Like all parents, I’m good at some things and not good at others. I live in deep fear of being asked to play children’s games. I’m fine with simple games (we play Othello and Trouble) but I cannot abide children-specific games like Candy Land or Shutes-and-Ladders. I’d rather be shot. In the gut. And left to die, painfully, in a dark alley. Another thing I cannot abide: children’s television.
If I never hear “Dora, Dora, Dora the explorah” again, I’ll die happy. Thomas the Tank Engine gives me nightmares. Even the science and nature shows like Zaboomafoo and Fetch, With Ruff Ruffman make me feel like swallowing a bottle of Prozac. Especially when my kids want to turn to me and say “Did you see that? He just . . .” then they explain in great detail exactly what I just watched. I know this is an important skill. So I listen, attentively. But in my head I’m analyzing their development, just for something to do.
Though I know there are parents out there who just LOVE playing Candy Land and watching Dora with their tykes, I also figured there were others like me. What I didn’t know was that there were others who had it even worse than I did . . . and they deal with it in some interesting ways . . .
Option 1 – the REAL Housewives of MiddleClass America. There needs to be a show about them. I was introduced to this subculture when a friend called and asked if I knew who Chris and Marty Kratt were. I said “Yes, they’re the brothers on Zaboomafoo.” My friend then asked if they were hot. After choking on my tongue, I replied, “Why?”
While looking for a Halloween Costume for her son, she had inadvertently stumbled across a chat room for bored Moms. The talk was all about which kids show hosts were hot. This was a scary place. Apparently, the Kratt Brothers were very high on the F-able rating. Wiggles were all over the place. And while everyone agreed that Steve was the better host of Blues Clues, it was Joe whom they wanted to push into that big armchair and rip off his bold graphics shirt.
Option 2 – Combine home video cameras, cheap editing software and bored parents. For some, it was clearly not enough to just watch children’s programming and swallow mood enhancers. It wasn’t enough just to talk about it online, or complain to other parents while hanging with the kids at the park. No, they needed action. And they filmed it.
The best of these is The Giggles (an obvious riff on The Wiggles – who sing such classics as ‘Fruit Salad’ and ‘Dr. Knickerbocker’). The Giggles sing “The Clap”. I encourage you to dial them up on Youtube. “Giggles – the clap” will get you there. Best line: “You have the Clap? I want the Clap!”
Ironically, you could let your kids listen to it; it would go right over their heads. But you would have to explain to your kid’s teacher why he’s running around, clapping in rhythm and telling the other kids he gave them the Clap.