Monday, September 27, 2010

The plasma babysitter

Thousands of DVDs that have been created to entertain children all over the world and soak their little sponge-like minds with as much knowledge as they can absorb.

In Jacob's world, there are only two that matter: "Sesame Street's Kids Favorite Songs 2," featuring Elmo, and "Wee Sing in Sillyville."

All other movies and TV shows, for some reason, just don't grab his attention. He'll stop for a second to stare at what's happening on the screen, but then move onto something else. But pop in one of the two aforementioned movies and Jacob will fall into a hypnotic trance.

Jacob has become a big fan of Elmo and Snuffulupogus. He always says hi to Snuffy when he appears on screen, and he turns his head when he hears Elmo's distinct, affable voice.

Erin and I often accuse ourselves of lazy parenting when we turn on the DVD player, but it has yielded a few positive results:

— Half-hour window to get stuff done (i.e. emptying the dishwasher, cleaning) without Jacob's little paws reaching and grabbing for everything we're trying to put away.

— Thirty minutes of serenity. We love when Jacob's jovial personality is on full display, and tolerate when he's crabby, but I think it's safe to assume every parent welcomes a bit o' quietness every now and again.

— Jacob has shown us he can sit nicely, albeit for a short amount of time in one given spot. He loves to moves back and forth between his Toy Story chair and wedged in the corner of our couches. He's learned to use his stool to boost himself up onto the couch. He'll occupy just about every spot on the floor before the movies ends.

— He's beginning to make connections between what he sees in the TV and in real life.

One example is he recognizes the songs from the movies when Erin and I sing them. Every morning I sing "On Top of Spaghetti" when I'm changing Jacob's diaper, and he always forms the biggest smile. He knows that song because Snuffy sings it in the movie (spaghetti and meatballs is his favorite meal, by the way).

To enhance his obsession with Elmo, we bought him a bucket shaped like Elmo's head for Trick-or-Treating. He's developed a fear of almost everything that the average person would consider scary, such as zombies, skeletons, witches and things that crawl abnormally or make unusual, loud noises. I thought at the time of purchase that walking around on Halloween with an Elmo bucket would give him a sense of security. We'll find out in a few weeks.

For now, he carries that bucket with him all over the place, along with his Elmo cell phone our friends Eric and Kelly bought for him.

Ironically, he's afraid of his Tickle-Me Elmo hands.

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