Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can you tell me how to get, to get to Sesame Street?

A new season of Sesame Street started this week. This is very exciting in my house, especially for my son, who is 100% in love with "Sessee." The first thing out of his mouth in the morning is "Big Bird?" and he can spot a likeness of Elmo from at least a 1/2-mile away. When he walks past a black, turned-off TV set, he stops and tilts his head to the side, and says "Ernie? Bert?" as if they live inside that box, and they've just been waiting all day for him to come and play. When the show is on, Hayden sits rapt, eyes glazed, lower lip slightly drooped --- and now he even mouths along trying to copy what the characters are speaking or saying. I never imagined a 2-year-old could have this kind of attention span; he will sit for 2 hours straight watching Sesame, if we let him (which I try to avoid, of course). Recently we discovered the 1985 movie, Follow That Bird, and "Follow Big Bird!" has become the rallying cry when it's time to take a car ride. He sits staring out the window, looking for Big Bird and occasionally asking, "Where Big Birg go?"

There are many reasons, I know, for not allowing my toddler to watch TV at all, and I should be concerned about my toddler's love of a television program. However, I know that he's picking up good things from Sesame: He can count to 14 on his own, he can sing the ABC song, he understands a few Spanish words, he knows that "cookies are a sometimes food." I'm impressed with Hayden's loyalty and all-out affection for these characters, too. In his mind, Elmo, Ernie, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster are his friends, and he loves them. What's wrong with that?

Truth be told, I too love Sesame Street. This season marks the 38th (show premiered in November 1969), and I have very fond memories of singing along with Grover and Big Bird and Oscar as a child. How awesome that I can share these same characters, songs, and silly phrases with my own son? The show offers occasional chuckles for grown-ups, too: spoofs on popular prime time shows like "Law and Order," "American Idol," and "24"; subtle social commentaries with one-time characters like Donald Grump, the trashiest grouch in the world; and characters with punny names, such as Dr. Feel (Dr. Phil), Polly Darton (Dolly Parton), and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle.

I appreciate the positive messages this show communicates -- to kids and adults alike: Be kind to others. Accept people for who they are because we're all different, and we're all special. Celebrate your own uniqueness. Embrace and learn from cultures other than your own. Play every day. Read as often as possible because books take you anywhere you want to go. Sing when the mood strikes. These are all that I want my son to embrace.

While rejoicing over new episodes the other day (thank you, CTW!), I started thinking the other day about the words to the theme song -- "Come and play, everything's A-OK./Friendly neighbors, yeah, that's where we meet" -- and I started to wonder, how do you get to Sesame Street? And are there any available apartments? Because I really would love to live there. Think about it: Playful furry animals and friendly monsters to visit, sunshine every day, celebrities stopping by to sing and dance each week, kids playing in the street because there's no traffic or noise whatsoever, grown-ups who own fix-it stores and small grocery markets and meet outside to sing about the alphabet and the weather. It's utopia.

At least we get to visit from time to time through the magic of television.

Funny things that happened today:
  • The cat is snoring.
  • A Canada goose walked right up to Hayden at the park and said "Honk!" and kept on walking. It cracked us both up.
Something I learned today:
  • Smuckers grape jelly is just not as good as Welch's grape, and store brand low-fat peanut butter is just lumpy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bloggin' A, here I am

So here I am. Blogging. On the blogosphere. I blog. Does anyone else have a problem with this word? I realize I'm like 3 years behind the trend, because that's usually how long it takes me to jump into any new techno-thingy; I'm usually just getting started when everyone else has very much moved on. I s'pose I'm old-school. (And someday, remind me to return to the point raised on page 4 of the Britannica article linked above, about whether blogging will replace traditional forms of media. God, I hope not!)

But I've put off jumping on the blogwagon because, frankly, the word blog is just ugly and I don't really like it. However, I was thinking about it today -- I often think about words; it's my job, really -- and it's starting to grow on me. In fact, it's starting to crack me up. For instance, when I told my husband, Chris, that I was going to start blogging, without missing a beat, he said "oh, you're full of blog, all right." It's starting to remind me of another ugly word that has become a People's Choice award winner: The Big F. Someone once told me you can use the Big F as any part of speech (though I haven't thought that through too carefully...I'll let you know if I ever do.) But it made me wonder, Can we use the word blog as all parts of speech? Maybe not, but I can think of a lot of ways to use it that will continue to crack me up: I'm going to blog that tomorrow (I personally love verbing nouns); That's blogalicious; He's a blogophile.

There's another reason, too, that it's taken me a while to get my bloggy on. Does anyone really care about what I have to say? Probably not. And for someone like me, who talks to anyone in the listening area, that's a tough truth to admit. After all, my life is not so thrilling that I have amazingly creative or inciteful things to say. I'm a wife, a mom, a book editor, a friend, a church deacon. I swap zucchini recipes with the women in my neighborhood, and I take my son to the playground to dig in the sand. A big night out for me lately is my book club, which meets at a different house every month, but always within 3 blocks of my home. (These are fabulously fun, smart, women, by the way, and I'm sure I will blog about book club from time to time; we're currently reading The Quickie by James Patterson.) I spend most Sunday afternoons pulling weeds out of my (pitiful) flower garden or mopping the floors in my house. This is not exciting, folks. But it's life, and I bet the majority of people in the world are living this same kind of suburban stupor. So maybe the interest in my blog lies in the fact that there's commonality among us; maybe someone will stumble on my words one day and think, "hey, I can relate to this woman!" But really, it doesn't matter if anyone ever reads this. I'm hoping it'll be fun to just spew my thoughts onto a page, albeit an electronic one.

And maybe blogging will get me back into the habit of writing on a regular basis. I'm embarrassed that my younger brother and sister have both beat me to Blogsville. I'm supposed to be the writer in the family, people! But they're both really good bloggers -- interesting, funny, thought-provoking -- so I'll take some notes on their style, and hope to do the family proud. If you're curious, my sister's blog can be found at Life in a Mello World, and my brother is at Nate Mello dot com. My siblings are amazing, and I'm so proud of them. They're the people who have seen me at my best and at my worst -- and they still love me. I am a very fortunate girl, for many reasons, but most of all because I'm surrounded by love. (But I like to think that I give love pretty willingly as well. You reap what you sow, after all.)

So read on, blogophiles. Here I am, blogocizing, bloggerating, blogginating, gettin' bloggy wit' it...ok, now I'm also showing my age...and my dorkiness...