Toddler TV is no place for adults

If the phone ever rings at my house after 9 p.m., I know it can’t be anything good. Why? Because 9 p.m. is the most important time in my house: it’s The Joshua’s bedtime.

The Joshua, being the soon-to-be 3-year-old he is, loves routine. The same plate at dinner time; the same Larryboy fork at dinner time; the same toys in the bathtub (I bleach them once a month, so they aren’t gross); and, of course, the same TV shows every morning to get him pumped up to start his day.

In our house, Noggin rules.

The Joshua will not leave the house in the morning without watching “Maisy.” If he gets up early enough, I also have to sit through “Sesame Street.”

Now, I’m sure when I was a kid I really loved all things Sesame Street. In fact, I know I did. Now, however, as an adult, I have to admit I view Sesame Street (and the other shows parents are forced to watch to appease the kids in the house) in a whole new light.

Every time I see Bert on the screen, I can’t help but think it’s only a matter of time before he completely loses his mind. You’ve got to figure, he’s been living with Ernie for about 30 years and Ernie is one tough cookie to get along with.

Every time Bert is trying to read or count his paperclips, Ernie comes along and tries to entice him to play a game. Bert refuses. Ernie entices. By the time Bert finally concedes, Ernie is bored and off to something else.

Geez, that would get angering after a while.

Even best friends can only put up with so much, ya know?

And speaking of only putting up with so much ... I would love to take all the Barney videos in my house —and there are many — and have a Ray Bradbury-ish “Fahrenheit 451” kind of bonfire.

I actually have a theory about Barney. I’m pretty sure he was created by someone who didn’t have children as a payback for having to listen to too many stories about other people’s children.

It was kind of an you-waste-my-time, I’ll-waste-yours kind of payback.

Children are mesmirized ... even hypnotized ... by that purple dinosaur. If a toddler is screaming and running around in circles, sometimes Barney is the only thing that calms them down. Kind of like a mental tranquilizer. They all watch the same way, too: eyes wide open, face relaxed, mouth agape, hands gripping a sippy cup full of chocolate milk.

Toddlers watch Barney the way grown men watch “Junkyard Wars.” Or the way women watch anything with Harrison Ford.

I have to admit, there are some children’s shows I like. Veggie Tales, for instance, and its very own Larryboy, who is kind of like the Forrest Gump of superheroes. He’s not too bright, but he’s just bright enough to be a cucumber who fights crime. Lucky for him that’s exactly what he is.

And yes, I absolutely love “Spongebob Squarepants.” He cracks me right up.

I actually quote Spongebob all the time, but I’d never admit it. Or maybe I just did.

The funny thing is I don’t let my son watch a lot of TV, when he does watch, I let him decide what he wants. Like most toddlers, what he chooses is usually annoying.

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