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.
- Smuckers grape jelly is just not as good as Welch's grape, and store brand low-fat peanut butter is just lumpy.