Like most toddlers (including me at this age), my daughter would easily tell you if she could that Sesame Street is her favorite children’s TV show. She likes a lot of shows, but she’s in love with Elmo, so when it comes to children’s TV shows, Sesame Street is the one. Also like many toddlers, my daughter is not a very happy traveler on most car rides that are longer than a few minutes. We don’t have an entertainment system in either car, but we do have a portable DVD player that I bought several years ago for plane rides [this was before iPods had video capability – that’s how long ago I purchased this]. So why, then, has it never occurred to my husband and I that taking along my daughter’s favorite children’s TV show on a car ride would make traveling with a toddler so much more enjoyable?
As I type this post, we are on our way to my ranch. My ranch is approximately 50 miles outside of the city, and about an hour and a half from our home. This is not an unbearable distance for adults, but for a toddler, it’s torture. We tried leaving close to my daughter’s naptime, so we could take advantage of the natural “baby Ambien” effect that the car tends to provide [though only when we’re within five minutes of our destination]. It didn’t work. So we invoked the powers of my daughter’s favorite children’s TV show.
Seriously, why didn’t we think of this sooner? The first DVD I put in is called “The Letter Quest and Other Fairy Tale Adventures.” In addition to a segment in which Elmo, Telly, and Abby go on a quest for the letter Y, it includes my favorite Sesame Street segment ever, the Shoe Fairy. In case you’ve never witnessed the Shoe Fairy episode, the Shoe Fairy is NPH [Neil Patrick Harris]. I. Love. Neil. Patrick. Harris. And even more than loving Neil Patrick Harris, I love NPH singing. And dancing. I know the Shoe Fairy song backwards and forwards. And my daughter is starting to learn the words, too. In any event, she always sings the chorus with me, “Shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes, shoooe, ooh ooh, shoes…”. Watching the Shoe Fairy episode while singing the Shoe Fairy song made for a fantastic car ride.
In addition to watching her favorite children’s TV show, my daughter was eating a pint of blueberries, popping them one by one, like most people do with popcorn. This has been the calmest I’ve ever seen her on a car ride of any length. It’s been well over an hour, and she’s in a better mood than she would have been had we just been home. She’s also been so sedate, it’s almost like she’s taken a nap. One thing’s for certain, we’re never going on another car ride without Elmo.