She Says… A Love Affair

Someday Owen is going to realize that most other kids get to watch more than 6 minutes of tv a day and don’t have to wear an inhaler mask when they do it. But for now, while I am still in control of the remote, that’s all he gets.

In the mornings we get up, I get Owen a sippy cup of milk, and almost immediately he is grabbing the remote and shouting “TV!” TV! Teeeee Veeeee! Mommy!”. Every morning my response is, “Oh! You want to watch TV? (Yup.) Only if we get to do a breathing treatment, ok? (Yup.) Can you say please? (Peees!) Let me get your medicine set up.” And he waits like a drug addict waiting for his fix, waving the remote in the air until I turn it on. Once it is on, he allows me to do the whole treatment with no fussing or pulling or twisting away. Hallelujah. That is totally worth a few minutes of tv time. No matter how many weeks and months we have done the same routine of ONLY watching tv for the 6-7 minutes it takes to give his daily preventative asthma treatment, he still insists on asking for it all day long.

With Owen, the key to being engaged in tv used to be music. When we were first trying to get him to stand the breathing treatments I used to turn on the tv and would have to sing on top of that in order to get him to sit still. Finally I realized if I could find a show with music, then I could rest my own voice. So we started watching a show called Sid the Science Kid. The pace is slow, the characters are cute, the topics are toddler-friendly and there are at least 3! songs! in every! show! That means one per asthma treatment in our house. A Disney singalong dvd is on our Christmas list in an effort to actually listen to music I appreciate too.

But recently there’s been another love affair blossoming. A love affair with Elmo.

Or, as Owen calls him, “Amo”. We’re not Italian, but the dual meaning of that pronunciation is not lost on me.

There is something magical about Elmo.

I can count on one hand the number of times that Owen has seen Elmo on tv. I put on Sesame Street a few times but generally it didn’t hold his interest; there were too many boring parts with no music! But as soon as that “dah dah dahdah, dah dah dadah” of Elmo’s World came on, Owen’s eyes glazed over like he was in a trance. “Aaaaaaaaahhhhmmmmoooooo” he croons.

He’s still bored by the rest of Sesame Street, so it’s not really a good option for us every morning, but we’ve taken to watching one Elmo video on the computer in the evenings after daycare. (One. Despite the sweet “Mo? Mo?” from Owen as soon as the video is over.).

WHAT is so special about Elmo and why do children fall head over heels in love at first sight? I’m trying to tame this love affair and not feed it with more tv time or stuffed animals or Elmo-themed crap. But I’m pretty sure that who/what Owen loves is beyond my control.


14 responses to “She Says… A Love Affair

  1. Seriously, I don’t know what it is about Elmo, but I have never seen anything more universal. My kids were INSTANTLY smitten with him from the moment they saw him, at a very similar age to Owen. He’s freaking toddler crack, and I don’t know why.

    Hey, at least Elmo’s sweet and kind and likes to teach nice things. Could be something awful like Spongebob. (UGH)

  2. Eli was smitten with Elmo for, like, a week. Then, he was all about Yo Gabba Gabba (dabbadabba in Eli-speak) for like a month. Just like you, I’d let him watch one video a day (streamed through Netflix on the Wii)… and he would spend the whole day bringing me the Wii remote.

  3. My kid likes Elmo, but she LOVES the Wiggles. I don’t get it. It’s just a bunch of grown ass men singing and dancing, but she acts like it’s the best thing ever. We don’t watch in the house, she only sees in the car, so I don’t see it, just hear it. Those songs are so freaking catchy, they get in mind in just a second.

  4. At least the dude that is the voice of Elmo is from Baltimore! Here’s the thing about Elmo … Lilly watched a lot of Elmo at Owen’s age. A LOT! She also had a HUGE vocabulary at that time and I swear it it was because of Elmo. She didn’t like Sesame Street either but the Elmo’s World DVD’s were her crack. She learned colors, letters, words, and even some larger lessons like compassion and friendship … swear to you. Chloe has never seen Elmo and her vocab is not so fantastic. Just a lot of grunts so far. I think it’s time to pull Elmo off the shelf and dust him off! There are far worse things that Owen could be in love with … like Barney … don’t get me started on him!!!!

  5. Seriously–Elmo has been around for years! I thought by now something would have replaced him, but he seems to outlast every other new character out there.

  6. I thought I would be more worried about TV and Cameron more than I am. I think it’s because he doesn’t really “care” about TV much at all! I went through a stage where I didn’t have it on at all while we were home together before going back to work, but eventually it got turned on (I blame the husband who simply cannot handle not having it on – I personally don’t care to watch much at all). Maybe it’s because he’s used to have it on now that it’s not something he’s “wow’d” by, but he’s not excited by it at all. Couldn’t care less. I used to let him watch Backyardigans in the mornings while I needed him distracted so I could get my breakfast and get ready for work etc., but he doesn’t care one way or another and now normally the husband has sportsdesk on while I’m getting ready upstairs and they are downstairs having breakfast and playing. It could all change at the drop of a hat though. If I got any indication that he was actually watching it and getting too involved in it, I’d put the smack down pretty quick, but right now I think he’s used to it being on and it’s no big deal.

  7. Ethan is 3 and still loves Elmo. I gotta say, as so many others have already said here, there are DEFINITELY worse things he could be watching, and worse characters on whom he could be fixating! And I do believe that Elmo has taught him quite a bit — he repeats and mimics the things Elmo says about brushing his teeth, washing his hands, and playing with a baby. I honestly can’y say anything too bad about that little red dude — except that his voice is so darn grating I sometimes want to pull out my hair! 🙂 (P.S. There’s an episode of Sid the Science Kid where they sing a bunch of songs in a row — it’s like a recap of the “season.” I bet Owen would love it! We went through a little Sid phase and that episode was Ethan’s fave!)

  8. My nearly-5-year-old used to love Elmo when he was 2ish and now can’t stand him. He won’t really watch Sesame Street at all because it’s mostly Elmo (or at least almost the whole second half of the show). I am not a fan so I am glad to see Elmo fade into the background! Now, if we could only get away from SpongeBob…

  9. Just wondering if your daycare lets the kids watch a movie/show? That would mean that he was getting more than the 6-7 minutes you think he’s getting! Just a thought.

  10. I think it’s something about Elmo’s voice. My son is 14 months and visually impaired, so he watches zero TV but LOVES when I play songs with Elmo singing. We bought him an Elmo doll and he couldn’t care less, but that voice. Oh that voice. He’s in love.

  11. Elle loves Elmo, too. If she sees the tiniest picture of him, she starts cheering “Elmo!” I guess there are worse things for her to be obsessed with at this age. She doesn’t watch a ton of Sesame Street, but he is definitely the character she recognized first and most often (followed by “Big Burr” and Oscar). She was even “Elle-mo” for Halloween 🙂

  12. Who doesn’t love Elmo? I think it’s one part adorable voice, one part snuggly red fur, and part talking in 3rd person (just like a lot of toddlers!). And really, you don’t need to justify or feel bad about watching one Elmo a day – its really not that much 🙂 Kudos to you guys for not turning on more though! Sometimes a half hour of Dora the Explorer is the only way dinner gets made in our house.

  13. My little girl absolutely lovesssss Elmo! She hears his voice or sees his face she’s in love! I for one can’t stand him but during the most worst of days he cheers her right up, when all else fails. You know I figure the love affair w/ Elmo is because 1) he’s a bright red 2) he’s goggly eyed 3) has a squeaky voice 4) he gets lots of air time and songs. Feel so sorry for the other muppets on Sesame Street lol

  14. Ditto on the Wiggles. The episodes are only about 10 minutes long and they are like the Beetles for toddlers. It is fascinating to watch them, but the more I learn about them, I respect what they do…I think most or all of them were musicians first and 2 of them were early childhood education majors so a lot of educational principals went/go into their shows and songs. Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train were the first shows we let Emmy watch, too. These days she loves the Wiggles. Veggie Tales (also lots of singing) and sometimes Sesame Street. You’re right, I don’t know what it is about Elmo!

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