My son watches TV. There I said it. He requests specific shows, he knows the characters, and he can recognize different channels. Do I use the TV as a babysitter? Absolutely not. But sometimes he just wants to sit down with his graham crackers and watch monkeys sing or ride bikes. And I’ll be perfectly honest, sometimes I just need 20 minutes to work on dinner without a short person under my feet. Junior’s interest pretty much lies with two channels: Disney Jr. and Sprout. Naturally I’ve gotten to know the shows pretty well and have formed some opinions. Here are the top four in our house:
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: We dig this one, all of us. This show has the coolest catch phrases and songs. Sometimes I hear Junior yelling “oh toooooodles” from his crib in the morning. I guess he likes to start his day knowing what his Mousketool options are. And don’t get me started on the Hot Dog Dance. I’ll literally drop what I’m doing in the kitchen to do the Hot Dog Dance, much to Junior’s dismay. Most of the time he looks at me with an annoyed expression and says “stop it mommy!” If he’s embarrassed by me at 23 months I can’t imagine what his middle school years will be like.
The Wiggles: On those rare mornings when there are a few minutes for TV time, The Wiggles are always requested. I can’t figure this one out. I don’t mind it, but I don’t really get it. Many years ago four normal guys decided to get together and form a group. Not a rock band type group. Or a sports team type group. But a group of guys that dress up in outfits eerily reminiscent of the Star Trek uniforms, and sing and dance and role play for toddlers. Junior loves their antics, but I’m perplexed by the back story.
Caillou: Where do I begin? Caillou’s voice is like a kid version of Fran Drescher on The Nanny. Like Janice on Friends (you know, Chandler’s old girlfriend that always popped up in random episodes). Like fingernails on a chalk board. And what’s up with that name? I’ve never Googled Caillou to see if the origins are documented, but I gotta think there’s something behind it. His sister’s name is Rosie. How do you name one of your cartoon children Rosie (normal) and your other cartoon child Caillou (not normal)? And why does his dad always dress like it’s Christmas time? I’m also not sure Caillou is teaching kids about real life. In a recent episode Caillou broke his mom’s FAVORITE coffee mug, the one GRAMMA made for her. Remember, this was mom’s FAVORITE mug. And when it shattered into a billion animated pieces, Caillou’s mom just laughed and said, “Oh it was an accident Caillou. Let’s go get ice cream” or something ridiculous like that. In real life moms at least frown or sigh or groan if their favorite coffee mug breaks.
Thomas the Train: Thomas is the main man in our house. All little boys love trains at some point in their lives and this is Junior’s time. We have tracks and train cars and toothpaste and toothbrushes, all Thomas themed. I think the opening song is catchy, mainly because the word “cheeky” is used. Very British. And the characters refer to each other as being “cross” instead of mad or frustrated. I get a kick out of that. If my little munchkin isn’t doing a good job brushing his teeth before bed, I put the Thomas toothbrush to my ear and pretend Thomas is whispering to me, saying that he really wants to go inside the tunnel (junior’s mouth) and scrub the toofies. Ridiculous, but it works. Thomas is alright with me.
Are the Smurfs out there anymore? Tom and Jerry? My son will most definitely need to experience the joy of seeing a cartoon cat get hit on the head with a cast iron skillet. Classic fun.