Other than a few minutes here or there that he saw while walking into and out of a room, my son didn’t watch any television for the first two years of his life.
Everything we’d read and been told by our doctor is that TV can have many deleterious effects on babies under 2, from a higher chance they’ll develop ADD to possibility of lower cognitive function. Nothing’s 100 percent proven, of course, and I’m sure millions of kids stared at the screen since birth and turned out perfectly fine and brilliant.
Still, we figured, why not follow doctors’ advice. When he turned 2, we slowly started introducing TV to Nate, and he’s really been good about not getting too “addicted.” The first show we played for him, though, has quickly become his favorite.
The plea of “I want to watch Sesame Street!” has become a daily occurrence in our apartment, and the little guy has really learned to love Ernie, Bert, Elmo and the gang that I adored so much as a kid, too.
So when we saw that “Sesame Street Live” was coming to NYC in February, we quickly snatched up tickets hoping the experience would blow Nate’s mind.
Saturday was the big day, and it was pretty darn fun. Maybe not mind-blowing, but seeing his face and smile when the first song came on and the characters were just 50 feet away was pretty freaking special.
Some thoughts on what had to be my first live “Sesame Street” show since the early 1980s:
— The first thing that threw me was looking up that morning how long the show was. Ninety minutes. For a show aimed at the under-7 set? Seemed like a real reach to expect kids to sit in their seats that long. Our little guy stayed interested for the 40-minute first act, walked around during intermission, and was good for about 10 minutes of Act 2. Then, he was done. Hey, at least we got that much out of him.
— One of the many touches that shows “Sesame Street Live” has been doing this awhile: In the hallways leading into the theater there were coloring book stations with little tables and lots of crayons and seats for kids who couldn’t handle sitting for the whole show. Brilliant. They also were around before the show, so parents like us kept our tykes coloring until a few minutes before the entertainment was to begin.
— There were 11 different places, from just inside the ticket booth to people walking down the aisles, to buy all kinds of SSL merchandise. And yet nowhere inside the arena was there a place to buy milk. No milk, for a show designed for toddlers? Insane.
— Honestly, a thought that kept going through my head as I watched Elmo and Ernie and Rosita and Telly all up there on stage was, ‘Man, it must be 1,000 degrees inside those costumes.'” Seriously, I’ve been inside one of those costumes once and it was brutal. Then add in the stage lights, all the singing and dancing they were doing… I bet Cookie Monster loses five pounds per show (which is good, because he eats cookies all day.)
— All in all, a really fun time. My little guy was happy all day and talking about the show all weekend, and that’s pretty much all you can hope for.
**Next up today, I haven’t watched an NBA Slam Dunk Contest in at least 15 years (maybe when Vince Carter started winning them is the last time I watched), but I am usually entertained watching clips of the stupendous dunks the winner throws down. This year, Glenn Robinson III, who is barely in the NBA, finished his winning Slam Dunk Contest with a pretty fantastic slam over a mascot, a cheerleader, and a tall fellow player.
Well done, Mr. Robinson.
**Finally today, I’m not sure if this story is more heartbreaking, or inspiring. But I know it’s both, and it’s a tale of a remarkable human being.
A Los Angeles man named Mohamed Bzeek has much love in his heart. Along with his wife Dawn, he has taken in foster children from L.A. County’s foster homes for the past 25 years, and since the mid-90s Bzeek has only taken in terminally ill children.
These are kids with nowhere else to go, who have often little time to live. But Bzeek adopts them and brings them home.
He has had to bury 10 children over the years, but before they passed, they were exceedingly well taken care of, and they certainly knew they were loved.
The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said recently. “I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.”
What an amazing story L.A. Times reporter Hailey Branson has found here. And what an amazing man Bzeek is. How many of us could bury that many children, and love them like they were our own knowing they could be gone at any moment?
He is a true hero walking among us.