All My Kid Ever Really Needed to Know He Learned From Sesame Street

GroverI grew up on the Street. So it shouldn’t be surprising that there are exactly 44 episodes of it on my DVR. It holds the monopoly of space on this house’s little black box. But this is somewhat ironic, because when Little J was born, I swore I’d be a “good mom” and I wouldn’t let him watch tv until he was older. After all, the research warned me that children under two couldn’t understand the images and in case you hadn’t heard, oh yeah, it leads to obesity. I mistakenly thought overeating lead to obesity. But no, it turns out, NCIS can make you fat. But don’t worry, just the New Orleans one. The LA one would SO never do that. Then along came Little A. Since she demanded roughly 99.9% of my waking and non-waking hours in her first few months, poor Little J was sentenced to his playpen. And like most Americans, he wanted more. In despair, I turned to my long lost friends on PBS. I missed some of my old cohorts. Clifford and George, it’s been a while. I reminisced as I heard that curious little monkey get himself into trouble and engineer himself out like MacGyver. I secretly enjoyed pal-ing around with Elizabeth and her oversized crimson pup. And then I heard it. That unmistakable song – Sunny days keepin’ the clouds away…you know the rest. I was transported through time, through multiple decades, back to my playpen. I watched Little J’s face as he followed the furry gang across the screen. He swayed his head back and forth as they sang and he giggled as Grover (now Super Grover 2.0) tried to save the day with items from his gym sock. Admittedly, I got sucked back in, this time by the celebrity guest appearances and the eye-catching, artistic shorts. As Little A grew, so did Little J’s love of the Street. When Curious George took the stage, Little J hummed the sunny days tune in protest. He cheered when the theme song magically appeared. At first, I thought he just liked the vibrant colors, the music and the humorous, yet familiar characters (I think I’m married to Grover sans the blue fur). But one day while strolling the aisles of, you guessed it, Costco, Little J blurted out the word “octagon”. I stopped the cart. My brow raised. Being a former elementary school teacher, I’d like to brag that he learned that from me. But alas, in our efforts to get him admitted to an Ivy League school someday, we had only worked on the basic shapes. He was referring to a pendant on my necklace and I knew exactly how he recognized it. From a segment on Sesame Street. I later witnessed him make a t-ball stand out of a cut pool noodle, a yardstick and a ball. I laughed as I made the connection between his invention and an episode where Baby Bear plays t-ball with his dad. The kid was paying attention. And he was learning something. It turns out I’m grateful I didn’t heed the warnings of research this time. And along with learning complex shapes and some creative construction, I’m glad he is also absorbing some of the less overt lessons, like how to treat others and how to deal with some of the challenges he’ll likely encounter in his wonderful life ahead. I’m glad the gang is still around. And if you want to know, I can definitely tell you how to get to Sesame Street.

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