Won’t you ride along with me

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Phoebe (the toddler) loves this cute show on PBS called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. (It’s on at 11:00 on WGBH if you’re in Massachusetts.) I love it too. A lot of TV for little kids is terrible. I could go on and on about how much I hate Caillou (that’s a post for another day) and I think Thomas and Friends is creepy as hell. The Wiggles have their moments (the new purple Wiggle is super cute) but the people in the big costumes freak me out. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is one of the only shows that consistently delivers. I highly advise you to check it out.

The fantastic thing about the show is that it’s from the Fred Rogers Company. Fred “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” Rogers! The cartoon takes place in the Land of Make Believe from the old Mr Rogers show I watched when I was little. The lessons from the show are the classic Mr Rogers lessons set to little songs. The songs are awesome because they’re short and easy for a toddler to remember and sing and they’re totally applicable to everyday life. I sing them with Phoebe, of course, but I definitely sing them by myself and I’m not afraid to admit it.

These are the lyrics to some of my favorite little songs:

“You can take a turn, and then I’ll get it back”
It’s always important to share, and lessons of sharing can’t start too early. Also, I need reminders about sharing. Don’t touch my stuff.

“Stop and listen to stay safe”
We sing this when we’re walking through parking lots since I’m certain she’s going to rip her hand out of mine and run directly into incoming traffic. She has no self preservation instinct.

“In some ways we are different but in so many ways we are the same”
The message is pretty clear cut but this is great because Phoebe sings it in silly ways at home, like “In some ways we are dinosaur nuggets but in so many ways we are juice!” and “In some ways we are bye-byes but in so many ways we are Walmart!” We go on like that for hours.

“When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four”
An excellent message. Knowing what to do when you’re angry is very important to teach little kids. Plus it’s fun to sing that song at Phoebe when she’s mad and she starts giggling.

“See what it is, you might feel better”
This is a song for kids who are fearful of things. Phoebe is not one of those kids. Some kids get scared of anything. Phoebe could stand in front of a Balrog and poke it in the eye. It’s a good little motto for when you’re feeling anxious about something.

“Everyone’s job is important, we all help in different ways.”
I’m trying to make it very clear, even now with her being two, that people in service positions are doing an important job and are deserving and worthy of her respect. I make sure she sees me thanking servers and cashiers and being polite and friendly to salespeople. I always wonder who taught the people who treat servers like dirt to behave that way and want to ask them if their mothers would be proud of that behavior.

“I love you. I love you. I love you just the way you are.”
Of course this is my most favorite and the one I sing most often. Mr Rogers fans will recognize this as one of his core messages: he loved you because there is no other you. You are wonderful just how you are. I try to tell Phoebe over and over again: I love you just the way you are. It’s important to tell the people you love that.

If you’re a person in my life I want you to know that I love you just the way you are!

Unless you are a jerk, in which case knock that crap right the heck off.

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