Last week I was feeding the baby. We sat at the kitchen bar. The baby was in her high chair as I sat in the swivel chair spinning side to side. On the front of one of the fruit and yogurt pouches was a picture of the infamous Elmo. Out of instinct, I looked at the baby, pointed to the pouch and said “That’s Elmo.” The baby said “Mo.” She immediately repeated it over and over. I would also like to add that she does not yet say “Mama.” So one can see that would be a sore subject when I excitedly told her mom that day that she said Elmo.

I should have known that teaching her the word Elmo would be a bit problematic and scandalous as the family for whom I work is a sort of hippie-esqu bunch. They are the type that walk along the granola-lined hippie road to happiness waving peace-sign flags in tie-dyed bandanas.  I, too, relate to this, as I feel that I have am made up of big part hippie; however, I often say in my mind: “Hi I’m Lynne and I’m a TV addict.” Regardless, Elmo, television, moving pictures of any sort, do not encompass any aspect of their home or their lifestyle. As a matter of fact, they do not even own a television. In my opinion, not owning a television is sort of overrated. I mean, everyone needs smut TV outlets. Everyone needs to remember how their lives could be worse by watching the nightly news repeating, back and forth, to their spouses “How terrible! Can you believe that? That sucks!” Everyone needs to watch endless reruns of “Criminal Minds” and Lifetime movies on a rainy (or sunny, who’s judging??) Saturday with a box of tissues.

So the baby’s mom scrunched her face up and said something to the affect of “You don’t even know Elmo!” She was clearly not as amused nor as excited as I was. I laughed on the inside. The next day, I was holding the baby by the large balcony windows. We like to look outside and gaze at the Prudential, the cars and trucks, and the homeless people walking by with their stolen store carriages filled with bottles and cans that they strategically collected throughout the yuppie neighborhood. Next to the huge window stood the Christmas tree. On it, ironically, hung an Elmo ornament. The baby looked at it, pointed and said “Mo.” I decided this was a problem, although I found it very ironic. We practice saying Mama for hours each week to no avail. I think she is already rebelling against her angst-ridden mom! I knows she knows how to say Mama on the inside! I just know it! She is being sneaky in her avoidance. So yesterday we took a stroll to the library. It was nice out, a little fresh air. We walked by the giant, smelly recycling center where all of those people with their empties line up each morning. We walked by the poor homeless guy who usually seems to have wet pants. He likes saying “Hola Mami” as we stroll by. I contemplate bringing him an AA meeting book next time. We walked on.

We get to the library, settle in, and sit by the crates of board books. The baby looks inside one of the bins as she tries to pull her little body up. She makes eye contact with a book balancing on the top… with Elmo on the front cover. “Mo!” So it’s official, their little hippie-ette has been commercialized. And their hippie nanny needs to ensure that the baby can say “Mama” asap or she may be out of a job. It’s that serious.


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