Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the month “April, 2016”

Can you PLEASE tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

El Niño has officially turned 16 months, and I’m nudging towards letting him watch more television. For one thing, as mentioned before, he really, sincerely loves The Wiggles. The Wiggles are family, as far as he’s concerned. They’re people we visit regularly, or he’s sad because they must have left forever. When he got back from Grandma’s after I dislodged the cold from hell (doctor says total recovery time will be another three-four weeks. WHAT!?) Baby’s priorities were as follows:

  1. Allow weird lady kiss on the cheek, she wants to hold me and cuddle me and never let go, something about mommy missed you so much, but I can’t be bothered because
  2. THE CAT!! Oscar still lives here! Ohmigod, Ohmigod, gotta pull on his tail. PLEASE let me pull on him!
  3. Oh, good. We still own a TV. Make the sign for The Wiggles.
  4. Lady, I’m not kidding, leave me alone. Simon’s on. He has the best voice, but I also like Emma’s bows.

So, I’m trying to get in more Sesame Street, because Mom swears that’s how I learned to read. I turned on HBO and got the thing titled Sesame Street. But…it’s not. Let’s start with the obvious: I never saw, and I was looking closely, (I’ll have you know I was once an undercover detective at Bloomingdale’s and they are a VERY big store)…I never once saw Bert and Ernie together. They sort of showed up to announce the number of the day, but you can’t fool me. That’s not new content. It gets recycled every time, and it only took me four episodes to catch on to that. SO. What gives, Sesame Street? Where did they go? Did they reveal the Count is money laundering and now they sleep with the fishes? “Count the cement blocks, 1, 2, 3, 4! FOUR cement blocks, ah ah aaah.”

There wasn’t any Oscar the Grouch. I barely saw Big Bird. I appreciate the store is still called Hooper’s but where are all the people? There used to be lots of people on Sesame Street. Now, the puppets may interact with one or two. Elmo is driving this thing. I can’t understand what the hell he’s saying. His voice is high, and he talks like he learned English from someone who was just screwing with him. I refuse to believe anything is willing to listen to that voice everyday. Dorothy the Goldfish, go glub glub twice if you’re being held involuntarily.

Who is the fairy thing? And why is she so superior to Telly? Telly may be a bit of a stick in the mud, but at least he’s not a smug little shit leaving glitter in his wake. I do appreciate they at least still HAVE Telly. I thought he’d gone the way of Snuffy and Kermit. Oh, and I hear Snuffy can be seen now, so kids aren’t worried to say something and not have an adult believe them. That’s nice. It is. But last week, using nothing but a frisbee, my 5 year old nephew declared he could see that he was Iron Man and Uncle Mac was Captain America. Originally, I was Cap, and that worked out great until I forgot to mention I’m pre-serum Steve and the Dude tried to tackle me to get the frisbee. Now, Aunt Sarah is Peggy Carter; good at strategy, not involved in combat. So, kids can say they see things, and believing them is important…but if you look at me and see an indestructible body topped with blond hair that belongs on a Ken doll, I’ll get you in to talk to my therapist right after I’m done with her this week.

I’m also going to add we have several former students who work on the Sesame Street Live show, and the live show is a whole other matter. It’s a spectacular show and really fun for kids. Baby’s too young this year but we think next year, maybe. My complaint is specifically TV oriented.

Sigh. Everything changes. Everything grows. I understand this; it’s how my tiny little 7 lb snizzlefritz got to the point where he likes to dance, try to sing, and pretend he can walk. “I walk with my hand on all the furniture and DO NOT help me mommy, I’m doing it all by myself, I just happen to have a hand on the furniture at all times because I’m comforting our furniture. It’s sad you don’t clean the furniture as often as they would like.”

So, Elmo. OK. And the fairy thing. All right. Seriously though, Bert and Ernie? That’s not growth.

That’s bullshit.

The Vacation

So. I have been on parenting vacation. I didn’t go anywhere special, just bed, because I obtained some sort of nasty laryngitis, coughing, pain…I don’t even know what all was going on. It was bad.

My parents frequently say if there’s anything they can do to help, they will. What’s really cool about that is they mean it, it’s not like when a co-worker you know the name of, but not how they spell it, falls off their roof and breaks a tibia and you say “if there’s anything I can do, let me know!” but you’re both safe that won’t occur because that co-worker does remember how to spell your name, he just doesn’t like you all that well. My parents help a LOT. In this case, I thought it would be two days, but now it has been six.

Why six, you ask? (I hope). Because when I called to find out how my son was doing, my voice sounded like something Voldemort dredged up from the bowels of Hell. Even I thought I sounded bad. The next day, there was no sound at all except for at one note. All trained actors do extensive vocal work to be able to manipulate the voice for multiple reasons. We need it to project, or still be clear while we’re crying, or sing in the chorus, whatever. My training taught me that when all other sound is locked through laryngitis, you may have one note relaxed enough to work. I ran through my exercises, and sure enough, there it was. I could only be heard at that note. I tried it out on Ian.

Ian mostly looked forlorn that Wife Unable to Speak Week was cancelled. But I still couldn’t get the baby back, because imagine what it would do to the psyche of a 16 month old, to hear his mother say “good night, sweetie, let’s tuck you in tight” in a single note, a low growl that has no intonation or variation of sound. Forget sleeping; the first memory of me would be the day he learned that Rosemary’s baby might not have been the problem, maybe somebody should have looked at Rosemary.

That’s it. All it took was an illness that made me feel cruddy and sound like a Deatheater, and Baby got six days, all-inclusive resort vacation with Grandma.

I have GOT to ask my voice teacher if I can replicate that sound without the illness, because another resort vacation for Baby would be fantastic around the time Mac and I have our anniversary…

Sydney Syndrome

Parents, especially you stay at home parents, today we’re going to be talking about a delicate subject that may be difficult for you to face. Just remember: lots of us are triggered by this, we are NOT alone, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am speaking, of course, of Sydney Syndrome. It’s a pervasive and psychologically damaging condition in which a parent has been forced to hear songs by the Australian group “The Wiggles” so many times that you begin to feel like you enjoy them, or maybe even asked to hear them.

Common things we hear when we talk about The Wiggles are phrases like “It was just supposed to kill ten minutes so I could take a shower!” or “The Australian accents fooled me, I thought they must be less potent than American brand children shows!” The worst cases bring out difficult to express pain and anguish, and so they are disguised as simple banter. Come on now, do you think other adults ask themselves if Lachey is pretty cute (answer: he is) or if Anthony is trying a little to hard to look under 50? (Answer: he is). The very worst cases are triggered by seeing yellow bows. Parents who have violent reactions to yellow bows should be led to a safe place, given an adult beverage, and then we recommend at least three hours of interactions with adults who won’t trigger you. Your best bet is to go drinking with friends who don’t have children. They have no idea what you mean by “The Big Red Car” or “Dorothy the Dinosaur” and you have no idea who “Florence and the Machine” are. It’s mutually beneficial and your friends without children will also remind you that it was really, really fun to think of yourself as the center of the universe for a few decades.

If you’re trapped in a situation where there is no choice, here are things you can do to lessen the stress of Wiggle-Watching:

  • Realize that in 2015 Emma and Lachey got engaged, and that was after two years of secret dating. Just think of all the kinky sex they’ve had on that set. Imagine how disgusting it could be to shag on the Wags the Dog costume, or in the back of the BRC.
  • Ask yourself if Anthony is “straight” or if he falls more “on a continuum of hetero to homosexuality” as the kids say these days.
  • Thank God above when you get an episode with Lou Diamond Phillips in it. Lou, I can’t think of ANY crime you could commit not involving a Pope-related sex toy that would result in punishment like this, but….whatever you did, thanks. You’re bringing some much needed sex appeal to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in my living room at 3:00 in the afternoon.
  • Simon, for the love of GOD, man…the third one is ALWAYS the one where you didn’t say “Simon Says.” Mix it up, sweetie. Even the five year olds with their shoes on the wrong feet and tater tots in their pockets have caught on.
  • How much of a cash cow is Emma, really? Think about it. They gave her her own little spin off, each lasting three minutes where she does a cute dance. They sell her bows. They sell her tutu. She is the lead singer in about half their songs. I hope she has a percentage of this because she’s going to be the next Oprah. Lachey’s fine for now, but I’d look for her to be moving up to your Chris Hemsworths, your Alex O’Loughlins, your Sam Worthingtons. Give it another 3 years before she wants to “try other things, not get typecast,” on the West End by 2019, first summer blockbuster the year after that, In Esquire’s “100 Hottest Leading Ladies” (but about #89) that fall, and surprise engagement to someone who had been totally off the radar but it was love at first sight by 2021. I hate to jump the gun, but I’ll call it right now, it’s James Franco.
  • Above all else, when you find yourself humming their songs at 7 at night and you’re the only one home, remember that you didn’t ask for this, the Wiggles are something that happened TO you. You don’t need to feel bad, and humming their songs is a natural sign you’ve taken to your captivity in the Wiggle House as well as any adult can.
  • Whatever else you do, remember that I, Sarah, am telling you as a grown up you can trust that it’s OK to live your life. You DON’T need to wait for Simon to say so. But if you do…pause it before that third one or you’re gonna be standing in your living room like a real asshat for the next day and a half until someone comes and turns off the TV.
  • We’re all in this together. Stay safe, and have a bow-tiful day.
    • Oh fuck you, Emma.

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