My daughter loves Elmo, but I already told you that. What I didn’t tell you is that there is an Elmo Embargo on at our house. More specifically an Elmo Video Embargo.
A few months ago, we made a big parenting mistake. We gave in to our daughter’s love of Sesame Street’s red-faced muppet and we let her watch an Elmo video on Youtube.
It was a simple mistake.
From that first video our daughter’s eyes were magically transfixed on the screen. She stared intently, never blinking, basking in the warm glow of Elmo’s crimson antics.
She was hooked from that first video – one hit was all it took.
What we didn’t realize is that you can never watch just one Elmo video. So we watched more Elmo videos. One Elmo video led to two Elmo videos. Two led to three. Three to four. And so on.
When we finally decided that Elmo video time was over, our daughter disagreed.
“More, more Elmo,” she said.
“MO’ MO’ EL-MO!” she said even louder.
Before we knew it, we were immersed in a full-on Elmo-induced tantrum.
We dismissed the tantrum as a one off event and a few days later watched more Elmo videos. Elmo videos soon became a daily activity. Elmo videos (or “Elmos”) before bed, in the morning, and after daycare.
Anytime our daughter saw a computer, she would ask for Elmos. She knew the computer was a digital gateway to the muppet.
But as her Elmo watching increased, her Elmo withdrawal symptoms became even worse. Tantrums escalated. One or two videos was never enough. She needed more Elmos. We began cycling through every Elmo option Youtube had to offer. We knew something had to change, when our daughter hit rock bottom and resorted to watching Grover videos.
Every single time we stopped the Elmos, a tantrum began. It became so bad that even the mere sight of a computer would send our daughter off.
It had to stop. So my wife and I decided that our daughter was going cold turkey. No mo’ Elmos. We hid the computers. We never uttered the red muppet’s name around our daughter.
And slowly it began to work. There were a few hiccups along the way. A daytimer caused an Elmo tantrum as our daughter mistook it for a computer. And there were a few Skype calls with grandparents where she kept demanding Elmo. But after a few days, things were back to normal.
To this day the Elmo Embargo is still on. I don’t know when it will end. Embargoes tend to be long haul operations, just ask Cuba. But one day it will be over. Maybe on her eighteenth birthday we’ll celebrate with an Elmo video.