The Elmo Obsession
Okay, what the f–k is the deal with Elmo?
I’ve put on television before. Besides our mutual love of Lee Goldberg, she really has shown no interest in it. But then, a few weeks ago, I decided to put on Sesame Street. Within seconds I had a full-fledged addict on my hands. I used to have to drag her outside to get away from Wayne Sanchez. She became obsessed with his tail and he in turn, became obsessed with using his claws….on her. Now I have to leave because of that furry red thing. She’ll stand there pointing, begging for me to turn on the TV. She’ll whine, then wail, then flop on the floor kicking. I try to distract her with books, toys, even Wayne. Nothing works. Not only that, but now every word in her vocabulary is replaced with that annoying four letter one. She just learned “elbow.” I kept hoping she was just practicing that. But who points to a turned off TV, shrieks and flails because of a body part?
Now if this were a character created by Disney, I would absolutely insist there is some sort of creepy conspiracy. However, it’s PBS. Nevertheless, there are surely conspiracy theorists out there who think Elmo is programmed deep inside the US government to make our children, well, I don’t know. Something. Because this addiction is just downright weird.
I did some research. I wanted to know why it wasn’t Big Bird or Mr Snuffle-what’s-his name that kids flock to. Here is a good article someone wrote. Some key points: He is smaller and younger (translation: more relatable to tots) than the others. Because of his small stature, he doesn’t take up the whole screen like Big Bird does, thus leaving more room for him to interact with the others. He giggles more than his counterparts (babies like that). He uses repetition, which is a key learning tool for babies, and his jingle is easy to remember.
Problem is, I’m now kinda addicted to him too. Not because I like him. But because of what he gives me: time. I can get up in the morning, put on the four letter word, and read the paper. From cover to cover. The New York Times. At night, instead of fretting over her not eating enough, I turn on Channel 13 and her mouth stays wide open. I shove in as much food as possible and she doesn’t so much as glance at me. I say “chew and swallow.” She does, then opens her mouth again. Basically my sweet, animated baby becomes a robot.
I could really take this addiction and run with it. I could probably go grocery shopping and leave her with him. In other words, it’s highly possible to seriously stop being a mother and have Elmo take over. But that’s no fun either. And not why I had a baby.
I do need to figure out how to manage it all though. I don’t think she’s a candidate for A & E’s Intervention. Last night after dinner, she kept fussing for HIM. I said no, and gave her a book. She threw it across the room. I tried crayons. She broke them in half…with her teeth. I walked away to do the dishes. She came up and bit me on the back of the leg. At that point, I had had it. I marched upstairs and let her wail in her crib for a few minutes. Then began the bedtime routine, which went surprisingly smooth.
So now I’m looking to you guys for advice and insight. Do I ride this out for the next, oh, 3 years? Then have to switch to the next excruciating program? Does Fia have an addictive personality, where someday when she’s in drug rehab I’ll long for the simple Elmo addiction? Should I allow one hour in the morning and one hour at night (is that too many hours?) and hope she gradually accepts her lot in life, ie: that of a poor, deprived child? Maybe there is some sort of secret rehab you all send your toddlers to. If so, please let me in on it. I don’t want to snap and find myself hovering over my television with a butcher knife.
I await your wisdom.Add a Comment
Tags: addiction, addiction to television. toddler addiction, baby, Big Bird, characters, conspiracy, Disney, eat, eating, Elmo, Intervention, Lee Goldberg, New York Times, Sesame Street, Sesame Street characters, television, time, toddler, tv, tv addiction | Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Must Read