Letting Elmo into Our World

by Amy

www.tabletmag.com

I’m sure it’s normal, but recently I’ve been wondering about my parenting ability. It’s probably because I’m doing the SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) thing, and like any other “job” it has its ups and downs. Only this one is way more emotional, and you can’t take a mental health day.

I constantly wonder:

Is he getting spoiled? Will he outgrow this obsession with elevators? Will he eat fruits and vegetable that don’t come in a squeezy pack again? Will he ever sit still? 

As for the last question. The solution, it seems, is Elmo.

We were those parents – and waited to introduce DVDs until our son was past two. Now, it’s a wonderful break for all of us, and frankly the only thing that keeps him focused for more than 30 seconds.

His favorite program is Elmo’s World. (Though, I have made my folks promise not to buy any talking, laughing, dancing, tickling or otherwise extremely loud and annoying Elmos.)

True – he’s learning about babies, dogs, and the farm! But really, what is the appeal of Elmo? Why do toddlers just love the little red creature? And what is up with that creepy Mr. Noodle character?

I found this article about Judy Freudberg, the show’s creator and writer, to be insightful. Freudberg was one of many creative minds we lost in 2012.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Arnebya

That article made me smile. To do something you love for that long has got to be rewarding. I had no idea about the movies she co-wrote. As for waiting until well after two to introduce tv, we did the same with out oldest. By #3 though, um, no. He could not only operate the remote correctly by one, but he can manipulate the mouse, computer, and any electronic gadget introduced to him expertly at 3. I’ve stopped beating myself up about it. We still limit use.

I remember thinking that having Elmo’s World at the end of the show had to have been a strategic decision; I’m glad my perception was validated. I figure it’s Elmo’s size, color, and voice of course (mainly his laugh?) that holds toddlers’ attention. Poor Mr. Noodle. I used to think he was a weirdo too but now I just see him as silly. Silly and engaging and the kids love that he is a male version of Amelia Bedelia (even if none of them know what that means.)

Reply

Amy

I never thought of Mr. Noodle like poor Amelia Bedelia! That’s a great analogy. Still, he is a little, odd!

I do hear that the second (and third) child experience most things like tv and candy sooner, and that parents learn to chill out about the expectations we place on ourselves.

Amy

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Kristen

Mr Noodle is strange – and my son doesn’t really know what to make of him. I find him kind of scary because, simply, he’s a mime/clown. Not a fan of those, though I do recognize the “art” behind it.
Yes, with the second child you just realize that efforts and energy need to be strategically used, and sometimes things you thought were so important the first time around don’t seem as important the second time around (probably because they really weren’t in the bigger picture). In the end, as long as we are guiding our children in the right direction and loving them completely, we’re doing a good job! (Did you see the articles in the Washington Post Magazine a few weekends ago about parenting? Interesting topics and views.)

Reply

Amy

What is it about clowns and mimes!

It is hard to keep the big picture in mind with parenting. The sleep stuff, the bottle weaning (or not), the tantrums….

Have not seen those articles, but will check them out. Thanks!

Amy

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