One of my favorite things about Sesame Street is that it's relatively watchable by parents too. Sesame Street was one of the original shows to bring in the greats in a way that connects with children and parents alike. My rock-free childhood was saved by The Beetles "Letter B." So when I heard that Katy Perry's Hot N Cold duet with Elmo wasn't going to air because it was deemed too sexy, I was shocked. Okay, at first I laughed. I've met some of the Sesame Street people and the thought of them letting anything through that did not meet high standards was craziness. Craziness, I say.
According to US Magazine, a Sesame Street representative gave the following statement.
"Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels, for the child and adult. We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show because we know that a child learns best when co-viewing with a parent or care-giver. We also value our viewer's opinions and particularly those of parents. In light of the feedback we've received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube."
I'm torn. I think it was awesome that Sesame Street listened to their viewers, or should I say, their viewers' mothers. The thing is, I don't get what the big deal is. I watched the video. If I'm going to be honest, the first thing I thought when I saw the video was that I didn't think Katy's outfit was flattering for her. Cleavage? Hmm, not so much. Upon consultation with my better half, he agreed that our 1, 3 and 5 year olds would never have even noticed. Maybe it's the years of breast feeding that has reduced our children's focus on breasts as functional. What with the fact that they are functional.
One of my favorite comments was the author's comment about Katy Perry cleaning up her lyrics so they could be acceptable for Sesame Street. Um, that's how it works. The excitement as a parent is wondering how your favorite pop song is going to turn into something rated G by the great minds at Sesame Street.
So maybe Katy Perry shouldn't have been wearing an ice skating outfit with her duet with Elmo. Maybe her dress up outfit could have been less conical. I guess I'm just a little desensitized by all the elementary school dance teams on YouTube wearing tassel tube tops to trashy pop songs. I guess if you are a parent who doesn't take your child to the beach or the pool or out in public at all, you may have a point. But for the rest if us, maybe it's time to take ourselves a little less seriously.
I leave you now with my all-time favorite Sesame Street/Elmo song, accompanied by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song? Slide. For those of you who don't know, it's about a teenage girl who gets pregnant. After being Sesame Streeted, it's a song about Pride. It's one of the best Sesame Street songs ever. Hands down. I mean, other than Letter B.
I was one of the last to board the plane last night. Coming back from a business trip we had attended together, Derek was on the plane leaving after mine. I was all alone heading home to our kids after a glorious weekend. Parted from my roller carry-on bag due to space issues, I headed down the aisle toward my seat, past several overhead bins with available space which would have been perfectly acceptable for my bag. I'll admit now that may have soured my mood enough to contribute to what happened next.
I climbed into my window seat past a gentleman who was chatting with the woman in the row ahead. I contemplated offering to trade seats so they could be together but something told me she was glad to be seated away from him. As I sat down, I noticed a family of four I had seen in the waiting area just a few minutes before were now seated a few rows back. The three- and four-year-old's bags were loaded with toys and activities for the three hour ride. I was glad it wasn't me.
They were in the midst of deciding who would sit where when the little girl realized she would have to sit beside her father and across the aisle from her mother. At about this moment, the little brother realized he could sit by his mom but not by his sister too. The children began to alternate wailing and sobbing. The noise was deafening. The plane door had yet to be closed by a flight attendant.
The man beside me groaned out loud. My heart sank to my stomach for the parents behind me. I heard her negotiating ("I can hold your hand across the aisle, see?" "Your sister can come over here with us in 15 minutes." "The rules say you have to sit in your OWN seat now but you can sit on mom's lap in just a few minutes.")
"Screaming kids. Great." My seatmate seemed very thrown by this turn of events. His companion turned around to look (as did several other people) and my seatmate declared, "I may have to violate FAA rules and wear my earphones for the first 10 minutes of the flight." Other people started to complain.
The frazzled mother piped up above the hum of the dissent. "We understand, people. If we could, we would change places with you. They'll stop crying in a few minutes. They just both want to sit beside me. I'm really sorry." I saw at least 3 other motherly-looking women snap their heads back in her direction along with me to give their visual support. My seatmate was not impressed.
"I can't even believe this. I can't do this."
Really? You can't do this? I instantly thought about giving birth three times and was somewhat surprised that two despondent children on a plane ride for three hours would be "undoable." Trust me. The last time I said "I can't do this," I was giving birth to a 9 pound baby. I can understand if we are two hours into a screaming fit involving a child with an ear infection that is losing his mind with pain, but these are two tired children that just want to sit with their mom for takeoff and it's not possible.
"I know," I replied to his latest concerns. "If only she would stop poking them with a fork."
He looked at me in stunned silence. I looked at him with the look of a mother who has had screaming kids on a plane and suffered the disapproving looks for things beyond my control. I glanced down at my hand and proceeded to insert one of the $ .25 earplugs into my ear.
Two minutes later the kids were silent. Ten minutes after takeoff, I got up, went to that mom and told her she was a good mother.
It was the least I could do. We parents have to stick together.
The kids came running off the bus after their very first day of school. Their little feet barely hit the pavement before they began talking about play dates and video games. These are not things a mother wants to know about the first day of school. I let them ramble on until it was time to go in different directions from our favorite neighbor friend.
K: We'll see you tomorrow morning at the bus stop!
Him: Nah, Miss Kristen. I'm not going to school tomorrow.
K: But Buddy, tomorrow is a school day.
Him: Not every day is a school day.
K: But tomorrow is.
Him: I don't think so. Anyway, I'm not going tomorrow.
I laughed and walked away. I could see how the adjustment to school is going to be different for everyone.
K: How was your first day of school?
K: What did you learn?
Ethan: Nothing. And there is NO homework.
K: It was the first day of school. I don't think that is going to be the norm.
Ethan: NO HOMEWORK!!! We don't have any.
K: Did you make any new friends?
K: Not even the girl who sits beside you? I forgot her name. What is it?
Ethan: I don't know.
K: Did you play at recess?
K: Seriously? You are five. Are you going to give me any information about school? This was a really big day for you.
His father called a few minutes later.
D: How was it?
K: I have absolutely no idea. He didn't come home crying and he appears to want to go back tomorrow. For all we know, he could have skipped the whole day and just hung out under the bleachers, dealing black market Silly Banz and mainlining YooHoos from the machine. Eat! Dad wants to know what you did today.
Ethan: I just don't remember, MOM. But my teacher did say that we need to get our rest and if we wake up early, we should stay in bed.
I relayed this story to fellow mom of a kindergartener.
"God bless her and every teacher out there who says those kinds of things. BIG gift cards for her this year. BIG!" She turned around and yelled to the boys that it was time for bed.
And that, my friends, is the biggest change at our house since the end of the first week of school. Ethan wants to go to bed at night. We headed out a little later this evening to go to a birthday party and rolled back in an hour past bedtime. The boys took a quick bath and then everyone headed off to bed. Not three minutes later, Ethan and Nathan came wailing up the steps. The sound was deafening.
Ethan: MOOOOOOMMMMM!!!! Nate won't let me go to sleep.
Ethan: He says he won't stop crying until I read him a book. EVERY NIGHT he wants me to read him a book. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
K: Nate. It is so late, Buddy. I'll read you lots of books tomorrow after Ethan goes to school.
Nate: I'm not going to stop crying until Ethan reads me a book (with steel cold reserve).
K: Oh my gosh, Nate. Ethan. Go to bed.
They both went wailing back down the stairs. It was 8:35 p.m. and you would have thought it was 1:30 a.m. Two minutes later it was silent. And I hope against all hope that they sleep in tomorrow. No use starting out the week tired. Even if we have no idea what he does at school.
I'm a big speller in my house. I find it to be the best form of cryptic communication with my husband on most matters involving children. More often than not my children realize we are speaking about them but for some reason let it slide. Every once in a while someone will ask what we are talking about but normally that would require someone to actually stop talking to hear me speak. Luckily that never happens.
Ethan has started to catch on every once in a while and has learned to spell big ticket kid words like "ice cream" and "park" and "zoo." This has really brought me down. I knew this day would come but I was hoping it would last forever. In order to combat the imminent decline of our top secret communications, I have begun to spell faster.
Unfortunately for us, my husband has a mild case of dyslexia. These two are a horrible combination. Add to the fact that our generation uses Google for spell check (what's a dictionary?), my spelling has become a little shoddy. Long gone is my efficiency of being able to spell "acquaintance" in a snap like I could in the third grade. So now I'm misspelling fast.
Derek also has a communication problem before his second cup of coffee in the morning. When you wake up ready to go without coffee, it sometimes slips your mind that others are not so lucky. So when I wanted to rehash a middle of the night incident of getting up, I thought I would start out slow.
K: Did you ask him "w-h-y" that happened last night?
D: Why what?
K: Seriously. I was spelling.
D: But why would you spell "why?"
K: I don't think that my spelling "why" is the issue regarding why you said "why." I spelled "why" because I didn't want him to know what we were talking about yet.
D: But does "why" really give anything away by just saying "why?"
K: Probably not but now we'll never know.
The best part about the whole situation was that Ethan was standing right there and he didn't even blink in our direction when we were not-so-subtly talking about him. I'd like to think I have just numbed him by spelling all the time. It's clearly just a habit of mine to randomly spell and has no relation to my desired level of secrecy.
I spell with everyone in front of my children and I have come to the startling realization that my husband is EXCELLENT at mental translation. Who knew? In fact, I've been known to spell while out with my friends and not in the presence of any children.One of my friends recently asked me to never again spell in her presence because she cannot spell and it stressed her out. I should have asked her how we are supposed to talk about the children in front of the children because now I don't know.
And I feel a little bad about giving Derek a difficult time about not keeping up at 5:45 a.m. on mornings like this morning. Even if I don't understand why.