Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Elmo Is Ruining My Baby.

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Innocent Mischief Maker

There a few hot-button parenting issues that are quite polarizing.  Amongst them is tv-watching.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum, as is often the case, someone is judging you.  If you let your kids watch absolutely zero tv, the tv-watchers think you are too strict.  If you let your kids watch a moderate amount of tv, the anti-tv-watchers think you’re lazy.

When our kids were/are babies, we had/have a zero television policy, including even having the tv turned on in front of them.  This is partly due to the crazy things that can be found on tv at anytime of day and partly due to no reason at all besides that is what feels right for us.  As our kids grow older, we are of the occasional and moderate approach to tv-watching.  AJS gets to watch tv sometimes, typically a couple of times a week, but weeks go by with no tv at all.  When she does watch, it’s generally less than thirty minutes.  Of course, we have practical exceptions to this.  When we’re visiting family, etc., we let her cut loose.  As for CCS, until recently, she never even was aware that tv existed.  We only let AJS watch when Claire is asleep, and as previously mentioned, we do not watch tv around the kids. 

Then car trips entered the picture.  Claire is massively unhappy sitting in her car seat for long periods of time.  It’s partly the age – 18 months to 2 years was the roughest time for AJS in the car, too.  But it’s also partly Claire’s personality.  She’s not much of a “sit and be content” type of baby.  Over Christmas, I bought a DVD of Sesame Street characters singing kid songs, conducted by their fearless leader, Elmo.  She mainly ignored it.  But, we’ve been racking up the car trips lately, and she’s started watching it.  So that was step one of her Elmo indoctrination.  Then, in the same vein of restlessness, she was recently pitching somewhat of a baby fit at a restaurant, and I pulled up Elmo singing a song on YouTube on my phone. 

Now she is obsessed.  Every morning this week she has pulled herself on to my bed and stared at the tv chanting “Elmo” in a creepy, low voice.  I literally keep my phone stowed at all times because, if she even glimpses it, she chants “Elmo” until I fork it over or refuse and make her cry.  One night this week, we went out to dinner with a neighbor at a later-than-usual time for Claire.  At that point, I was not fully aware of the obsession and unwittingly fanned the flames by showing her Elmo to get through the last part of dinner.  Epic mistake.  She then stared intently at me and said “Elmo” each time I dared to catch her eye.  Strangers would come up to our table to say “hi” to Claire, and she would look at them and say “Elmo” in the aforementioned low, creepy voice.  Ever since, we have been on a strict “no Elmo” regime at our house.  It’s a cleanse of sorts.

I’m not quite sure what it is about Elmo, but Claire is hooked.  This morning, after I refused a myriad of requests for the monster in red, she only selected Sesame Street books from her basket and sternly said “Elmo” each time he appeared on a page, a not-so-subtle chiding and reminder to me of what was on her mind.  As if I was not aware.  I have learned two lessons from this Elmo obsession.  One, I had no idea how powerful tv is.  It seems like she went from being completely oblivious to tv to an addict overnight.  You may blame me, but I blame Elmo.  Second, I am fearful of what is to come from Claire.  Don’t let the fuzzy hair and innocent face fool you.  When that girl wants something, look out. 

So if you see us out and about and Claire calls you “Elmo,” don’t be weirded out.  Although, come to think of it, it’s pretty weird.

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Written by tortsandtots

March 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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