No Licensed Characters Ever! (Said I, Before Having Children)

This morning, Thalia picked up the phone on the nightstand and started dialing.

“Who are you calling, Sweetie?”

“Big Bird.”

“Big Bird? That’s who’s on the phone?”


“Oh, you’re calling Elmo? I bet he’ll love that.”


“You’re calling Tinky Winky now?”


“Wow, that’s a lot of people you’re calling. You’re very popular.”


“Oh, Zoe too? And what do you want to say to Zoe when she answers the phone?”

(Long pause)

“Hey, Bert.”


35 thoughts on “No Licensed Characters Ever! (Said I, Before Having Children)”

  1. Way back before I had my first (he’ll be 11 in March) I vowed no Barney. Any other trendy exciting kid show, fine. Barney…OVER MY DEAD BODY. He was about 9 months old and I caved. I still hated it, but that grating purple dinosaur sort of grew on me and horrible red-headed stepchild Shawn they had on at that time, he became the kiddie castmember you love to hate.The torture we put ourselves thru for our kids.Now, my girlies had a brief “Doodlebops” faze that I thought would see me directly to a rubber room until a couple months went by and I think they, too, realized the Doodlebops are a bunch of crack-ho freaks. Phew!!!

  2. Hi Liz, I’ve been reading and loving your adventures in the world of 2007. Keep them coming. Bonnie K.

  3. I don’t mind all the characters (I was nanny for a while to my now almost 4 year old niece), but I won’t be decorating the nursery with them. Since kids have access to advertising everywhere they go, I’m hoping to make his room a bit more of a relaxing place. We also don’t have a tv in our bedroom, which makes it easier to keep the upstairs part of the house a more quiet zone.Is Barney still on? I know my niece loves Dora and Diego, as well as Blue.

  4. My now nine-year-old boy (and is he ever going to hate me for publicizing this) was as a toddler obsessed with Tinky-Winky (are you listening, Jerry Falwell)? We found him an old red purse, and he skipped around the house saying, “I got Tinky Winky purse!” It was priceless.Sorry, Ben. Will you ever forgive me?So, Liz, it could always be worse. Big Bird and Bert are rather mild, as kids’ characters go (although there has been some speculation about why Ernie and Bert are living together as adults, but I digress…).

  5. Too funny, Liz. Peanut does the same thing. Whenever I ask her whether she wants to give grandma a call, she says, “NO! Call Elmo!”

  6. I laughed so hard at this. Hey Bert. Thanks for the giggles. My time will come. My son is 14 months, and he just watched Bob the Builder for the first time last weekend. For now, he just watches Grey’s and House with mommy and daddy and LIKES IT.

  7. I swore, and swore (and swore some more) that my house would be a Barney-free zone. We caved in and bought a used one on ebay that has gone unwatched. Is it bad that I am incredibly happy about that? The pseudo-ban had nothing to do with a moral issue. In college I spent way too many hours babysitting other people’s children who demanded Barney and sang “I love you, you love me….” over and over and over again until I wanted to vomit.

  8. Too funny! Thanks for the laugh!I’m with the commenter above and think this sounds like a conference call. Heavy talk on the future of children’s programming. Seems Bert was late….

  9. I think it’s a bit like sugar. You might not want them to have it, but you know sooner or later their going to try.Now, is Zoe a friend or am I not watching enough kids’ tv atm?

  10. I’m sure Cookie Monster could hook you up with some Black and White Cookies. Don’t forget to give him a call.

  11. Cordy talks about Dora, Diego, and all five Backyardigans all the time. The grandparents ask us who these people are all the time, and I have to explain they’re TV characters. But I still won’t cave to Barney. I have my limits.

  12. Oy. We’re currently putting up with “Cara Bears,” which I now know I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

  13. Hmph… my oldest just called someone in China when she was a baby.🙂I wish she would have called cartoon characters instead!

  14. Somehow, Q learned all the Sesame Street characters before he had ever watched an episode. How does this happen? Is there some sort of character-dust in the air that gets absorbed by osmosis?

  15. I had the same ideals … and now our kid is dressed all in Poo (the bear) and Tigger … But I totally phazed out the Teletubbies because I found their language degrading … it might entice a 5 months old .. but after that … Recently we nearly bought mickey mouse shaped pasta … until we realized that we pay double just for the shape .. and kiddo eats pasta anyways .. so .. rather no there 🙂

  16. I was the same way, although I don’t have a problem with Sesame Street – I will never put the TV on when Barney is on!

  17. Well, I’m glad Bert could take some time away from his pigeon-watching and oatmeal consumption to chat with Thalia!

  18. LOL about her phone chatting with all those characters!My older has always been phone-shy. Now, she’ll talk a bit on it, but maybe 25% of the time. My younger plays phone and begs to make real phoen calls. Loves loves loves tlaking on the phone. I wonder about the future…

  19. Many of the things that you haven’t caved on with #1 will probably fall by the way side with #2. Not all…but many. My daughter (my #2)turns 2 on Sunday and said to me today, “Mama, I need some chocolate”. Let me tell you…my first, at almost 2, probably said, “Mama, I need some more tofu”.

  20. So far no calls to Elmo or Barney here. My son does like to call me up at work though and chat about stuff he’s done. I work in Wall Street atmosphere and people chuckle when I’m on the phone talking baby-speak with my son. Either makes me look sweet and cool or totally stupid. don’t know which one is more accurate.AD

  21. Sooo funny! I have to admit that I was the same way..but I feel like sesame street is preferable to lots of other stuff, which is why that’s what I’ll let my daughter watch. But, the power of Elmo is SCARY! I have to say though, I still draw the line at licensed characters toys and other merchandise (ok, except for the 2 elmo books we have and the elmo silverware i bought in a desperate attempt to get her to eat more veggies). I’m not tooo much of a hypocrite, right? 🙂Lovin’ your posts even more than usual lately, Liz!

  22. For your sake let’s all hope there’s some sort of <><>free<><> telephone technology available in, oh, about eleven years.

  23. I have got to stick to this no licensed characters rule for my own sanity if nothing else. My child will never know the hideousness that is Big Bird or Dora the Explorer.Incidentally I want to link to your post about at-home dads and the slew of cutesy yet demeaning labels attached to us, but I can’t find it. Where is that?

  24. Laughing my ass off.My kid always had a thing for Sesame St. But then, so did I.I loved Ernie.Oh, and the Muppets. Remember Fozzie bear?

  25. Oh Kevin, trust me you’ll cave. When you realize that Sesame Street does Law and Order parodies, has guest appearances from Nora Jones, and actually teaches kids their abcs, suddenly it doesn’t seem all bad. Just stay away from any licensed products with batteries in them. Trust me. I believe the post you’re looking for is called < HREF="" REL="nofollow"> It is 2006, right?<>

  26. Licensed characters are your <>friend<>. They are your <>free babysitters<>. They are your child’s <>preschool teacher<>. They are what let you<> blog before bed time<>.Except Caillou. That bitch has got to die.

  27. Kevin, I know where you’re coming from. But there is no escape. The Impling recognizes Elmo now, and Grover, and Ernie and Bert, and Big Bird, not because she watches tv (she doesn’t, at least, not at home) but because she sees them at the pharmacy, at the bookstore, etc. etc.Personally, I love Sesame Street. It’s hip, it’s urban, it’s bilingual, it’s more “real” than most children’s programming tends to be. And the early classic songs are pretty fun. The Impling runs around singing “Rubber Duckie”. It’s pretty damn cute.But at least I can avoid the talking, giggling character toys. She knows the names. She has a couple of vintage Sesame Street books in her ever expanding library. It’s enough.And it sure as hell is better than the hideousness of the big purple demon from beyond space and time…

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