Coming Around. Although Not Entirely.

Where did the cynical media bitch go–that inner snarkmeister who insisted, pre-child, that Barney is the devil and will never set one blubbery purple foot in my living room or anywhere near it should I eventually procreate.

(This is not to be confused with my cat, by the way, who is indeed The Devil. Barney is just a devil. Perhaps one of Desi’s minions, here to do her bidding on earth.)

Um, no. He does not rock. In no world– this or any other–could anyone make a decent case for Barney “rocking.” And it’s not just the tambourine.

This morning, barely more than one year after giving birth I found myself doing the previously unthinkable: I tuned into Barney.

I went right to the kids on-demand channel, scanned past Bob the Builder, Teletubbies, and even (gasp) Sesame Street, and clicked on Barney.

Now it’s not as if I’ve come to love Barney; bite your tongue! The kids on that show tuck their shirts into their jeans in that way that’s sure to get you beat up behind the tire swings during lunchtime. The black kids look like they were cast from the Bryant Gumbel school of ethnic diversity, ready to break out into Tie a Yellow Ribbon any minute. Not one song has a modicum of soul to it, and the rhyming schemes surely have Mr. Geisel rolling over in his grave. The dance moves (Jazz hands, everyone! Jazz hands!) make me want to kick the choreographer in the face with his own 80s-era Capezios, and the dinosaur’s voice – my God, if there is one voice on this planet that could inspire spontaneous seizures it is most certainly not Mary Hart’s.

But you know what I’ve learned about being a parent? That walking around town with maple syrup on my pants is not the worst thing in the world. Also: It’s not all about me anymore.

And so this morning I put on Barney. Voluntarily. Of my own free will. For my daughter, who seems to like the bloated beast, bless her undiscerning little 15 month-old heart. I even sang along with the songs for her.

The things we do for love.


64 thoughts on “Coming Around. Although Not Entirely.”

  1. I did the same thing with Barney & Telitubies. I swore I’d never watch either, then found myself watching both at one time or another. But I still think they are both horrible & can’t figure out why kids like them so much.

  2. OK, but just try to keep the talking Barney toys out of the house. Maya had one that was soft and lovable, that she slept with. Another that was hard and talked, and I swear, it was Satanic. Of course, she loved that one, too.

  3. Barney has graced our television set. The lame songs got stuck in my head and that’s when I decided that he and his devil ways are not welcome here. Really if Barney is a devil he should have much better songs that DO rock.Thankfully with the half a dozen children’s channels, including On Demand and a box of children’s DVD’s, there is no reason to torture myself with the jolly fuchsia dino. (He gives purple a bad name.)

  4. Ah, Barney, the dinosaur that galvanizes parental ire throughout the nation! And yet children love him so — last winter my daughter saw Santa Claus and Barney in the same parade, and Santa barely rated a smile. Barney, though, was greeted with jumping and cries of joy.I don’t get it, either.

  5. L.A. Toddler doesn’t like Barney! Yes! And I didn’t even have to make fun of him in her presence! But I’ll probably pay for it karma-wise and she’ll be a big “boy band” fan…

  6. When your toddler sings “I Love You…” TO you for the first time, it will make it all ok. The song inspired fear in my heart sans children, but it was very sweet to have Lizzy sing to me.

  7. Mother’s love is the most powerful thing… I’ve been suffering through the same “baby einstein” video (on repeat) for the past 4 months…

  8. i like barney + i don’t care who knows it. he’s polite + the kids are polite + clean. we even bought “barney in outer space” the space rocket is psychedelic + a real astronaut comes aboard for a visit.

  9. Ha ha. Sucka.I totally get this; I have rallied against disney since the day the stick turned blue, but recently my mother brought over a VHS tape called ‘Sebastien’s Sing-Along’ or something (as in, the crab from The Little Mermaid), and of course, my little bumblebee was hooked. Like, baby-crack hooked. And my dad lives very close to Orlando, so how can I possibly deny her a trip to the most commercial rip-off on earth? So, there go my convictions, but do you SEE how happy my kid is?!

  10. Yeah, I sure as hell don’t watch SpongeBob because *I* like it…I did manage to keep Barney out of our home until we moved here and the little girl next door handed down a stuffed “Baby Bop” doll to Tacy. Because I adore this little girl, I couldn’t bear to pitch Baby Bop with that week’s garbage.However, she is definitely in the bag of goodies for Goodwill. Baby Bop, I mean. Not our neighbor.

  11. Are you sure you’re not ill? I can’t do Barney or Dora or Telletubbies, but I do a ton that I said I wouldn’t do. You are right though, we do it because we love them and it makes them happy. But for the love of god, not Barney. I’ll tell you what bugs me about it, the kids are too old and it creeps me out. The dam dinosaur I could deal with and the songs….but not the kids.

  12. Oh, you are brave.I can’t stand the purple monster, and he’s not welcome in our house. I’ll put up with much of the programming for kids out there – Dora, Oobi, Higglytown Heroes, Wiggles, Blue’s Clues – but the dinosaur is just too much. He makes me want to beat my head against a wall. Luckily, the few times Cordy has seen him in passing, she’s had no interest.

  13. We’ve, on occasion, watched Barney. But we lucked out … The Other Mother does the Barney routine and we get Little Bear. (and Pinky and the Brain. … I know, that last show’s not appropriate. But I’m willing to risk it.

  14. OMG, your description of the kids on the show and their horrid songs and dance moves is so spot on, I almost laughed loud enough to wake the kids (which is a sin in this household). I really, really dislike Barney (but put up with it) but then came along The Doodlebops and I flat-out told my kids that I hated them with a passion and could not allow that show on in my house. Wiggles? Sure! Teletubbies? Come on in! The Backyardigans? No problem! But, the Doodlebops? Lock your windows and doors and keep them away!

  15. god. i totally know. my kid got so sucked into Dragon Tales i was actually WISHING she’d watch Barney. I wrote a post about it a while back, even. It’s frightening how many things I’ve done that i swore i’d never do…but at least you are hilarious about chronicling it….

  16. Barney? *shudder*There are a lot of kids TV programmes I will endure – some I even like (yeah I’m just a big kid at heart really, you should see how many Disney movies I own) but Barney is not one of them!You must love your daughter a lot 🙂xXx

  17. Barney and Doodlebops are not allowed in this house, and all my monsters know it. They also know it’s because I hate them (the shows, not the kids). They’ve seen them at other people’s houses, and the baby likes them, but wow I can’t stand them. Oobi, Wonder Pets (the current favorite – Sunny loves that damn duck), Teletubbies, come on it, but those other shows are verboten.Incidently, I wasn’t going to let my kids watch any tv. That was killed when Trout was soothed by the Law and Order theme by the end of my maternity leave.

  18. Ryan loved Barney when he was a baby! I have a great photo of him at 7 months old, sitting straight up and staring at the TV the first time I put Barney on.The songs are easy to sing along too, and the kids learn good manners. And the “Clean Up” song, do they still do that one? I would rather watch Barney than Oobi ANY DAY.

  19. My husband has out for Braney and refuses to let our daughter watch it. I just want to see what happens once the kid can talk. I am sure he will break down too. As for me, I never watched the show so I have no idea. But, I just hear the same thing from everyone: Barney is evil. Must die. Tell you the truth, sometimes I wish my kid was into these TV personalities. Then I’d be spared from doing ring-around-the-rosie 800 times!

  20. Wow, Liz, you went above and beyond. I would take a bullet for my kid, I’d step in front of a bus to save her life, but I have to draw the line at Barney. This is all subject to change at any particularly cranky moment, of course.

  21. That is true love.I haven’t been asked to make that kind of sacrifice yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. Right now, we’re still happily enjoying Bob the Builder and Pingu. And Monday Night Football. My husband has taught the kiddo to say “foo-ball” and throw his arms in the air when someone says “Touchdown.” So educational, expanding that vocabulary!

  22. On my local PBS station all during this past summer, Barney came on right after Sesame Street. I would let my son watch Sesame Street in the morning so I could eat my breakfast in peace and get dressed without a child clinging to my leg, and sometimes my morning prep would routine ran over into the Barney time slot . . . and once he saw ten minutes of that show three or four times, he was hooked, and started crying when I would turn it off. Gah. I find the show intensely creepy. I try to just ignore it when it’s on. Now that it’s fall my PBS station has changed its programming, so I think it will be easier to avoid . . .I suppose I could have turned the kid off it by telling him Barney was bad or something, but I don’t want to impose my tastes on my children. (My father had me convinced for a decade that I hated mustard, just because he hated mustard and therefore wanted everyone else around him to hate it too. It turns out I actually rather like mustard. So, I’ll put up with the purple devil. *sigh*)

  23. I haven’t resorted to turning to Barney (yet) but I know it’s inevitable. I may as well succumb to it now. BTW, Barney Halloween costumes for toddlers on on clearance right now online. Just fyi.

  24. This too, shall pass. We were finally able to add all of our Teletubby videos to our monthly donation pile last week! I could not be happier and they will not be missed!Carrie

  25. I too gave in to Barney. At least he teaches nice lessons. The only one I forbid is Teletubbies. Something tells me that the fact that college kids get stoned and watch them should keep me away…

  26. I always laugh when people are so adamant about not letting their kids watch irritating-but-innocuous t.v. shows. If there is any rule a new-ish parent needs to learn, it is, “Never say ‘NEVER’ about something that is not truly dangerous!” There may come a day when you might need to employ the “Clean Up” song to escape a doctor’s waiting room or playdate gracefully. It’s not like those annoying high-waisted-jeans-wearing Barney kids are brewing up stuff from “The Anarchist’s Cookbook” inside that clubhouse, you know?

  27. I swore no tv for my kid, but,I gave in to that when I found out sesame street held her interest long enough to do the dishes.I must say though, that Barney would be crossing the line as well as Teletubbies. I think we’ll just stick to Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and even Mr. Rogers. She goes nuts with the Muppets! Loves it! Our house has been, consequently, Henson-ized. I have no problem with that.

  28. For me, the Rubicon was the Teletubbies. But I happily crossed when I realized that she loved it, that it made her clap, and that it bought me 25 minutes of hands-free time (I’m now actually a total convert to Teletubbies and could give you a full Cultural Studies grad seminar’s worth of deconstruction of that show.) As you say, it’s not about us anymore. It’s about them, and about whatever the hell works.(Jazz hands!!!!)

  29. Barney isn’t inevitable (I believe him to be the evil’s spawn!)I can go with the maple syrup on my pants, but I’ll take the Teletubbies over the purple guy any day.

  30. I’ve got a library of Barney tapes/DVDs you can have. Iris has FINALLY grown out of them. But, for a while there was nothing else allowed on the TV but purple and for the record (and I’m not ashamed to say it), I really didn’t mind. At least those kids are polite and kind to one another. My biggest peeve are the shows that try to teach how NOT to act by displaying bad behavior. What the hell kind of deal is that??So, want my Barney stuff?

  31. Take your video camera and film yourself giving educational lessons to your little one. Then put them on the tv and see if she doesn’t think it’s awesome. Don’t settle for Barney, it diminishes you both.

  32. I’m with you girlfriend. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would welcome an early morning song and dance from four men in brightly colored shirts. Now? They allow me an extra 20 minutes of rest, bless you Wiggles, bless you.

  33. I’m a little past the stage where Barney is even an option on the television in my home. Right now? It’s football. In fact, I was asked to <>please change my purple shirt since we’re not rooting for the Vikings<> which I find highly amusing since we’re talking about that big, purple dinosaur in this post.But. I digress. And I also repress. But, whatever.So what I’m thinking is that the wholly hip woman I know (tis, you, my dear… should you not know of whom I’m speaking) and adore needs a day with the adults. The ones who care for her and DON’T let her watch Barney. Or at least let us teach you to tune it out so it doesn’t affect you too much while you allow Thalia to watch. She’ll be fine. Really. It just bounces off of her eventually.But you? I’m worried about. I’m on my way over right now. 😉

  34. I was fortunate to miss the whole Barney phase. He wasn’t so popular a decade ago, and Bug never understood television.However, with the adoption on the horizon, I am fairly certain I won’t escape. But maybe I can steer my next kid towards the Doodlebops or the Wiggles instead. Because the big purple dino just makes me want to smack something…

  35. You’re on the right road for the right reasons, even though Barneyville is just the beginning…I drive a minivan these days, and my kids are fluent in Disney-speak. So much for pre-baby declarations.

  36. Me too. I have even sunk so low as to know the words to the Barney song and my youngest possesses a lurid purple soft toy Barney. The Barney video is aired as regularly as the tasteful BBC Beatrix Potter story videos, which are beautifully animated and parent pleasing. But I draw the line at the Bionicles movies – plastic lego fighting robots on another planet at war with no human characteristics whatsoever, please nobody give one to my son for Christmas.

  37. I’ve been there and it ain’t pretty. I’ve weathered just about every toy, action hero and freaky stuffed television star fad there is. We even survived the exodus of Steve from Blue’s Clues. That was a sad, sad day. I think that Barney was actually the lesser of several evils we endured. The Power Rangers phase was really bad, and lamentably enduring. But you have a girl, so maybe yours won’t be as bad. What the heck ever happened to cool, original characters that kids could identify with? I LOVED Easy Reader from the Electric Company. I still have a little bit of a thing for Morgan Freeman because of it. And I had the hugest crush on Luis from Sesame Street. And let’s not forget Electra Woman and Dyna girl, or Wonder Woman. Strong, resourceful women that girls could identify with and emulate. Children’s programming just ain’t what it used to be. Just wait until they want to watch “Grim And Mandy” which is possibly the stupidest and most annoying cartoon EVER.

  38. Try thinking of Barney as retro. Really, think about how the kids dress, the clumsy attempts at diversity, the choreography, the sappiness. It screams out 70s. It’s bad 70s TV that talks about manners and being nice. And don’t worry, it wears off. A couple years of intermittent Barney and then it’s toxic to them. I promise.

  39. I’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to avoid the shows I really dislike in this house — Barney, the Teletubbies, and the Doodlebops. I have developed a tolerance for Dora, Diego, and everything Disney Princess, but I can live with those.

  40. OK..but after two months straight of that, it gets frustrating when you’re out running an errand and you find yourself humming Baby Bop tunes…

  41. Here, here! Run for office, woman! You’ve got my vote on The Loathing of Barney alone! And you’re 10,000 times better than I am because I am still enforcing the Barney Embargo of 2001. “Oh no, you don’t want to watch that. That’s not a good episode. That’s the one where Barney gets sick and they have to go to the doctor’s for shots and the nurse is really mean and then they clean their room when they come home.”I’m going directly to hell, I know.

  42. The only thing my kids and I gleaned from Barney was the “I love you, you love me, we’re one big happy family…” song. They’re older now and we all admit- Barney is a big, old, purple lame-O!

  43. Fear not. I committed a similar sin when my boys were young. Desperate for a moment of silence, I think we’d do almost anything.

  44. P has watched Barney at school on “movie day”. I think I put it on for her once at home and it was when she was home sick. I’m kind of a snob about her TV consumption. Her class performed a Barney song – “Down on Grandpa’s Farm” at the Moving Up Day ceremony in June. When we were filling out the questionnaire that her new teacher had handed out asking for the children’s favorite things she told me that it was her favorite song. Uuuugh!Oh, by the way if you have On Demand – take a look for BBC Kids. It should be on the Kids On Demand channel. There are several really cute programs on there that P LOVES (especially Andy Pandy) and the best thing is that there are no products to buy (oh and they talk funny too).

  45. Eeck! I know it was for love…but I still hurt for yuh! I successfully taught my daughter that Barney was a “dweeb” and actively encouraged those acid-trippin’ teletubbies instead! I found the repition way easier to take than those Barney kids. She loved Lala….and really, who could blame her?

  46. I have, on occassion, suufered through Barney, too. Fortunately, it is not one of the kids’ favs and the older one will sometimes spontaneously clean all the toys off the floor while singing the “Clean Up, Clean Up, Everyone do their share” song.

  47. Those kids are actually aliens. I’m sure of it. Next time put on your tin foil hat and you can hear what they are REALLY saying to your child.

  48. It’s Dora for me. Barney I’m lucky enough to have avoided, but god help me, when she was sick last month I totally caved and bought a Dora DVD and let her watch it endlessly, although I hate that little kid.

  49. I have taken it a step further and say to my son, “Barney loves eggs and cheese, can you eat a bite like Barney does?” My son is a teeny, non-eater type, so whatever works. But I never thought I’d see the day either! Seems the show teaches good lessons though. Look both ways when you cross the street set to music sticks in your head…Lisa

  50. Wait until your child is older… maple syrup and Barney will seem like chump change in the piggy bank of sacrifice.🙂

  51. Oh, I’m still stuck on the fact that your kid will actually. watch. TV. Trust me when I say that Barney is a small price to pay for a half an hour of an entertained child so that mommy can take a shower/drink a cup of coffee/answer an email.

  52. My husband and I were just talking with my 15 year old about how addicted he was to that purple dino when he was young. We even hired a purple dino and green dino along with the backyard gang for my 14 year olds 1st b-day. SO…putting on an episode for Thalia must seem so minor now compared to the extremes we went to for the children. My oldest said he doesn’t remember a single song, so I broke out onto:hey mr. knickerbocker boppity bop I lika the way that you boppity bop hey mr knickerbocker boppity bop …..Oh yeah … clicked right back in his head.Perhaps I should have used the subliminal messages for something more useful than mr. knickerbocker.

  53. I used to work at this really popular nightclub in downtown Detroit. So one halloween a costumer sent us a barney costume by mistake and everyone thought it would be funny for someone to wear it around the club that night. So I volunteered. Well, I got locked out of the service entrance at one point, wearing the costume, and it just so happened a performance of Sesame Street live was letting out down the street. I was instantly mobbed by children. Picture me in a Barney costume banging on the service entrance trying to be let back in with about 15 3-year olds literally grabbing my ass. Hahaha.

  54. I had a friend in high school who was actually one of the kids on that show for awhile. It haunted him FOREVER.I took the baby to my grandparents’ house the other day, where they still have a lot of kids toys from when my cousins and I were little. They almost pulled out the Barney toy, but I insisted the baby play with a broken merry-go-round thing instead.

  55. I was so there with you. (And I didn’t know we had kiddos almost the same age!) But talking of music with soul, has anyone seem that darn “Blue Zoo Train” song? It’s on one of the darn kids channels on cable. Blech. That song will stick in your head for days!Barney is a sure sign you love your children more than yourself. 😀

  56. Perhaps the best thing about becoming a parent is losing your selfishness and realizing that there is not one thing you wouldn’t do for your kid. Not one.

  57. i have yet to partake, but i’ve been told that barney isn’t as bad as we all made him out to be. still, i resist.but i know for certain if mina suddenly took a shine to him, i too would be watching the stupid purple dinosaur.

  58. Yep. I capitulated too, and it was mercifully brief. May your time in Barney Purgatory be short as well.

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