I didn't mean to be. See, ZB likes to get up freakishly early in the morning. Freakishly early. And I do not. Which means that she has me at a disadvantage when it comes to coming up with pre-sunrise activities to keep her entertained. (I know, I know, you aren't supposed to use the tv as a babysitter, and babies her age can't process the rapid camera changes, and she will be forever mentally stunted if she so much as glances at a tv screen, but you gotta cut me some slack here! Did you read the part about it being FREAKISHLY EARLY? And there comes a point where you will gladly trade 2 or 3 future S.A.T. points if you can just distract her with the singing and dancing shapes on a screen for 5 minutes, just 5 teeny minutes so that you can slump down on the couch without worrying about her digging all of the dirt out of the potted plants or dropping cheerios down the heating vents.
So I turned on the TV.
And she didn't care one whit about the singing and dancing shapes, but I was instantly hooked.
See, the Disney channel has this cartoon called Phineas and Ferb, and it's incredibly well-written, with fabulous one liners, and an evil scientist character that seems to monologue in the same bizarre stream-of-consciousness that I do in my head all day. (Is it bad that I identify with a cartoon character as a kindred spirit? How about the fact that he's supposed to be the bad guy? At what point would a therapist start putting giant red exclamation-points in my file?)
Anyway, Phineas and Ferb are these two brothers who spend each day of their summer vacation building incredible inventions like giant submarines or space ships or robotic bulls for a rodeo. And the boys have an older sister named Candace, and she's always trying to bust the boys over these ridiculous inventions and get them in trouble with their Mom. Oh, and they have a pet platypus that is also a secret agent who battles the aforementioned evil scientist who ALSO builds ridiculous inventions in his never-ending quest to take over the TRI! STATE! AREA!
(Hmmm. When you write it out like that, it sounds kinda silly. But it isn't, I swear!)
I normally have low tolerances for kid's shows. Too many of them have kids that are bratty and disrespectful to the adults in the show, or they stereotype everyone, or they're just crazy violent, and I think that's a bad thing to introduce to your kids. But I've been impressed with Phineas and Ferb. They value imagination and ingenuity, and even though their Mom never catches them doing whatever they are doing, it isn't because she's stupid or because they're trying to be sneaky. (It's usually because a helicopter accidentally snagged it and carried it off, or aliens beamed it up, or Dr. Doofensmirtz's invisibility machine hit it right before Candace could drag Mom out to see it...you know, totally plausible situations).
So now I watch Phineas and Ferb. In fact, it has become my favorite show to watch on television. And I don't just watch it, I DVR it. But up until now, it's been my guilty little secret. If Tony came home and caught me with it on, I'd pretend that ZB wanted to watch it. (For the record, she could care less, although sometimes she will dance to the songs they sing). If someone called on the phone during a show, I'd mute it so they couldn't hear it. If there was a Phineas and Ferb marathon on that day, we found excuses not to leave the house. And it probably would have continued this way forever, except that something happened:
Unbeknownst to me, Tony got hooked on them too.
He found them on the DVR where I was studiously recording them "for ZB", and one morning when it was his turn to get up freakishly early with her, he turned it on. And the rest, as they say, was history. (Which Phineas and Ferb totally visited in that one episode when they built the time machine and went back to the age of the dinosaurs! But I digress).
Now we watch Phineas and Ferb together. (Except for today when he was totally bummed because he had to go to work and missed Phineas and Ferb the movie. When he suggested we netflix it so that he could see it, I knew we had fallen through the rabbit hole).
So yeah. I watch a kiddie cartoon. And I know all the words to the theme song. And I've caught myself saying "Whatcha' doin'?" just like one of the characters. And I want to be Perry the Platypus when I grow up. But it's all good. I am not alone. If nothing else, it's given me and Tony something new to talk about.
And when the kid finally gets old enough to enjoy it, we may even let her watch our cartoons with us.