When you think of the world’s greatest love affairs, who comes to mind? Romeo and Juliet? Napoleon and Josephine? Cinderella and her prince? History and literature, heck even childrens’ fairy tales, are full of epic romances. But surely none is so pure or true as the love affair between my daughter and Elmo.
I can’t speak for Elmo, but for my daughter, it was love at first sight. It started when she was about a year old with Elmo’s First Book of Colors. There was something about that little red monster that caught her eye. Weeks later, on a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, she became instantly enamored with Tickle Me Elmo who, mercifully, stayed at Grandma’s house. (In case you’re not familiar with Tickle Me Elmo, he giggles and talks when you squeeze his tummy. It’s mildly annoying the first 1000 times you hear “Oh boy, that tickles!” after which point you’re thinking this toy should really be named Throttle Me Elmo.) Anyway, after we left Grandma’s my daughter would latch onto any and every Elmo she saw, regardless of where we were or who it belonged to.
Thankfully, not long thereafter my friend gave my daughter a little stuffed Elmo that she could claim as her own. She dragged that little guy everywhere. She would pretend she was feeding him, pretend he was sleeping, pretend he was clapping, pretend he was reading. It was the cutest thing. The intensity of her devotion was something to behold.
The day she stuffed Elmo between a cabinet and the wall was the day I started taking pictures. At first I just wanted to show my husband some of the funny places she would stash Elmo throughout the day. The only problem was that she rarely left him anywhere long enough for me to grab my camera and snap a photo. Soon it became a quest to get a photo before she took off, Elmo in tow.
The day she sat Elmo on the back of the toilet—not on the tank but on that little part between the lid and the tank—was the day I put my camera down (and wretched). Though our bathroom is quite clean, it is not a place I like her to be, ever. Nevertheless, on this particular day I was brushing my teeth when she toddled in after me.
I was brushing away and I could hear her behind me repeating something. I didn’t think much of it at first but eventually her words broke through my early morning fog: “Brush Elmo hair. Brush Elmo hair.” What’s that now? I turned around and there she was rubbing Elmo with the toilet brush. Noooooo! GROSS! Tumble me Elmo, into the washing machine you go.
I suppose my daughter was around 18 months old when her love affair with Elmo peaked. She’s now two. Twenty-six months to be exact. I hadn’t noticed that her passion for Elmo had faded until about a week or so ago. I had put her down for a nap and she asked for Elmo. It was purely a stall tactic but it hit me that it had been some time, months even, since she had carried him around or stashed him anywhere. Longer, since I had taken any Elmo photos.
When I went in to get her up from her nap I was delighted to see she had wedged Elmo between the crib and the wall. “Look at Elmo hanging!” she exclaimed with glee. I ran to get my camera, but by the time I returned Elmo had been tossed aside, out of the crib and onto the floor.
Though she no longer has little Elmo by her side every second of the day and night, she is still enamored with most things Elmo. Sesame Street videos, in particular, she can’t get enough of.
It makes me sad to think her first love isn’t going to last forever. I’ve become fond of the little monster and I’m not ready to see him go. At least we’ll always have these photos to remember him by.
I couldn’t resist including this series of GiGi at her friend’s house with an appropriated Elmo.
I’d like to dedicate this blog to my parents (the same grandparents with Tickle Me Elmo) who have been married 49 years today. Happy anniversary mom and dad!