On Wonderpets and wondering how I got here

Note: This column appears in the 10/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/15 issue of the Peoria Times

Things happen fast when you’re a parent. There’s not much time to reflect on what, exactly, is happening. Therefore, there are moments when you look around, and say to yourself, “Where am I, and how did I get here?” Once such moment occurred for me a couple of weekends ago, as I sat there on a Saturday afternoon, watching live Nickelodeon characters dance around and sing onstage.

We took our daughter to Jobing.com Arena to see Nickelodeon Live Storytime. (For those of you who follow the column, yes -- I returned to Westgate. They called me personally to apologize for the farmer’s market fiasco, explaining how they were forced to cancel last minute due to the heat and valiantly attempted to get the word out in time. Tip of the cap to them.) Considering it was the beginning of October, and still one thousand degrees outside thanks to “the summer that wouldn’t die,” I was happy to get her, and us, out of the house.

Sure, dozens of college football games were being broadcast at the time, but these are the sacrifices we make as parents. And truth be told, I was kind of excited, considering I watch these shows more intently than our daughter does, as she has the attention span of a squirrel. I was also intrigued to see how these cartoons would translate to a live performance.

Sure enough, there was a not-so-audible gasp when Kai-Lan came onstage as an actual person and not the cartoon version. It was palpable, the thoughts of hundreds of kids simultaneously saying, That’s not Kai-Lan! This enthralled me to no end, and I turned to my wife and said, “These kids are like, ‘Whaaaat?!’” She quietly but forcefully shushed me. Of course, it took about three seconds for real-life Kai-Lan to win the crowd over. Myself included. (By the way, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, it is probably because you are not a parent of a young child, and your brain hasn’t turned to mush, overrun with the theme songs of various, inane cartoons. Feel free to move along.)

The Backyardigans and Wonderpets were equally entertaining, but every kid in the building was there to see the headliner, Dora. It’s insane, really. Dora the Explorer is like the Beatles, if the Beatles were the most annoying band ever. I’m not a big Dora fan.

Luckily for me, our daughter is still too young to process these kinds of things. There were only a handful of moments that grabbed her attention for more than two seconds, and those were when a new character came out and when the lights went off. Otherwise, she spent her time climbing on and off the seats and trying to play with the girls of our good friend, who joined us for this grand event. So by the time Dora came out, our daughter was finished. Meltdown. So I went out with her to the concourse while Dora went through the forest and saved Boots and became a princess or whatever.

It’s funny, genuinely being able to say you had fun somewhere if only because your daughter had fun. Wait, did she have fun? I think so. Who knows. At least we got her out of the house.

Ni hao! That's Chinese for, "Texas is coming back against Oklahoma, how are you not watching this???!!!???!!!


Anonymous said…
you got it right mike, what sacrifices we make as parents. Both you & your wife have just begun. Please enjoy the ride.
Joe S. said…
Ha! That's hilarious.

I always used to wonder how my parents were so out of touch with reality and how my dad couldn't follow sports as intently as I could. Turns out, it was all my fault. I feel like I'm at least a month behind the rest of the world. As far as I'm concerned, "The Office" airs on Mondays, Saturday Night Live comes on sometime Sunday afternoon, and CBS's Monday night line up plays at various times throughout the week.

I don't remember the last time I watched a TV show live.

It's all worth it though, isn't it? The smile on our kids' faces far outweighs a college football game in which the entire national championship picture has been restructured thanks to Alabama losing, which of course I wasn't home to see.

And I'm not gonna lie - I'm excited to finally meet Phineas and Ferb in person at Disneyland next weekend.
Rashad said…
Too funny Mike. Bridget and I were in San Fran last weekend to go to a wedding and visit friends and at one point there were four adults singing the Wonder Pets theme song to the kids.
I can't seem to figure out the Dora thing either. I'm convinced they've figured out a way to hypnotize kids with that show, like they've added some hidden frequency that only toddlers can hear that tells them to focus only on the show and ignore anything and anyone around them.