For those of you who don’t have kids, you can tell us which TV shows you let your husband/boyfriend/dog watch. Cuz we all know they are like kids, too.
This isn’t really a list of things I let Kyle watch. It’s a small rant about…Sesame Street. Yes, Sesame Street which I love with all my heart. The show that basically taught me how to read and how to say “open” and “close” in Spanish. This morning I watched with happy nostalgia as they ran a cartoon about dancing that I remember from my childhood. They may not have Mr. Hooper, but they still have Maria, who looks GREAT, and Bob, who’s not looking so great but at least he can still sing, and all the Muppets, and the awesome disco 123456789 10 11 12 song with the cartoon of the pinball going through the crazy psychedelic machine.
I set our ghetto Tivo to record Sesame Street every morning, and we’re usually hanging out in bed when it comes on, so it gives us the signal that it’s time to get up. We plop Kyle down in his mosh pit and let him loose on his toys. Inevitably, when “Elmo’s World” comes on, he sits up and pays attention. Because when Elmo talks, people listen!
So I’ve adapted to many of the new characters (Zoe, most annoying voice ever, even more annoying than Elmo’s) and features (Rosita’s Spanish word of the day) that Kyle will grow up probably loving. But there’s one thing that has been bothering me for a while and I keep meaning to write about it here but of course keep forgetting because my Mommy brain is so pervasive and insistent that even daily glasses of wine or beer have not been able to reverse it.
It’s Baby Bear and his speech impediment.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Baby Bear. I think he’s a great character – his design and features are cute but not too cute, and his attitude is pretty laid back and hip. But he can’t say his R’s. HE CAN’T SAY HIS R’s. Things like “It’s Hero Guy!” come out as “It’s HEWO Guy!” “Together” is “togethow.” And so on.
How old is Baby Bear anyway? From the things he says he strikes me as a pretty capable pre-teen. I guess “Baby” is a name that just stuck because there are no younger bears on the show. He’s fated to live through his teen years with that name until he meets a hot dancer in the Catskills who will force him and his family to start calling him by his real name, Francis, and not stick him in the corner.
So a bear who has made it this far must have received some speech therapy, at least as much as his public school district could afford to give him in the PC world of Sesame Street. I guess they weren’t very effective, and this is one Baby Bear who’s been left behind as far as diction goes. My problem with all of this is that I’m afraid that in their efforts to be all-inclusive and promote tolerance of those who are less fortunate with their consonants, Sesame Street might be unwittingly teaching our children to speak incorrectly. I can just see it: Kyle will run up to me in a few years and say “Mom! Mom! I just heard about this cool show called Wompoo Woom! Can we watch it togethow?”