Every morning when the Bean wakes up in her crib, the first thing she says isn't Mama and it isn't Dada. It's Emo. "Emo, Emo, Emo.” She repeats it over and over again until one of us gets up out of bed with our eyes have open to lift her out of her crib to change her and get the ball rolling. Then, after she has a fresh diaper, Elmo's world, here we come. The moment I let her down to the ground from my dresser (her changing table), she marches like a robot from our bedroom to the black leather couch in the living room. She climbs up, gets comfortable, and when I catch up to the animated speed demon, she hands me the remote control, points to the TV, and smiles. "Emo." So I turn on Sesame Street and the magic begins. She claps and makes faces and makes sounds to form words that she can’t quite say yet. She goes into an instant PBS coma. I could dance in front of the TV (and yes, I’ve tried many times) and she doesn’t acknowledge me. It feels as if I left the room. While she’s having her morning entertainment, I head off to the kitchen to prepare her organic milk and purple plastic cup of cheerios. It's hard to believe just a few months earlier, I would’ve never left her alone for a second. But that was before she met Elmo. The only one in the Yo Gabba Gabba galaxy who can hold her attention longer than 30 seconds. Not Bob, not Jack, not Muno and not Ming Ming.
In the beginning, Brooke and I planned to keep TV away from Bean until she got a little older, but after a while we realized that certain shows were actually educational. Sesame Street is the best. Vocabulary, numbers, and good ol’ fun. After all, we all grew up with Grover, Cookie Monster, and the Count and we turned out all right. I think we did anyway. But what makes Elmo so special? So unique. A four-fingered shaggy, fiery red moppet with an orange nose who talks like he swallowed a squeaky toy? I don’t know the answer to that. But if it keeps the Bean occupied in the morning and Brooke and I and Bean and Elmo can sit around like a family before she tears apart the apartment and there’s toys flying everywhere, then Elmo, I raise my glass. Keep on tickling on.