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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Television is a great babysitter.

Why do people have such a problem with television as a babysitter? Do they think parents shouldn't use babysitters? Should we be around our children all the time, with no breaks? Sometimes you don't want to hire a flesh and blood babysitter. Besides, what sitter would come to your house for fifteen minutes while you took a shower? I know they don't have a problem with television, because we are the only people I know who don't have one. I think the problem lies in fooling yourself into thinking that television is educational. By the way, I'm not in the least bit interested in hearing how much your children have learned from this or that show or that you only watch PBS. I don't care what you watch, really. I think I have a new motto:

Television is for entertainment. Books are for education.

I find television very entertaining, too entertaining in fact, which is one of the reasons we don't have one. We can, however, watch movies and television shows on our computer. Nothing is more relaxing than climbing into bed, popping a DVD of Fantasy Island into the laptop and being swept away into the mad, mad world of Ricardo Montalban*. I do not derive any intellectual stimulation whatsoever from it, nor do I want to. And that's not a bad thing in my world. Since when is it so awful to just chill and do nothing for a little bit?

The other day, the wild and crazy Baby J was being so annoying that he wouldn't even let me to go to the damn bathroom by my damn self keeping me from my housewifely duties, like cooking, cleaning and writing poetry about my dear husband. I had an idea. I was desperate. I remembered that when the X-Man was around the same age, we had an Elmo DVD. I don't know where it came from and I don't care. You see, Baby J is obsessed with Elmo. As far as I know, it was love at first sight. He saw Elmo on one of the disposable diapers he wears for the drop-in nursery and demanded, over and over, "WHO ZAT?! WHO ZAT?! WHO ZAT?!" After he finally stopped to breathe and I told him who it was, he sang, over and over, "AHH-MO! AHH-MO! AHH-MO!" He's, like, seriously into Elmo, m'kay? So I searched desperately for the DVD and, miracle of all miracles, actually found it.

I put it into the laptop and sat back to watch Baby J in Elmo heaven. He danced to the annoying songs. He cried, "AH-MO!" every time the little red guy was on the screen. He even liked the creepy Mr. Noodle. In my humble opinion, Mr. Noodle is one of the most disturbing characters ever, starting with his name. The segment where Elmo tells Mr. Noodle how to get dressed is just not right. But Baby J loves it, so I love it.

I don't leave Baby J in front of Elmo for hours on end. In fact, he's never made it through the whole thing. Today was the second time I've used Elmo as a baby sitter and it only worked for ten minutes before Baby J came to tell me all about it. And show me the cute little dance he does to the Elmo song. I'm already wondering what other Sesame Street character might be a good sitter for my little Elmo freak.

He's such a freak about Elmo, by the way, that it horrifies him to see Elmo come to any harm. Before I remembered the DVD, I did a search for the little red guy on YouTube, hoping to appease Baby J's craving. This one seemed harmless enough. It was a video of the newer Tickle Me Elmo Times Ten (aka TMX), introduced in 2006. It's basically a cute little Elmo being tortured by extreme tickling. He falls down, begs for mercy and gets tickled again as soon as he rights himself. I think I know what to get my new nail technician for Christmas. Poor Baby J watched for about five seconds, cried and buried his head in my neck while clinging to me and sobbing, "NOOOO!!! AH-MO!!" uncontrollably. I am not exagerating, really. I won't be getting one for his birthday, but I might just have to check EBay for a less tortured, old-school Elmo.

Gotta' run. Baby J wants me to come snuggle and watch AH-MO!

Namasté, y'all!

* By the way, is it just me, or does the Polynesian Resort at Disney World remind everyone of Fantasy Island? I can't be the only one who kept waiting to be summoned to Ricardo Montalban's office. No wonder I love that place. I wish I could live there.

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