“Mommy, maybe I can try this?” is the consistent refrain after any ad with even an iota of kid appeal.
“That’s a commercial,” I tell Thalia trying to channel my best Carol Channing in Free to Be You and Me. “It looks like a show but it’s not a show. It’s someone trying to sell us something. And sometimes those things are good and sometimes they’re not. So we need to be really really smart and look carefully at what they’re selling in that commercial and decide whether we really want to try it or not.”
“But maybe I can try that?”
“Sure honey,” I sigh. “Maybe.”
We don’t watch all that much commercial TV with her – and mostly the commercials are for other shows. Dora promoting Wonderpets, crack promoting heroin. But recently Noggin starting running some sort of insipid animated extended-length commercial featuring “The Huggies Clean Team,” which is sort of like a cross between the Muppet Babies, the Chipmunks, and a lobotomy.
Boy it got Thalia’s attention.
“Mommy! I want to watch this show.”
So I went into my commercial spiel. She seemed to get it.
The ad came on again yesterday.
“Mommy, it’s the commercial!”
“Yes, honey! You’re right! That’s a commercial.” I was so proud of my smart, media-savvy, not quite three year-old. “And what’s it trying to sell us?”
“And LOOK! That’s a funny looking snake!”
“Yes sweetie, it is. Because he is there to…”
“That snake is ALL BLUE.”
“Yes, yes he is. He is definitely blue.”
“And that’s a flamingo! Playing a banjo, mommy. A BANJO.”
“Yes sweetie. Because the commercial wants us to…”
“This is great! All these animals! I love animals, mommy. LOOK AT THAT FUNNY YELLOW FISH. Is it a whale? It’s a YELLOW WHALE MOMMY. I love that yellow whale.”
“Yes, of course you do. But sweetie, this is a commercial.”
“That is a commercial for diapers mommy. It’s not a show.”
“I love that commercial.”
“It’s a funny commercial. For diapers.”
“Maybe I can try this mommy? Maybe I can try it some time?”
The loud thud that followed was the sound of karma socking me in the gut with the force of a thousand yellow whales.