Bud lost a tooth last week and the tooth fairy left him three dollars, which he took to Toys R Us to parlay (with a bit of supplemental financing from me) into a DVD. After only a few minutes browsing the video rack, Bud made his choice: Elmo's World. A DVD just like all the others in his collection. A DVD designed to appeal to children five years his junior.
I've spent the better part of the week thinking about Bud's choice and why it bothered me. Part of the issue, I have to admit, is that I am just tired, tired, tired of watching Elmo and the Teletubbies. Another part, though, is that as Bud gets older, his entertainment choices pull him further and further away from his neurotypical peers.
But, I've countered to myself in this internal debate, perhaps these are the videos that are meeting Bud's developmental needs. Perhaps they are still the videos that meet him where he is.
And then I remember Bud's echolalia, and I'm reminded of the tremendous benefit of the mostly polite and appropriate language that comes along with Bud's exclusive draw to preschool programming. I remember what happened when Bud developed an interest in 101 Dalmatians, and I had to manage scenarios like this:
One afternoon, as the result of a childcare glitch, I had to pick up Bud at school and bring him to my office in the afternoon. Bud loves coming to my office, but we are typically there on weekends, when we have the place to ourselves. This particular afternoon, though, the campus was bustling with activity and as we walked across the parking lot, Bud realized that something was different.
"No friends will be in the office, Mom?" Bud asked.
"Today is a work day, Bud," I said. "All the friends will be at the office."
Bud considered his options for a moment, then turned to me earnestly and said, "I'll pop 'em on the head. You do the skinning."
So maybe sticking with Elmo is not such a bad thing after all.