Sesame Street and Ageism on Kids
“Stop that! You’re too OLD to be doing that!”
That has left my mouth, on more than one, okay, on more times than I can count, occasion with my girls. And sometimes it takes going to a puppet show to see how rigid you are, and how we sometimes unknowingly are pulling our children faster through childhood by egging them into adulthood with phrases like, “you are almost (insert the next year older they will turn),” and “when are you going to stop acting like a baby?!” Well, MOM, they ARE babies! They are babies, and we better damn well LET them be babies. This post is a reminder to myself to do that.
A couple weeks ago I was scrolling Insta and a sponsored ad came up for Sesame Street Live in Denver. It was only coming into town for one day, and it was happening the NEXT day. I mentioned it to my husband and he encouraged us to go. I think I casually said, “Aren’t the girls too old for it?” The girls didn’t hear this portion of the conversation, but then I piped up and asked them if they were interested in seeing Elmo…well, their squeals of excitement from the back seat were enough to have me consider it. The next day, the morning of the show, I still had not purchased tickets. I was still waffling on the notion that we might be wasting a lot of money for a “baby” show that wouldn’t have held their interest. When the girls came into the living room and they had dressed themselves and combed their hair, I quickly hopped online and found some seats. Their enthusiasm sold me.
Their sweet faces and glittery brown eyes, their excitement, sparked an idea! I had stored away my old ABC Elmo doll in the basement with an Elmo doll we got for Rem at F.A.O. Schwartz (before their brief closure) when we were in NYC for Christmas when she was a baby. We pulled out the Elmo dolls, and I even found a Zoe keychain I had from my teen years, I guess I was into her, and we ran upstairs to finish getting ready. We had lunch and made it down to the Denver Coliseum just in time! The last time we were all here together was for the Hello Kitty Friendship Festival- that was FUN!
I want to remember their sweet little faces, unsure of what they were about to see in a Sesame Street Live Show, their tiny little fingers clutching that fuzzy orangey-red fur in the crooks of their arms. Arlo was more giddy before show, Remy was more observant and cautious, soaking in the set from high above the arena in our seats. There’s something nostalgic and amazing about the Denver Coliseum to me. I grew up coming here for events with my family, namely the Barnum and Bailey Circus. My girls are building their little Coliseum resumes with each ticket we collect. They may never see a TRUE circus, like the type I grew up coming to, but their little tushies are still sliding around these same wooden seats, feet dangling above blue sticky snow cone messes underneath. The best show for me is always watching their reactions to the performances.
Were my predictions valid? Were my girls too OLD for Elmo? No. I think its dangerous to categorize our own children into boxes of applicability. When it comes to age, while its nice to have a guide on recommendations for quantifiable things like education, games, media, height requirements for rides for safety, weight requirements for car seats, these are all great, but in the end, there really is no AGE SET for fun, is there? For art? For entertainment? At times my husband and I were smiling, clapping, singing and stomping along with Cookie Monster too. Are we too old for Sesame Street?
While we didn’t see many, if any, children older than the kindergarten set, that doesn’t mean some who are older might not have liked to see the show. Do parents automatically filter? Sesame Street= pre school, moving along. Are marketers not reaching older children? I remember growing up watching Big Bird, when it was free on PBS. It was “safe” t.v. Allowed. Educational. I don’t remember when I stopped tuning in, but the fact that I have memories of watching it tells me it was at an age even older than my girls are now. Perhaps instead of asking ourselves,” why are kids growing up so fast these days,” we should stop filtering for them based on what our socialized constructs have told us our children should or should not be interested in at any given point in their upbringing.
A few pics from that blue-sky Saturday!
Wearing: I am wearing an old skirt from H&M, (this skirt from Topshop is great and only $25!) Vans shoes, an OLD jacket from a brand called Gsus Industries, (this one from Champion for less than $30 is cute!) a Rebecca Minkoff cross body purse I bought before my honeymoon many years ago, (love this newer quilted version in a dusty rose) and a headband from Anthropology that my girls convinced me to get.
Remy chose her Gap denim jacket for the day which I LOVE because I have had a denim jacket for her at every stage and she is just now into it. This pink one for $15 is so cute! She recently picked out her shoes from Target too. Similar “peace” tights here. Her tee is by Stella McCartney Kids and changes color with heat, but she would love this ice cream sequin shirt from Guess!
Arlo is wearing a dress from Mini Rodini, polk dot tights from Crazy 8 (which is closing!) pink Nike shoes (love these so much similar) and a thrifted velvet jacket with heart on back from Karavan.