Sesame Street and the very, very, very odd sentence
For example, one day as my daughter was watching an episode of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, I made the comment of how kids cannot survive in outer space without a spacesuit when Jimmy and his friends built rockets out of theme park rides and flew into outer space to save their parents.
On another occasion, when we saw a TV commercial advertising yogurt that has labels which try to teach kids the alphabet, I started ranting and raving about how the letter "K" could not possibly be for "karate teacher." According to my rant, the proper word is sensei. "Just say 'karate'!" I fumed.
My daughter learned two things that day. 1: A karate teacher is called a sensei. And 2: Never, ever try to convince Mommy that "K" is for "karate teacher." Ever.
As it is, last night, I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gates McFadden's character, Dr. Crusher, had a mysterious patient who finally awoke from his coma. That was the good news. The bad news was that he couldn't remember his name, where he came from or anything about what happened that caused him to end up in sickbay. Of course, this lead into a commercial break, where I promptly shrugged my shoulders and said, "Maybe it's a temporary thing."
I bring all of this up because, sometimes, I look for an opportunity to teach my kids things when it comes to TV. Sure, I like to poke fun at what we see some of the time, or elaborate on just WHY a particular commercial was "so dumb." (And I'm not the only person in my extended family who does this. My father cracked jokes at movies he watched all the time, and some of my siblings would offer funny lines of dialogue for those suspenseful moments of silence in TV shows and movies. It's a family affair, I guess.)
Sometimes, I also take what I see on TV shows and commercials to teach my oldest child something about writing. The other day, for example, I was on the couch with my children, watching Sesame Street. At one point, the Muppets Elmo and Lulu asked a little boy to write out their story. The title of the story? "The Princess with the Very, Very, Very Long Hair." Ugh.
I rolled my eyes, looked at my daughter and said, "You know, you don't need to say 'very, very, very long hair.' Just say very long hair! And show people how long her hair is by saying something like 'her hair was so long, it reached down to her feet' or 'her hair grew past her feet.'"
I don't think that this left much of an impression on her. She just nodded then continued to watch the program. But, hey, at least I tried. It's Sesame Street, not Writing Lessons for Children.
Maybe I'll just stick to jokes from now on.