During my formative years, my parents partly relied on Sesame Street to reinforce the lessons they taught me, as well as the ones that were being taught in school. Sometimes they would sit and watch with me, and other times they would take off to do other tasks, while trusting that the little, multi-colored Muppets--along with a few adults--could sustain my attention for approximately an hour. Based on how I turned out, I'd say that was a mutually beneficial transaction.
Now that I am in the midst of raising a four-year old son, I too am relying on the fine Seasame Street Institution to help raise my son. I particularly like for Nyles to watch Seasame Street in the morning while he's eating cereal and after he gets dressed. It puts him in an academic state of mind and it makes him more receptive to learning than just playing on the iPad, playing with his toys or watching Toy Story for the 567th time. Just this morning, the Sesame Street crew (Gordon to be specific) was describing what a stapler was and why it was necessary, and when my son got to school, he wanted to see the teacher's stapler. Win-Win.
But yesterday morning, there was a Sesame Street skit with Cookie Monster on it, and it backfired a bit. You see, Cookie Monster wanted to give cookies to his mother as a mother's day present, but Mr. Monster could not keep his hands and mouth off of the cookies long enough to actually gift them. He would start off calm and reserved, and then eventually, Cookie Monster would dominate the cookies as he is wont to do. When I was younger I thought it was funny the way Mr. Monster would devour the cookies, but as I got older--and particularly now that I'm a parent, I think it's flat out disgusting.
Young Nyles and his impressionable mind were sitting down eating mini-pancakes for breakfast as Cookie Monster ate and dominated cookie after cookie, and he made the executive decision that his pancakes should be eaten the same way. He picked up three mini-pancakes, put them up to his mouth, and proceeded to imitate the Cookie Monster as best he could. My knee-jerk reaction was to get mad and tell Nyles to stop, but he had his retort ready:
Me: Nyles don't stuff your mouth, why are you doing that?
Nyles: I'm doing what Cookie Monster is doing
Me: I know but the way Cookie Monster is eating is wrong, you eat one thing at a time and you chew and swallow
Nyles: But Daddy Cookie Monster isn't doing that
Me: What the f**k did I say? (I didn't really say that, but I wanted to)
At this point, I wanted to ramp up my anger, but given that I was the one who plopped my son down in front of the TV to watch this fine television show, I had to take some responsibility, which made me feel like this:
Anyway, Nyles now knows that Cookie Monster is a poor eater with less-than-desirable habits, so I guess in that respect, the show still allows for teachable moments. But it backfires sometimes too. That is my Public Service Announcement for the day.