Here’s the song reference.
For Mr. Man’s first Christmas, he received a charming toy made by the LeapFrog people. It’s a stuffed dog named Scout, and it can be programmed with a child’s name, favorite food, favorite color, favorite animal, and favorite songs. If you have a very tiny person in your orbit, I highly recommend it, as it is also very well constructed, and can survive a toddler and his two older sisters. Baby Guy has one, too. Many are the nights and mornings when Daddy and I have listened, grinning, to the baby monitor as Mr. Man and Scout have a crib confab.
We once made the mistake of trying to take Scout out of Mr. Man’s crib, in the interests of getting him to go to sleep when we put him to bed for the night. That lasted roughly two hours, which was when we decided we’d rather hear Scout singing and Mr. Man babbling and giggling than our oldest son sobbing uncontrollably. As it happens, the last we hear from Scout every night is the sound of classical lullabies, which play if you squeeze his left foot.
It is common practice at our house for the tribe to select something out of our Netflix queue in the evenings, after dinner has been eaten and before Daddy arrives home from work. The recent craze has been Spider-Man, but the webslinging hero has recently been supplanted by none other than Scout. A couple of days ago, we were surfing through the queue when Mr. Man spied Scout’s green-and-white face on one of the icons. Normally, both boys are pretty indifferent to video entertainment — Mr. Man likes Spider-Man shows because he’s a huge fan of the intro music — but his crib companion’s visage absolutely got his attention. I suddenly realized he was trying to climb my leg to get to the remote, and looked down into a pair of pleading, dark brown eyes.
“Wan’ puppy please? Wan’ Scout please? Puppy? Scout? Scout?”
Even Bugaboo and Beanie had to laugh. The video in question was an alphabet learning flick, which I figured would do no harm and was definitely more constructive than Spider-Man (although we did watch that later in the evening, too, accompanied by the dance stylings of one Mr. Man). We passed a good part of the half-hour running time of the movie instructing Mr. Man in the finer points of TV watching etiquette, which include not standing directly in front of other people who are trying to watch and not climbing the TV stand to kiss Scout. Of course, part of the instruction was also directed at our daughters, who needed a little crash course in how to properly ask Mr. Man not to block their view of the screen. Physical removal was not among the approved tactics.
Later that night, I trolled Netflix to see if there were any more of these spiffy movies. There were, of course, and two of them just happen to star Scout and his sister, Violet. If I can migrate half an hour or so of the kids’ screen time to alphabet and counting videos, so much the better. I don’t think they actually learn much from the movies, but the songs and animation are fun, and the subject matter is certainly age-appropriate.
Last night, I set up Netflix while the kids were eating dinner, so that when they finished and headed for the living room, the queue was already on the screen. It’s fun, when I know there’s something new in the queue, to scroll lackadaisically through it, hearing requests from different corners for favorite shows, and then hearing the squeals of excitement when they see the icon for the new selection. In this particular instance, I had heard requests from Beanie and Mr. Man for Pingu, Spider-Man, and Thomas (they have very similar taste in videos), then the LeapFrog video they’d already seen.
Then, what has now been officially dubbed “the Scout numbers movie” came up. Mr. Man’s eyes and mouth widened, and he charged the TV, arms thrown wide, crowing, “SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUT!” I did manage to catch him around the waist before he caused any damage to either himself or any electronics and, laughing, asked him if he wanted the Scout numbers movie.
“Yes please Scout please puppy please please please please please Scout puppy please!”
We were all laughing, even Baby Guy, and settled in together to watch the puppies learn about numbers.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the moments of silliness at our house, and thank You for the innocence of Your blessings. Thank You for these days when stuffed animals and storybooks are the best amusements, these days when we share everything. Thank You for a house that is large enough to shelter us all, but small enough that we cannot avoid one another, and thank You for the opportunities You send for us to learn to get along with each other, even on days when we’d rather concentrate on our own selfish interests than on loving each other and You. Help us teach Your blessings always that, while we use technology to learn and to amuse, wise families use it to draw closer, not to separate.