(Non)Parents Just Don’t Understand

In social situations involving mixed company (that is to say, both parents and non-parents), it is advisable to avoid children as a topic of discussion.  No poop, no boogers, no vomit.  These subjects do not a scintillating adult conversation make.  And you run the risk of revealing that parenthood has turned you into a complete and utter whack job.  Case in point, a recent night out where the conversation meandered into the forbidden zone and I found myself attempting to describe my two year-old’s favorite television show.  The explanation that followed, I’m 100% certain, left half our table wondering if I had sustained some sort of massive head trauma.

“Okay, so there’s this guy in a tangerine unitard and a giant furry hat who carries around a boom box from 1983 that has tiny creatures inside.”

Image courtesy of Nick Jr.

Blank stares.

“One is a Cyclops.  Oh, and one is a robot.  And when he says the magic words, they come to life and talk about stuff like how to give high-fives and why you shouldn’t bite your friends.”


“And the guy can fly.  And he’s an awesome dancer.  And also Biz Markie is there.”


Bewildered looks, followed by abrupt change of subject.

Okay, how had I never noticed that Yo Gabba Gabba is absolutely ape-shit crazy?  Ah, the true mark of parental desperation.  ‘He likes this show enough that I can fold an entire load of laundry AND it doesn’t drive me insane?  Sold!’  That’s really all it took for me to accept it in its kooky entirety.  Even if Muno, the friendly red Cyclops, looks like something you’d order from the Adam and Eve catalog and have shipped to your house in an unmarked box.  And Foofa, the show’s most obviously female character, sounds like a drunk sorority chick.  According to the theme song “she’s pink and happy!” – and blasted on roofies and Midori sours, apparently.  I’ll spare the feminist rant (you’re welcome) but if I see her carrying around a copy of Prozac Nation, I’m calling the network to complain.

Don’t get me wrong, I regularly thank the children’s television gods that Yo Gabba Gabba exists.  It is reasonable adorable and the lessons are solid (you totally SHOULDN’T bite your friends).  The added bonus for our aging-hipster-turned-parent household is that the music is actually pretty fantastic.  Weezer performing dressed as giant insects?  In my book, it doesn’t get much better than that.  And we all certainly watched our fair share of trippy shit when we were young.  The Smurfs?  An old man whose arch nemeses are little blue creatures who live inside hollowed out mushrooms?  Apparently folks were still big into psychedelic drugs in the early 80’s.  It would seem each generation has its own special brand of television insanity.  I look forward to seeing what someday replaces Yo Gabba Gabba.  Although, in my opinion, it’s going to be pretty tough to beat Mark Mothersbaugh teaching kids to draw a flatbed truck carrying a giant cooked chicken.  Your move, TV…




Before having a child, my husband and I would while away countless hours swilling cocktails, smoking cigarettes and discussing art, politics, rock and roll, philosophy, you name it.  There were declarations of solidarity and heated debates on any number of decidedly adult topics.  Now conversations tend toward far less challenging fare.  Frequency and consistency of toddler bowel movements is a go-to.  As is questioning merits of expensive, fancy-pants organic apple juice vs. the perfectly serviceable store brand (I mean, how much better can it really be?).  Take this recent example, which took place in our living room, as my husband folded laundry and I perused Wikipedia in search of information on some of our two-year- old’s most beloved television characters:

What is WITH these guys?

Me:  Hey, did you know there was a fifth Wiggle?

Him:  What the hell are you talking about?

M:  The Wiggles.  There used to be a fifth member.  I wonder what color shirt he wore?

H:  Huh?

M:  I bet it was pink.  Had to be pink.  Ooooh, and did you know that Jeff hated kids at first?

H:  Who?

M:  The purple one.  The narcoleptic.  That’s why he’s always falling asleep.  They wrote that bit in so he wouldn’t have to interact with the kids as much.

H:  Well that’s fair.  Most kids are gross.

M:  And sticky.

H:  So sticky.

M: And did you know Greg owned the fourth largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world?

H:  Which one is Greg?

M:  The yellow one.

H:  The one that died?

M:  You’re morbid!  He didn’t die, he retired due to….wait….(feverishly scans Wiki)…orthostatic intolerance.

H: (pretends to know what orthostatic intolerance means) Oh, I though he died.  Or got fired.  Or it was like a Menudo situation and they kick you out after a few years.

M:  Right, like a puppy that isn’t cute anymore so he has to go live on a farm.  I thought maybe he got kicked out for a coke habit or a leaked sex tape.  Or maybe he punched a hooker like the Sham-wow! guy.

H:  No dirt though?

M:  Nope.  Squeaky clean.  Thought for sure there would be SOMETHING elicit.  They are musicians after all.

H (musician):  Oh ha, ha!  Cute.

M:  I’m bored with this.  I wonder if I can find any dirt on Raffi….