Charlotte’s princess love runs deep. That’s typical for a 3 1/2 year-old girl. But, a new love has taken us by surprise. Love? Obsession? Call it what you will, but a new cartoon has become a huge part our lives. Actress Lily Tomlin’s voice fills our house and pipes out of my iPad everyday. Little Richard’s catchy theme song haunts my dreams. I sing his tune in the car and in the kitchen.
I hear, “Mama, do you want to play Magic School Bus?!” All. Day. Long.
For the uninitiated, “The Magic School Bus” is an animated series that originally aired on PBS in the mid to late nineties. It was based on a series of Scholastic books. It ran in syndication for awhile in the early 2000’s. All of this happened way after I was into children’s programming. I have Netflix and my step-brother, a well-meaning millennial uncle, to thank for introducing my daughter to this show.
Apparently Ms. Tomlin won a Daytime Emmy for her starring role as Ms. Frizzle. Ha! She’s got nothing on me. I play the role of Ms. Frizzle constantly. From the moment I am out of bed, through baby brother diaper changes, in the preschool carpool line, while I’m answering emails and even when I’m on the commode, I am Ms. Frizzle.
I hear, “Ms. Crizzle?! Ms. Crizzle?!” through the bathroom door. I say, “Yes, Ralphie?” You see, Ralphie is her favorite of the gang. I’m not sure why. He strikes me as the chubby slacker with his cap on backwards, but apparently she digs that. I then need to think of some adventure for this group of ethnically diverse tweens while incorporating elementary science education. Biology? Physics? Physiology? Climatology? Pick a concentration. I’m pretty proud of our trip “inside a flower” the other day. Without getting all “birds and bees” I successfully drove the bus through a flower, pointing out pollen, nectar, the stamen, the pistol, stem, roots etc. I should find my fifth grade teacher on Facebook and thank her.
I feel really guilty, but I must confess I’m getting pretty sick of it. It’s exhausting. I even suggested we play “Frozen” the other day for the millionth time, simply for a change of pace. Playing “Frozen used to be easy until Elsa froze something and the Magic School Bus slid on ice. I had to explain salt melts ice, not acts of true love. Charlotte knows that I am utterly repulsed by the episode where the bus gets into Ralphie’s bloodstream through the scab on his knee under his Band Aid. So, she loves to discuss that one. Gag. Some of the books we found at the library are over her head at age 3, so she focuses on the kids and their relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that she loves this show about science. It’s a really good show. It’s very educational. I hear your argument, “Amy, we need to promote science and math to our girls!!!! STEM!!!! What is wrong with you?!?” I get that, but having to act it out all day is wearing me down. I don’t want to squelch her enthusiasm, but sometimes I need a break from driving the bus.
But, then she says, “Mama, my white blood cells attack the inflection!!!” ::sigh:: That bit of learning alone makes pretending to drive a bus through a scabby knee less gross. So, I’ll see you tomorrow on the bus, fighting “inflections” and doing my part for STEM education.