It’s the thankful season. And as a mom, a woman, a human, I have so much to be thankful for in this world. I have a lovely home. I don’t go hungry- unless it’s day ten of my husband traveling, then I probably have eaten toddler scraps and chips and wine for ten days. I am healthy (please don’t see the previous statement). My family is happy and so am I. But, I have to say there is one person or shall I say, people, I need to thank profusely – the creators of Daniel Tiger.
When my daughter was born in November of 2012, I foolishly thought that while she was awake, I shouldn’t watch television. And if I did, that it should be educational. Every morning, I would get up and I would turn on PBS Kids. I got excited about Sesame Street and I think that’s where this whole thing started. I felt nostalgic about how long that show had been around and how wonderful it was that I could share the same characters I loved as a child with my children. But before that show came on, there was this show called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”.
Nostalgia set in once again – Is this based off of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood?! No way! It’s an animated, updated version based off the weird tiger puppet that I also watched as a child! This is going to be amazing!
Soon, I started to realize that Daniel Tiger was kind of a scaredy cat. Everything was scary or bothered him. I felt like his cute little tiger face was whining right at me through every episode. I began to loathe Daniel Tiger. I remember thinking I wanted to tell him to shut up and get over it. Gosh, Daniel Tiger, life is scary and weird and you need to stop whining about all of it! Stop it!
I started skipping Daniel Tiger showings and putting on anything but PBS through his hour block. By the way, an hour block?! How can anyone watch this? It’s like torture! Clearly, this will be cancelled in due time. Worst show ever. What a shame to Mr. Rogers’ legacy!
But then, my little baby grew up a little. And she started getting an opinion about her shows. And she started getting an opinion about a lot of things. And I started realizing she really related to this whiny little Tiger. And she was telling me about how to do things better because of him.
It really all started with the potty training episode. It’s about sitting on the potty and flushing and washing and it became the only request in our house. It was the only thing she wanted to view. And she started telling me about using the potty. And it became the beginning of a relatively seamless and amazing path to basically self-potty training.
Additionally, all we have to do is sing songs to work through other issues. You don’t want to eat your food? Okay. But what would Daniel Tiger do? He would try something new because his mom sings a song about it. Okay, I’ll try this miso-glazed sea bass and asparagus, Mommy! Wow, this is so yummy! (Maybe this is a slight exaggeration.)
You are sad because you have to stay with a babysitter while mommy gets her once-a-year night out with friends? Well remember, grown ups come back! Yes we doooo! Okay, Mommy! You're right; my friend Daniel Tiger said so!
So, Daniel Tiger, I owe you one big apology. I misunderstood you and your purpose. You are a wonderful and smart and brilliant little tiger and I am so glad you are around. If it weren’t for you, I would have no idea how to speak to a toddler. Please, never go away. Please, makers of Daniel Tiger, keep making quality programming. I’m so sorry I used to hate you; I was just in a new mom haze.