I don't get Sponge Bob. The voices are incredibly irritating. The jokes are total toilet humor. And the damned sponge? Idiotic. Who makes this stuff up? How does someone say to a studio exec: "Hey, I have this great idea for a kid's show! There's this sponge, see? And he lives in a pineapple. But not like a regular pineapple out in a field. No, his pineapple is in the ocean. And the best part? The sponge wears pants!"
Ben was 3 when I officially lost the fight. Up until that point, my personal knowledge of children's television was incredibly limited. I knew Sesame Street, Little Einsteins, and had heard of the Wiggles but wanted no part of them. Imagine my delight when my kid introduced me to most of the others...
About 2 years ago:
Ben: "Hey Mama! Go back to that channel! That's Handy Manny. He speaks Spanish."
"Hey Mama! Go back! That's Lazy Town. Robbie Rotten's the bad guy."
"Hey Mama! Go back! That's Sponge Bob. I looooove Sponge Bob!"
Me: "Um, Ben? How do you know these shows?"
Ben: "I watch them at Grandma's house."
That was one of my first lessons in parenting: When your mother watches your kid for free, you lose some power in the Limits Establishing Department.
Of course, at that point, I had heard of Sponge Bob. But I refused to allow him into our house just yet. My kid was two! No way my 2-year-old would be watching anything that wasn't quality television (oxymoron, anyone?). After a simple explanation about some shows being for older children, Ben agreed to go back to a nice "educational" show featuring a red rocket and four very cultured little kids.
But I knew that Bob was getting snuck in on occasion at the Grandparents'.
It wasn't until Aidan Kai came around that I started to, ahem, soften up a bit on The Sponge... Aidan Kai, who, let us not forget, wailed the entire first four and a half months of his life... Aidan Kai, who, to this day will not let me use the bathroom without clawing at my knees and crying "Mama! Mama! Mama!"
It is amazing how one child can change things.
It is also amazing how many things one says one will never do when one is a mother until one is one.
About one year ago:
Aidan: "Waaaaah! Mama! Waaaah! Mama!"
Ben: "Hey Mama, wanna play pirates?"
Me: "Hey, Ben! Wanna watch Sponge Bob?"
Me: "Hey Daddy! Check it out! Aidan Kai learned how to say something new! Listen!" (Points to TV) "Aidan, who's that?"
Aidan: "Spa Bob!"