarter than your kid

So it turns out that sitting your kid in front of the tv and throwing in some “educational” videos does not, in fact, make your kid any smarter.

Well, smack me with a brick and call me Henry. Who knew?

Seriously. Anyone who says they are educating their babies with videotapes is lying to themselves. There’s only one reason we stick our babies in front of the television and that’s to give ourselves a few minutes peace. Or even an hour’s worth. That the videos might throw a few lessons at the kids or attempt to teach them words or manners or how to go pee-pee on the potty is just icing on the cake; it’s a way to justify in our minds the fact that we just want to stop being mommy for a little bit. Maybe we want to read a few pages of a book that doesn’t have chapters like “What to do when your child is projectile vomiting like Linda Blair.”

Is it so wrong to want a little break? No, it’s not. So don’t lie to yourself or anyone else and say that you are smartening up you kid just because the video has “Einstein” in the title. Face it, if all you had in the house was an old VHS tape of the Knots Landing finale, you’d put it on if it distracted him long enough. “Look, junior! Those are called shoulder pads. Can you say 80’s?” And then he’d be so mesmerized by Donna Mills’s cobalt blue eye shadow that you could run and take your first hot shower in three days. Nothing wrong with that ladies.

My kids are teenagers and I don’t have the need to dump them in front of the tv anymore. They leave me alone on their own accord; it’s the ying and yang of parenting – when they’re little, you want them to leave you be for a few minutes and when they’re older you lament that they don’t want to spend any time with you. But I do remember those days clearly. Wanting just a half hour to sit on the couch with my feet up and my mind closed. I used to have a collection of video tapes called Baby Songs. My daughter loved them. I think. I still remember one particular song from that series: The Mommy Comes Back song.

Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She always comes back to get me
Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She never would forget me

I sang this to my daughter as a toddler, when I went guiltily back to work. I cried each time I sang it. I don’t remember if I cried because I was so sorry to leave her for a few hours or if I was so damn happy to be getting out of the house to converse with adults again.

I do remember thinking a terrible thought one day while singing the Mommy song. What if mommy didn’t come back? What if mommy met with a runaway car, a falling tree, a fired employee gone postal? My daughter would grow up thinking I was a liar. A dead liar. She would be in therapy for years, working out her negative feelings toward her long deceased mommy. Mommy, who never came back.

Which made me think about all the other lies and misconceptions that were wound on those VHS tapes. Well, no honey. Trains don’t really talk. No one lives in your garbage can. There’s no such place called Sillyville. Yes, I know I led you to believe that it was really Mickey and not some desperate-for-money college student that danced with you on your fourth birthday. But hey, mommy came back, right? That much was true.

Oh well, at least I got to take a shower once in a while. And I swear to you that my daughter learned to count by watching Sesame Street. Though, she can only count to 12 if you give her a funky beat.

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Before, during, after. We’re not quite done yet, and I’ll have some better before/after pictures later in the week. And that ugly ass couch is going very soon.

When I woke up this morning and walked into the living room, I was almost surprised. This is not what I’m used to walking into every day. It’s so different. So…nice.

My daughter remarked the other day that our house has finally become a home. That’s not just cosmetic. It’s a lot of things in the mix that made her say that. But that’s for another day. Right now I just want to sit back and enjoy what we’ve done without thinking of the emotional ramifications of tearing down your old life and building a new one.

The best part about all this renovation (and forthcoming renovations) is that we have done 98% of the work ourselves. We only called in a professional twice – for the carpet installation and for some heavy duty spackling work that had to be done when we ripped the ceiling molding down. Everything so far, both inside and outside the house, was done with our own hands. The sense of satisfaction from that is a beautiful thing. Our Home Depot bill, not so much.

Another new addition to our home is my sister and her baby. Well, not really new. She has always lived upstairs (we bought this house together three years ago), but she has been staying at my parents house since her husband died in April. She finally came back home this week.

It’s great to have my nephew upstairs. He’s 16 months old. Kids are pretty entertaining at that age. The best part is, I can go up and play with him then bail out when he gets cranky.

Yesterday, he was watching some weird show. Wonder Pets. What the hell? When did kids programs get so creepy? Classroom pets that suddenly take on human traits when everyone leaves the school. On the episode I watched, they were rescuing a chimpanzee who was lost in space. Hello? How many classrooms keep a chimpanzee? And how far into space can you travel inside a school? Am I reading too much into this? Did you know I have a weird hang up about anthropomorphism?

There’s something really bizarre about the way this show is animated. They use real pictures of animals, not cartoons. And everything is done in song, like a freaky opera performed by strange woodland creatures who suffer from delusions of grandeur. It feels more like an Adult Swim program than a children’s show. Between that and Lazy Town and I have to wonder what the hell happened to all the good stuff? Don’t kids watch Sesame Street anymore? Whatever happened to simplicity? Counting to ten? Where is the love for Super Grover??

Sure, my kids grew up on Barney. But looking back, being forced to watch the purple dino wasn’t so bad compared to the shit parents have to look at today. Have you seen Lazy Town? It’s like watching someone else’s acid trip. “Hey kids, look at this! This is what life looks like when you take ten hits of mescaline and drink a bottle of Boones Farm wine!” Eh, maybe it’s a good life lesson (did I ever tell you my mescaline story? do you want to read it?).

Maybe there’s too many choices for kids out there. Too many channels devoted to mesmerizing your child all day long. Too many shows dedicated to teaching your children how to be consumer whores. Love the show? Buy the cereal! Buy the figures! See the movie! Wear the pajamas! Eat the ice pops! Guzzle the beer!

Wait. That’s not a half bad idea. So many parents get wrapped up in what their kids love (I did see a minivan festooned with dozens of I Heart Harry Potter stickers the other day) that they buy these products more for themselves than the kids (no, I am not pointing the finger AWAY from myself here. Remind me to tell you the Power Rangers story. Really, remind me) that marketing beer with beloved children’s characters would be all kinds of awesome. Jimmy Neutron 40 oz malt liquor! Dora the Explorer Tequila!

I came a long way from talking about what we’ve done to our living room. How did I get here? How much coffee have I had today?

Too much, is always the answer.

I think I need a Hannah Montana Wine Cooler (five awesome flavors!) to relax.

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