Sunday, June 25, 2006

Attack of the Red Fuzzy Muppet

The other weekend, when Christopher arrived home from New York, he came bearing gifts, including a big bright Elmo doll for Julia with a computer chip inside, such that he (Elmo, that is, not Christopher) can repeat 25 different phrases when you squeeze his hand. Several of the phrases actually incorporate Julia's own name (courtesy of the programming skills of the toy store clerk in NYC). As in, "Hi...Julia!" "Elmo loves you...Julia!" And he's LOUD. I know: we have searched high and low for a totally low-tech Elmo doll, one that doesn't say or do ANYTHING, and guess what--they don't exist. Unfortunately, none of these noisy Elmo dolls have on/off switches either: if you don't want to go crazy hearing the same phrases over and over all day long, you have to dig around inside Elmo and perform surgery on him, removing the battery.

Anyway, as you might imagine, Julia was THRILLED BEYOND BELIEF with her gift, since she is obsessed with Elmo (again: never even seen Sesame Street, so go figure). She didn't quite know what to make of the fact that he could talk to her, and say her name. Nor was she successful at squeezing Elmo's hand hard enough to get him to talk---she needed some help with that. But come bedtime, Elmo was her first choice for a crib companion. She snuggled up happily with Elmo under one arm, her blankie under the other.

A couple of hours after Julia conked out, with the house quiet save for the static of Julia's white-noise machine coming through the baby monitor, Christopher and I were watching the recent Woody Allen thriller, Match Point, on DVD. Just as we got to the moment of greatest suspense in the film--picture the two of us leaning forward on the couch toward the TV screen, practically holding our breath while the main character snuck around his in-laws' estate after his murderous act, trying to return the gun and bullets to the cabinet before his wife walked in on him--out of nowhere, a strident, otherworldly voice shrieked tinnily nearby, "HI, JULIA!....I LOVE YOU, JULIA!"

A moment of disorienting, but retrospectively hilarious, mayhem ensued. Christopher and I both jumped about a foot, I turned to the baby monitor, waving my arms wildly, and yelled to Christopher, "ELMO! IT'S ELMO!", and Christopher disappeared up the stairs faster than he's moved in a long, long time. Elmo kept talking loudly, clearly being crushed by the toddler who had rolled over onto him in her crib, and I cringed, assuming that Julia would wake up crying any second from the noise. A few moments later, Christopher came back downstairs, holding the ebullient Elmo, shaking his head.

Stupid parents: forgot to take out the batteries before Julia took Elmo to bed. And, by the way, though Elmo practically gave the two of us heart attacks from fright, Julia didn't even wake up. We removed the batteries and then returned Elmo to her crib when we went up to bed. We still haven't replaced the batteries, and Julia hasn't said one word about why Elmo is so quiet.


squab said...

OMG. Hilarious! I can totally see it. I'm glad she didn't wake up.

11:51 AM  

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