Infants Have the Most Puerile Sense of Humor

It’s true. Infants have a fiendishly juvenile  sense of humor.

For instance, my newborn son always waits until the precise moment when I have opened the diaper to let loose with his best impersonation of a fire hose. It doesn’t matter if I open the diaper and immediately close it, expecting Old Faithful. Then he just bides his time. He also saves his most prodigious bowel movements for the seconds after he’s freshly changed.

 When my son pulls either of these two particular maneuvers, I usually favor him with a special scowl reserved for the occasion. He stares back with that most communicative of infant facial expressions that says, “Look buddy, my arms don’t do what I want. My legs don’t do what I want. Not even my head does what I want it to do. There is exactly one area of my anatomy over which I have a modicum of control and I’ll be darned if I don’t use it for maximum comedic effect.”

I can’t really blame him though. An infant’s entire existence centers around bodily fluids and the like. I’m not sure exactly where to stand in the debate of Nature vs Nurture, but I know that each one of us is, at least in part, the product of our environment. The life lesson that I choose to pull from this experience is to be aware of what’s filling up my environment. It may be coloring my view of the world more than I realize.

Sesame Street Ep. 4181: Rated PG-5 for Mature Content

The other day I put on an episode of Sesame Street for my 21-month-old son to watch. After about five minutes, I turned it off because I saw what I felt was content that was too mature for his tender age.

What could I possible mean by this?

The episode in question starts with Elmo and his human friend, Leela, getting ready for some lunch. A second later, Bert wanders onscreen like a zombie, grabs some of Leela’s lunch and yells, “Mine!”

Within a few minutes, Grover and Cookie Monster have also stumbled onto the scene, yelled, “Mine!” and made off with part of Leela’s lunch.

Now, I saw where the episode was heading, but I’m 25. I understood that those beloved monsters were acting completely out of character and I was expecting it when a news anchor informs us that Sesame Street has been struck with an epidemic of Mine-itis.

I knew it was going to end up OK, and that they’d all be sharing by the end of the episode, but my son is at the ultimate stage of imitation. He repeats words and mimics actions without thinking. I’m pretty sure all he saw were his favorite monsters grabbing things and yelling, “Mine!”

Am I mad at Sesame Street for airing the episode? Not in the slightest. Their idea was perfectly suitable for a child a few years older who can grasp the concept. It’s up to me to decide what I let my kid put in his head until he’s old enough to decide for himself.

Maybe I’m not giving my son enough credit, but I wasn’t willing to risk our own house suffering a bout of Mine-itis because I bet our episode wouldn’t be tidied up in an hour, less time for commercials.