Musings on Little Ones: Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Blue’s Clues

Nick Jr. Blue's Clues Steve Blue Mailbox Mrs. Salt Mr. Pepper Paprika preschool toddlers TV
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Blue’s Clues was my daughter’s first TV show. For my daughter’s first year, she watched no TV. Not surprising since how many infants watch TV, right? But there was one person in the house watching TV. Whispers…me. That’s right. Once my daughter was born, I morphed from non-daytime TV watcher to glued to daytime TV watcher overnight.

Before my daughter was born, I watched TV….but not a lot. To be honest, I can remember very few shows that I watched regularly. My husband videotaped General Hospital each day — no DVR in the 1990s, kids — and watched while we ate dinner. We watched the various Star Treks…Next Generation, Deep Space Nine. I watched a lot of news shows…20/20…and many hours of CourTV. Remember CourTV, Dan Abrams, and the exploding dragon cake ads.

I was home all day long with an infant. My days were a blur of VERY early wake ups to a squalling baby, diaper changes, laundry, bottle making, squeezing work in between intermittent, unpredictable naps, and half-baked (ha!) attempts to make edible dinners for my husband. I was tired…dead tired.

I was exhausted from the moment I heard the baby cry out each morning. I was always on the verge of nodding off. Coffee helped, but even coffee wasn’t enough. I would lie on the floor and play with her but my eyelids would droop. I was paranoid about falling asleep and leaving her unattended. But just exactly what would my non-mobile baby have done during my slumbers?

Nonetheless I was worried about falling asleep so one day I turned the TV on for background noise. I didn’t plan on being a daytime TV watcher, but once the TV was on I liked the background noise. I watched early morning news, followed by Good Morning America, followed by Regis & Kathie Lee. Once Regis & Kathie Lee signed off morning TV became a wasteland.

Regis & Kathie Lee Live was a silly show with silly celebrity interviews and viewer call ins, but this show was high brow compared to the George & Alana Show. Oh my that show was a trainwreck. When my daughter turned one, I noticed that these morning talk shows repeated show themes. Watching the Regis & Kathie Lee Wedding Special for the SECOND time was enough. I had to make a switch.

A friend told me about Blue’s Clues. She said her 1-year-old LOVED the show. My 1-year-old had never seen a kid’s TV show…not even Sesame Street. I turned Blue’s Clues on and that was that. My toddler was transfixed. She watched the whole episode with rapt attention. That she sat through a TV show was a surprise.

Blue’s Clues became a bright spot of our mornings spent at home. It was a joyous 30 minutes where she and I would watch together. We watched through her toddler years, through her sister’s baby and toddler years, and even when both kids were preschoolers. We loved Blue’s Clues! We would sing “We just got a letter” together, then sing it again walking to the mailbox. Honestly, I still sing that song in my head whenever I put a letter in my mailbox. I always wonder what letters will be in my mailbox. And of course I also speak with a French accent when passing someone “Mr. Salt” and “Mrs. Pepper”!

What was your favorite part of Blue’s Clues?

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