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Mommy's Turn

I feel it’s only fair to take a moment and give you my point of view on the whole Check-Up Time Elmo thing, since Maddie’s entry (see previous blog) came across a bit harsh.

So here’s my side of the story.

A couple days before Christmas, I was busy opening all the boxes we’d been sent by out-of-town friends and family. One box, sent to Madeleine, came from Amazon and I thought I knew what was inside. Opening it up, I found a pre-wrapped gift. As I started to pick it up, I heard a very distinct and unforgettable voice say, “Are you giving Elmo a check-up?”

I swear, I about peed in my pants from fright.

Opening up the enclosed packing slip I discovered that no, it was not what I’d thought, and yes, indeed, it was a Check-Up Time Elmo sent from dear Uncle Daniel. Which is fine; Maddie loves Elmo and this gift seemed a sure-fire hit.

What I didn’t know was that this Elmo could also be known as “Chatty Elmo Who Talks Without Provocation.”

Gingerly carrying the package up to our living room, Elmo again started talking to me. “Will you take Elmo’s temperature? Elmo has a boo-boo! Can you listen to Elmo’s heartbeat?” Elmo was polite, but insistent. As I brought it into the living room, Brian looked at me in alarm.

“What is that, and why are you making it talk? Maddie’s right here!” And indeed, her ears had perked up at the sound of her furry friend’s voice.

“I’m not making it talk! It’s doing that all by itself! I’m not touching it!” I snapped back. Brian looked at me skeptically, but Elmo fell silent after a few minutes and Maddie settled back down.

And then came the night.

Two o’clock in the morning, and I’m jolted awake by a cheery voice saying, “Are you giving Elmo a check-up? La la la la, la la la la, la la la.”

Yes. With absolutely no one touching it (cat safely asleep on our feet), Elmo had Awakened and was talking. And would not stop.

Brian jumped out of bed as if the house were on fire, even as I was frantically hissing, “Shut it up! Shut it up before she wakes up!” We both knew that a Madeleine awakened by Elmo at 2 a.m. was not a Madeleine we wanted to deal with. Quick as lightening, Brian was grabbing Elmo and dragging him safely out of earshot.

Tiptoeing and holding Elmo gingerly in front of him like the ticking time-bomb it was, Brian crept downstairs to hide Elmo in a closet somewhere. Fortunately, Elmo stayed silent while in earshot, though Brian told me when he returned that halfway downstairs Elmo started singing the “Check-Up Song.”

We decided it was best if Elmo stayed out of sight until the very minute he was to be unwrapped.

Of course, Maddie unwrapped this Elmo and fell in love. Of course, she loves this one best of all and LOVES getting him to sing the “Check-Up Song.” Over and over. Fortunately for us, Elmo’s settled down a bit and no longer spontaneously breaks into conversation or song; he must have been sitting just right in his box. And even better, the thing’s got an on/off switch. When we’ve had enough, we explain to Maddie that Elmo’s gone night-night. So far, she hasn’t figured out how to flip the switch underneath his t-shirt on the back, but she stares intently while we do and has gone so far as to thump his back saying, “Wake! Wake!”

Listen, if this Elmo makes Maddie a little less fearful of a doctor’s visit, I’m all for it.

But a little quiet goes a long way.

And Daniel – I’ve got the song memorized and will be happy to sing it for you when we get together again.


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