Stories from the Street
Recently I ordered Austen a copy of Songs from the Street, and it arrived yesterday. I popped Disc One into the Mac and pressed play in iTunes... and Austen kinda freaked out. He knows that when he sees the iTunes interface that he's about to hear some music, but this music usually means that there's a big yellow bird, some kids, some blocks, and Central Park up on the screen. WHERE THE HELL WAS BIG BIRD?
Austen looked stricken for a few seconds, and then he ran over to the table where I'd left the CD box—a table that's above his eye level—and started fishing around with his arm until he hit the box cover. He pulled it down, recognized his friends Big Bird, Ernie and Bert, Oscar, Elmo, and Cookie Monster, and he sighed with relief. He then brought the box cover over to the ottoman and pointed to each of the characters lovingly. All was suddenly right with the world.
Austen, as you might have guessed, is a total Sesame Street addict. He now brings me the TiVo remote both in the morning and at bath time—basically whenever we're in the master bedroom for an extended period—and gestures for me to turn on Elmo. He knows that the TiVo remote in the living room (an older model that's a different size and color, but the same peanutty shape) does the same thing as the one in the bedroom, and he'll make the same "turn on Elmo!" gestures when he comes across it. He'll sometimes run to get his Elmo doll when Sesame Street comes on, so they can watch together. More often, he prefers to sit in my lap for at least a segment or two (he especially likes watching the Count reveal the Number of the Day this way, perhaps because I sing along as the Count serenades the Countess, or because I shout, "oh, the suspense is killing me!" when the Count plays the organ).
I loved Sesame Street when I was a kid, too, and I'm loving it now all over again. There are minor annoyances, of course—some of the human characters say their lines a little too exaggeratedly for me, and Baby Bear's baby voice and adult vocabulary used to unnerve me at first (though he's grown on me lately)—but mostly there's so much to enjoy and appreciate. Aside from the Count, I love the science experiments (seeing what items float or slide, playing the Grouch game "What Happens Next?"), Elmo's World ("it's Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle!"), anything that happens in Gina the Vet's office, and the adventures of SUPer Grover. (I look forward to Journey to Ernie, but I wish that the segments were a little more consistent.)
This morning I got one of my favorite combinations: a scene in Gina's office that involved Grover. After watching for a few minutes, I realized that, skinny arms and blue fur aside, I AM GROVER. Whenever Grover gets something wrong, he says, "why did you not TELL me that this was so?", which my husband will tell you is exactly what I would do. It's not MY fault I got it wrong—in fact, I'm always right!—so it must be you. Good grief! Well, at least I don't have
Oscar's misanthropic attitude Elmo's self-centered worldview Bert's preference for reading over parties Telly's obsession with triangles!