Redescovering Elmo

🎵Happy happy dance, dance🎵
🎵Happy happy dance, dance🎵
🎵When we learn something new🎵
🎵We do the happy dance, dance🎵

Are you familiar with this song? you may or may not, depending basically on the fact of having children (who once were or are toddlers) and also if English is your mother tongue or you know the language and of course, if you like Sesame Street. Anyway, as for my case, today, a couple of hours ago, I learned it. It is so catchy that it felt it were the proper lines to start writing this and also to give some context to what I am going to share. If you want you can listen to the song right here.

So this is how we got there: I was on Youtube on my cell phone and came across a video that I wanted to watch but since it was a bit long I felt like watching it on the TV instead, however, once the app was opened on the TV screen, my daughter who was right there saw Elmo under the suggested videos part and started saying “Elmo, Elmo, Elmo” and that’s how the plan changed. Three days away from hitting the twos, the no screen time policy before that age has been broken a bit in the last couple of months (3 times to be exact including today) but with total awareness, you know, content worthy and accurate for her age and in our company/presence, not all by herself to be randomly hypnotized. So yes, I was more than happy to please her because A) It was kind of my goal to make her fall in love with Elmo and it’s cute and nice, plus not difficult at all, to see that I succeeded on that; funny thing though, it seems that any cartoon with the eyes popped out (big, white and round) to her is Elmo, I mean she sometimes points and calls Elmo to some drawings on her books and B) Well it pleases me to have in this furry red pal one of the best and sweetest props to enhance the minority language.

And there we were watching a video of 2 hours length, a collection of who knows how many episodes of Elmo’s world and to me, the mom, a rediscovery of this beloved sweet character. You see, some months ago I watched on Netflix this documentary about the man who gives the voice to Elmo and it was inspiring and touching, especially because I remember him telling that the moment in which Elmo became so big and popular was when the Tickle Me Elmo toy was out in the market… I was priviliged enough to get one of those as a child and it was a very cherished toy to me. That was sort of my only relationship with Elmo, I mean I knew it was a character from Sesame Street but I didn’t really get to watch him on TV since the version of the show that was delivered in Colombia through the magic box back in those days was Plaza Sesamo -in Spanish and shooted on Mexico- so the characters, at least the main I remember were Pancho and Lola, no Elmo whatsoever. Then, many years later, when I was in college, I walked past a store who had exibited an Elmo plush toy, just like that, no batteries, no tickle but sweet and pretty, it made me connect with that beloved toy of my childhood, one that as you may guess, I don’t remember what happened with him after all those years, yet the evoking of this memory made me want to have the red guy back in my life so I bought the toy to be a pretty ornament in my bed.

Pic taken around 1998 from what I can remember.

I guess I came to meet Elmo’s voice as a grown up to Youtube videos of Sesame Street. Finding the one of the lullaby sung to Elmo by Andrea Bocelli was so touching to me, then I also remember the one with Juanes and the song Muévete although, to be honest, what thrilled me at that time was seeing that the artist of whom I was a big fan was being part on such a beloved TV show. There was a friend from college, Cata, with whom I was able to share the love for Elmo… also a little piece of memory related to this pal. Flash forward to 2020, half way through pandemic, I’m married and have a toddler daughter about 1 and a half year old. In one of the visits to my mom’s my daughter discovered that Elmo in what used to be my room and it came to me the idea of inherite the toy to her and pass on her the love for the guy… so we took Elmo with us.

And now here we are, Salomé is about to turn 2 years old and today I discovered that there’s a TV show called Elmo’s world, clearly aimed to toddlers like Salo… it’s sweet to see how it teaches different stuff to the children and in the perfect dose: I mean the length of the episodes and how they are built, also that song at the end of every episode to celebrate what “we” (Elmo and the children watching) learned… it’s like the best way to bring it to an end and get into children’s and parent’s minds… and bodies, of course since it’s also an invitation to dance and because lately Salomé has been with the musical mode super activated she was quick to start moving to the song and I was marvelled with all the process -about half an hour of minority language exposition to a TV show she enjoys and that made her dance every time the song was on-. So it was really nice to me to rediscover Elmo from the adult/parent point of view that is able to grasp a lot more of the meaning: for instance, I love the fact of seeing this Smarty friend of Elmo as a friendly way to embrace/introduce technology as part of the show (like in real life, of course) and to show children part of the content that they can learn about related to the subject of every episode… so clever and sweet indeed.

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