Thursday, February 08, 2007

Favorite Songs/Shows Redux

I’ve been messing around with my template a little bit over the last week or so. Blogger is actually pretty easy to work with if you have a brother-in-law who is a professional Web designer and happens to stop over on a Saturday afternoon in the mood to indulge a series of long-festering questions along the lines of, “how do I get this… to go there?”

The results of this experimentation have included an unjustifiably long and self-indulgent list of links to some of our favorite vendors, basically HTML shout-outs, and a short list of previous posts that are, more or less, finally safe from my obsessive need to continually edit and improve any attempt at the written word. It’s something I can’t resist. I used to carry grade school absentee notices my mother had written for me back home at the end of the day for immediate editing interventions. “Mom, you see here, where you say, ‘I’m writing to inform you that my son stayed home from school yesterday because he was feeling a little under the weather,’ you see that? Mom? Focus. Do you understand that you could have saved 17 words by writing, ‘My son was ill yesterday.’ Do you get that? Doesn’t that seem better? And, now that we’re looking at this, I should also mention that I’m not 100 percent on board with your use of the word ‘weather’ in that context. Hello? Mom?”

Anyway, it occurred to me the other day, as I compiled this list of “better moments,” that things move way too fast around here for topical postings like “Favorite Songs,” and “Favorite Shows” to have any real permanence. They’re great as historical snapshots of the way things were when they were written, both in June, but bear little resemblance to where we are today. So here’s a bit of an update on both fronts.

As the Kelly Clarkson obsession faded, Madison moved right into the High School Musical soundtrack and, later, developed a full-blown Hannah Montana fixation. Ava was also a big Hannah fan, especially the song “If We Were A Movie,” and that disc went on auto-repeat through most of late-summer and fall.

We were able to pretend it was all about the kids until the night the four of us were driving up to Vermont, singing along with Hannah, and at some point Gwen and I realized that both of the girls had fallen asleep. After belting out several songs with no back-seat accompaniment, she turned to me and asked, “Why are we listening to Hannah Montana when they’re both asleep?”

An uncomfortable silence consumed the car. It lasted for a good 15… 20 seconds, until I finally responded, “I don’t know, I kind of like it.”

“Me too,” she said, just as “Pumpin’ Up the Party,” one of her personal favorites, kicked in and we picked up where we’d left off on the sing-along, down two vocalists.

As far as television goes, we’re all about “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” at the moment. The girls can’t get enough of it, the show has firmly established itself as a mainstay in our house and in the hard-drive of our DVR. It also has a great companion Web presence on Noggin.com that includes cool games, printables and live video. Ava likes watching it online as much as TV, it seems, and there’s something about sitting across the room and witnessing your 4-year-old use a mouse to navigate her way through a kid-friendly Web environment (printing pages, opening and closing out of games, launching music and video) that’s as astonishing as it is illustrative of the way things have changed in this world. [I'm not talking MySpace or Facebook here. We're happily several years away from the presumably "astonishing and illustrative" parenting challenges associated with those online environments.]

“Higglytown Heroes” is our clear #2 show right now. “Backyardigans” still hang around and make their presence known at times. Disney's attempt at a male Dora, “Handy Manny,” made a very brief appearance in our house, seemed so promising there during the first few episodes, but ultimately he barely stayed long enough to fix anything. We were actually pretty happy to see him go because the ringer on his phone sounded exactly like ours – I’m not making this up, we went scrambling off to find our cordless at least a half dozen times while watching that show, before realizing the call was for Manny. “Pinky Dinky Doo” was big for a couple of months, but her appeal was fleeting. Yes-sir-rooney, pos-it-tooney!

Ava still likes “The Wonder Pets” and we encourage this because she insists on eating celery whenever it’s on and that is about the only time in her life she will willingly consume anything green. We still restrict “SpongeBob SquarePants,” much to the girls’ dismay, because every time we relent and take a chance on it some character is either being physically ripped apart or calling someone else an idiot.

At some point over the last month or so Ava declared Little Einsteins a “baby show,” and tossed it unceremoniously onto the trash heap of former favorites. Luckily enough for this set of friendly animated characters, Barney and Dora were waiting there at the bottom to break the fall, accompanied by Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Elmo, Oobi, Miffy, Maisy, and the kids from Cyberchase.

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