Saturday, November 28, 2009

To my loving husband on this Thanksgiving weekend...

Nanny Nanny Boo Boo! Two years in a row!

For those of you who thought this would be one of those gushing posts about how much more fantastic my husband is than yours, you are missing two key pieces of information:
1) That's just not my style, and never has been. You must be new here. Welcome.
2) My husband is a Sun Devil, and I'm a wildcat. This is the weekend we taunt and ridicule each other until my throat is sore.

It's okay honey, I still love you, even if you went to an inferior school academically, and well now it's proven--athletically. Sorry about your luck.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Famous last words, right?
Well, chalk another one in the parenting book up to "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Today, I decided to buy Sam some Pampers diapers instead of Luvs, because I had a coupon. For the record, I hate Huggies, and I think it translates to "cleaning up pee for hours" or something like it in Klingon. We buy Luvs because they're cheaper than Pampers but I figured with a coupon, I'll try the other "best" brand and just see if they're better. Luvs work great, but they do smell disgusting and chemical--I'm immune to it now, but it took months for my nostrils to adjust.

It wasn't until after the Pampers were in our cart that I realized they had an Elmo on the box, and remembered that Pampers diapers have Sesame Street characters on them. When I asked Sam if she wanted to wear Elmo diapers, to say she was excited was an understatement. The kid was stoked. She loves her some Elmo, but you already knew that from last week.

I thought her excitement about the new diapers was a plus--silly Mommy!
She was so happy about her Elmo diapers, that we opened the box right away to look at them, even though we still have some Luvs left. Since her diaper was wet, I figured she could have one right then and there.

What I did not count on was Sam spending the entire day obsessed with trying to look at her diaper's artwork--which is of course, unfortunately placed. She didn't want to wear pants to cover them up (luckily we were home in the evening and her clothes got dirty at the park, so I didn't care about an afternoon in diapers). Once she figured out there was a teeny Abby Cadabby on her backside, she nearly made herself dizzy trying to check out her own tush. After I asked her to stop yanking on her diaper while it was on, she tried to take the diaper off to get a closer look (apparently the tabs covered Big Bird). That met with major Mommy resistance, so she settled for finding a stash of clean diapers, and taking out every last one to carry them around. Finally, the topper came when Daddy came home and Sam greeted him by pointing at her crotch and yelling "Daddy!!!! Cookie!" to proudly display her Cookie Monster.

It would seem that one lousy coupon has opened a box of worms I rather regret. Not to mention, it's going to be a bloodbath when I have to switch her back to the cheap diapers after this box is gone. She doesn't give a flying fig about Blue's Clues, and she won't give up her Elmos without a fight.

Thank you very much, diaper-character marketing guys, you're absolute geniuses. You've turned my toddler into a weapon of brand-power. Now back away from our house slowly--I'm a Republican, so you know I've got weapons too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Proud to be a Street kid

On Tuesday, Sesame Street will officially turn 40. According to the AP, Tuesday's episode will be the 4187th time "Sunny days" will be "Sweepin' the clouds away." Yeah, right. I think we hit 4,187 times hearing that theme song on our last road trip. They must mean "officially."
Now, 40 years after Jim Henson's "good idea" that TV could be used to educate and entertain became a reality, Sesame Street is shown in 140 countries worldwide. According to CBS Sunday Morning, that makes it "the longest street in the world," made even more remarkable by the fact that each country's version of the Street (or Plaza, or Takalani, etc), is not an English translation of the American show. Each country has individual characters and plots, and is aimed toward the needs of preschool children in that country--which is why a muppet on the South African version of Sesame Street is HIV positive, like a large percentage of the children there. Plus, of course, it's all put on by Sesame Workshop, which is nonprofit. As if I needed another reason to love Sesame Street.
So, while the media, and world, and even almighty Google pay homage to the home of Big Bird, Telly Monster, Grover, and company, I must admit that it's just not enough. I would be an ungrateful fan indeed, if I didn't take a moment to explain what Sesame Street means to me.
Like many children, I was raised on the Street called Sesame. Unlike many children, however, I probably had exposure to Bert, Ernie, and the gang for a longer period than my preschool years. My brother is nearly 5 years younger than me, and my sister nearly 12, making me one of the few teenagers in my school who knew about Elmo's daily happenings. Just as one of us grew out of it, another child was just discovering the secret zen of Oscar the Grouch. Heck, I logged a lot of babysitting hours, and was more than happy to let Zoe (my sister's favorite Muppet) share the load from time to time. A lot of what happened on Sesame Street has stayed with me over the years. Even though he died about a month before I was even born--thanks to reruns, I can't even talk about Mr. Hooper without getting choked up. You really have to hand it to Sesame Street for being willing to tackle head on an issue like death in a way that preschool children could understand. The fact that they pulled it off so well is nothing short of a miracle.
Although my rhythm is questionable, and I've got a lot more to move these days, I can still "Do the Pigeon" and "The Batty Bat." Thanks to my repeated viewings in my early years, my mother involuntarily shudders if anyone mentions the words "Follow that Bird."
Today, I'm proud to say that I'm raising a Street kid. Sam loves watching Sesame Street every day, and can name all the characters (except The Count, who is named only by a loud "Ah Ah AH!"). There's no way she would know all her letters by now if it wasn't for us singing the many many alphabet songs I learned on Sesame Street, and loudly sounding out the letter of the day along with the TV. One day, as we headed home from somewhere to "go watch Sesame Street," some nosy parent chimed in with "I never watched Sesame Street, and I don't let my kids watch TV either."
I don't know any other way to say this, but you were deprived. And your kids are deprived. Sesame Street is fan-freakin-tastic.
Part of what makes it so great, is that while it's educational, it throws in laughs for adults who are inevitably stuck watching episode after episode of their kids favorite shows. I know I get more laughs than Sam out of "Law and Order: Special Letters Unit" trying to find a missing M, or "Meal or No Meal," when the banker (Cookie Monster) tries to get contestants to trade a healthy balanced meal for varying amounts of cookies. In all reality, I doubt Sam really knows or cares who Jamie Foxx is, his appearance is all for me. I'll take that over Dora any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
So I'm grateful for Sesame Street. When it comes to educational programming, the original is still the best. In fact, my devotion to Sesame Street is so deep, that we decided to combine Sam's abiding love for Elmo with my excitement over the 40th anniversary this Halloween. Here we are at a trunk-or-treat with the scenery we made, Daniel as Bert, me as Ernie, and Sam as Elmo. We also piped classic Sesame Street songs from the windows of our car (and house on Halloween). Because we're just that proud to be a part of the magic that is Sesame Street.
Happy Birthday, Sesame Street! We love you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's all hope she's smarter than she looks...

Sam has officially decided that I am in fact, an idiot.

Although I'm not surprised that a daughter would turn on her mother like that, I must admit, I thought I had at least a decade before the whole "my parents are stupid" thing came to pass. Boy, was I wrong. Eighteen months, and she's just done with me.

It all started with my personal nemesis, the leftover Halloween candy. Now, I love it, but I'm trying not to eat it, and this year, I have the added joy of keeping it away from Sam. She isn't generally allowed to have candy, but with the bowl out there, and a sweet tooth she's developed (I blame G and Grams, not myself, by the way), it's constant begging. Still, I can't bring myself to throw it out, because it's only been a few days since Halloween and we bought a ton of candy--it feels like I'd be tossing little dollar signs into the trash. And I just can't do it. So I have a couple pieces now and then, and send Daniel to work with little piles, and sometimes I let Sam have a treat.

My favorite candy to give Sam is Smarties, because they are low fat (yes, high sugar, but most candy is high fat and high sugar, so I figure this is better), and I can control how many little tablets she can have. Plus, they're too small to be taken out of her mouth and played with, and even if they are removed, they aren't sticky--a lesson I learned from the affectionately named "Tootsie Pop Incident of 2009." So yesterday, I let Sam have some Smarties.

As soon as the last Smarty (is that the singular?) was gone, Sam was pointing to the bowl on the counter and saying "More? More? Mama...More? Puh!? (please)" If she had been saying "Mine" she would have sounded just like those seagulls in Finding Nemo. She just kept doing it.

I crouched down and looked her in the eyes in a way that would have made Supernanny proud, and said "Sam, I know you want more, but you have had enough candy today, and you can't have any more right now. No more candy." I thought it was odd that Sam just looked at me and cocked her head to the side, instead of erupting into a full-blown screaming tantrum--which is her new favorite activity upon being told "no." As an added bonus, tantrums now come with added stomping, completely for free!

But she didn't scream, stomp, or lose the ability to stand on her legs. Instead, Sam walked to the garbage can and opened the lid. She sighed as she reached inside and I exclaimed "Sam, we don't play in the garbage." She looked at me like "I hope you're smarter than you look," and pulled her arm out of the trash with something in her hand. I hate it when she gets garbage back out, but this was particularly embarrassing, since I was chatting on the webcam with my sister and dad, so I had witnesses to my kid's most disgusting habit. I was just hoping she wasn't getting a dirty diaper to show G her "poo poos." There's precedent. Sam, however then came over holding the empty wrapper to the Smarties she had just finished, held it up to me as close to my face as she could reach and said "More mama. More. More."

Apparently, the only way she could fathom me telling her "No" was that I was too stupid to understand what she wanted. So she had to dumb it down a few shades to get her point across. She must have been shocked when after this obvious tutorial, I still said no, because that's when the crumbling, screaming, and stomping started. Because, not only was she not going to get her coveted candy, but Mommy is obviously not as dumb as she looks.
Bummer breaks, kiddo.