Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MoMo's World

Below is Kevin Clash. This man is at my house every day.
Sometimes twice a day, when I really need his help.

What? Oh yes, you know him. In fact, anyone with a child born after 1985 has probably had him at their house too. It's just you've never seen him all dressed up... and holding the Emmy that's peeking out from the corner of the picture above. The Emmy is for his work as a puppeteer on Sesame Street.

Sesame Street is in it's 41st season this year.  (You'd think they'd have learned their ABC's by now.) There was a time though, when Sesame Street wasn't sure they'd make it to forty seasons. In 1999, after thirty years of progamming, the producers found viewership declining. So, they did a study to find out why after all these years Sesame Street was no longer a top kids choice. You know what they found?

A child will start watching television the moment they can lift their heads to view the screen - parents already know this. They also know that it will keep their child occupied long enough for them to go to the bathroom in peace. And if it's a really great program, you can even blog on the computer and drink a cup of coffee.

Not that I do that.

The original Sesame Street episode was designed for children age three to five. But television viewers were often much younger, and finding their entertainment elsewhere. So, Sesame Street added a new segment at the end of each episode, aimed at their youngest viewers. And they chose the monster that appealed most to that age group.

That's right. Elmo. Kevin Clash is the man behind the Muppet, and has won multiple awards for his work. The job was originally offered to another puppeteer, who turned it down because "it was too cutesy." Bad for him, good for Kevin.

My daughter LOVES Elmo. Or rather, "MoMo". (Apparently they are chummy enough to use informal names.) Elmo is three and a half and has stolen my daughter's heart.

Grace didn't watch television until she was nineteen months old. I wanted to wait until she was two to introduce television, but quickly realized that t.v. was invented solely to help nursing mothers occupy their toddlers while feeding their infants. So, I got three DVDs from the library and showed them to Grace. Clifford was too old/complicated. Baby Einstein was too young/boring. But the Elmo video?

The Elmo video was like giving her a dose of chocolate flavored Benadryl. She sat there with a huge smile posted on her face and didn't move for 45 minutes. We were both hooked.

Why do kids love Elmo so much? Well, after a lot of Elmo observation, I have come to the conclusion that Elmo is the ultimate optimist. No matter what happens, he seems to be able to just chuckle and shrug it off. He slips on a pile of apples at the grocery store? He just stands up and chuckles. Computer won't co-operate? He just says "Please?" until Computer works. I think the worst thing I've ever heard Elmo say is, "Drawer is not being very nice today."

Now who wouldn't love a guy like that? Elmo doesn't yell, throw tantrums, steal toys, hit, bite, or do any of the other things toddlers are prone to do. He doesn't get upset when things don't go perfectly. It's no wonder Gracie loves Elmo. He's the most well behaved three year old she's ever met!

So, once a day (okay, sometimes twice) Gracie gets to watch her beloved "MoMo", and mommy gets 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to do whatever needs to be done. Because Gracie loves Elmo. And you know what? I love Kevin Clash.


Tracey said...

He's "Eino" around here and not quite a popular, but he is getting there. Now, as to the photograph of you. Are you 11? :)

you are very good at this blogging thing btw. I think I am going to give it up and just read yours.

Kim said...

Liz liked Elmo, Katie liked Boo Bah and John likes Thomas. I agree with you TV was invented for moms.

Kari said...

Ella and Evan LOVE "momo" too! But they are hard-core Yo Gabba Gabba fans! Those are the two shows that they watch... could be worse I suppose! =)