Monday, April 02, 2007

An open letter to the Teletubbies

Guys, I need your help.

I read about your big appearance in New York on Kristina's blog, AutismVox, and about the tie-in you're doing to raise money for autism research. Then I went to check out your new website. The problem is that I checked it out while Bud was with me.

Oh, wait. You don't know Bud. Well, you probably get this all the time, but I mean it sincerely: Bud is your number one fan. Need proof? You can start here - or simply type "Teletubbies" into the "search blog" bar above. You'll be amazed by the number of posts that pop up. Bud is a dedicated, over-the-top fan. Oh, and he's also autistic.

Anyway, from the website we watched footage of you on the Today show, walking through the streets of New York and standing in front of the Statue of Liberty. And then we saw the interviews - first the one that showed you in costume, and then the one that revealed the four actors standing inside them: John Simmit, who plays Dipsy; Pui Fan Lee, who plays Po; Nicky Smedley, who plays Laa Laa; and Simon Shelton, who plays Tinky Winky. I watched Bud for a reaction: would he be crushed to learn that it was all illusion, and that you were regular people inside oversized costumes?

Just the opposite. Bud was delighted. The interview confirmed for him that you are not just characters who exist inside a screen. You are actual people who don your suits and go places. You get on airplanes. You go to New York.

You could come to our house.

Bud started planning immediately: He would write you a letter inviting you over to play. He would ask you to sleep over. It would be great. (I should point out to you here that Bud does not invite people to come to his house to play. This is a big deal. This is a Very. Big. Deal.)

I told him I didn't think you could go to kids' houses, but he wouldn't be dissuaded. He went straight to the computer and he typed like I have never seen him type before. He took care with spelling, going back and correcting the errors he spotted. He paused to consider how he wanted to word his request. He stopped typing in mid-sentence to ask me if you would have trouble getting your tummies into sleeping bags (I told him I thought you bought really big sleeping bags. Do you?) He even used punctuation - an apostrophe. I had no idea he knew how to use an apostrophe.

His letter is below, unedited. The words and the sentiment are his entirely:

deer teletubbies i want you to come to my house and play with
me and hav a bath and i dry yoer entenass i will put you in your seepingbags and you will go to mom and dad`s bed and sleep with me

As soon as he finished typing, he ran to the front door to wait for you. He was sure you were coming.

I told him how busy you were. I told him you had to make TV shows and movies and books, and that all of those things took a long time. I told him you had to do your jobs.

He said he'd wait until you were finished.

I told him that you have to work every day, and that you live in England, which is very, very, very far away. I told him it would take ten hours to fly here, and that you couldn't possibly come to visit and get back in time to do your jobs.

He suggested that we could drive to England to visit you instead. I told him that England is on the other side of the ocean, and that cars can't drive across the ocean. He said we could take an airplane. I told him that it costs a lot of money to take an airplane to England. He headed for his piggy bank.

I told him that we'd have to keep saving our money, and that when he is 18 we can take a trip to England. I have no doubt that he'll hold me to it.

So I'm sure you can appreciate the bind I'm in here. Bud will be 18 in ten-and-a-half years. How in the world will we find you when we get to England in ten-and-a-half years? And will you still have access to the suits?

You could really do us a favor and save us a long, angst-filled decade if you'd just come over for a night. I mean, we can't offer the allure of Manhattan, but there's a real charm to our tiny town in the woods. We know how to cook all your favorite foods. And you will experience a genuine, innocent, guileless love the likes of which you have never known before.

One thing I do need to mention, though: The bit about "Mom and Dad's bed?" I'm sorry, but I really have to renege on that point. Nothing personal. I hope you understand.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this. Bud is absolutely certain that his "guys" won't refuse his invitation. Just to be safe, though, I'll be saving our pennies and planning our trip to Europe in 2017.

Either way, we look forward to seeing you.


The NOS family


Club 166 said...

What a great post! Heartwarming, funny, and encouraging all at the same time.

I loved Bud's letter. You can see he has the motivation, the unwavering belief, and the persistence to pursue this.

Perhaps we should plan a "Blogger's Junket" to visit the Teletubbies across the pond in 2017.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Such an enticing invitation... I bet you had Tinky-Winky and La-La convinced. I don't know about Dipsy, though - he seems like a tougher sell. Maybe you should promise them a breakfast of Tubby custard and toast? Or Isaac Mizrahi giftbags? Just a thought... :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT! I am laughing out loud over that post.

Mom without a manual said...

I'm laughing and crying at the same time! That is great for Bud to make the invite and I so want him to get to experience it!

But sorry, I don't have any Teletubby connections. Bummer!

Maybe some "Teletubby helpers" (you know--like Santa's helpers that we meet at Christmas) can be found in your local town. Maybe one of them can wear his suit and come for a visit!?!

charmian said...

I remember the heart break I felt when Russ believed Steve from Blues Clues would sleep over.

He really, really believed it.

I had to find a blaster willing to let Russ blow up a building to get him out of his Blues Clues (part three) phase. And I did!

Russ demolished a building in Stillwater New York in September 2005. If you're ever there, say Hi to Greg Conners, the town supervisor...he was "autism friendly" before it was fashionable.

Blues Clues has returned once since then, but not as intensely. I hope your Teletubby thing is OK too.

I feel like we're kindred spirits.

Wendy said...

Wonderful letter! And what a visual of you and Bud and Dad-NOS and all of the Teletubbies in the bed together! Ha!

I do feel kind of bad for Bud though. If he seriously thinks that the Teletubbies are going to visit, he'll be so disappointed. Is this something he'll forget in a few days?

kristina said...

That's great that seeing the actors sans costumes did not phase Bud! What if the Teletubbies put together a cruise with 3 ships.....I can hear the music already.....

MOM-NOS said...

Oh my, Charmian - I hope I don't have to find a building for Bud to blow up. Somehow I think it would be easier to get the Teletubbies to sleep over.

Wendy, Bud doesn't forget things easily. But I think that by the time our conversation was over last night, he understood that they weren't coming. He didn't mention it this morning. I think I'll keep holding my breath for a while, though - it's SO hard to not be able to deliver on something that means so much to him.

Anonymous said...

Oh My,

What a wonderful letter. And like the others I am giggling and feeling the pang of disappointment too.
Seriously though, I wondered if you contacted their PR Rep, perhaps they might be able to arrange making a video mesage to him, or passes if NYC isn't too far from you.
I didn't think anyone read the pleas from the email circuit, but I heard back from Ford this past week, after emailing an sending hard copy to the board of directors. They are booking a camera shoot with us. Sometimes, it just takes the right person, to hear the right plea, to make the right decision.
My fingers are toes too.

labsurferdude said...

My heart goes out to Bud. The ability to express their interests with such passion and enthusiasm is what makes our kids truly wonderful. Our son has had a series of these passionate interests - Teletubbies was his first, and then Thomas and then Blue's Clues (with the first Steve). A healthy love of fire trucks was mixed in there also.

I think you did a great job of handling it. In my opinion, what our kids learn from a situation like this is how to go after something that they are really interested in. Even if they don't get it and are disappointed, I really think that the meta-skill, if you will, of how to express their interest and reach out for it, is learned and retained. And, ten years from now, will give him an edge over those who don't really know what they want to do or how to go after what they want.

Sometimes, if they do get what they want, the real-life situation can be too overwhelming and doesn't match their imagination. This happened to us, when at the age of four or so, our son went with his pre-school class to visit a fire station. Of all the kids in his pre-school room, he was the only one who really played pretend fireman. But when we got to the fire station, he was just too overwhelmed, even frightened, with the experience. We had a similar experience with Thomas the Train.

They sure make our life exciting - I won't have it any other way!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's worth a try, even if it seems far-fetched! Maybe we just need a FOB (Friends of Bud) club to start writing some letters....I have seen this work on other celebrities....


Connie Deming said...

18 years -- I 'm singin' for you, Bud!

Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will...

Steph said...

That is simultaneously adorable and pitiful. Is that even possible? I'm glad to hear that he's taking the letdown well, but it's still so hard to watch them get let down isn't it? I like For What It's Worth's comment that maybe if you write to them they might at least send him a letter explaining why they can't visit, even though they want to. And who knows, if they ever visit your area, they just might stop by.

But man, that was a convincing letter. I have a few letters to my congressmen that could use Bud's eloquence. Does he take requests? LOL

Katie said...

I've just come across your blog tonight (The linked post I clicked on was Toasters and Hairdriers). I've read a lot of pages. I just have to ask -- how's this saving coming on? ;)