The year is 1993. I am a university student. I am not married or a parent (yet) and I am watching a trick or treat segment on David Letterman when a girl goes dressed as Barney “after he was hit by an 18-wheeler.” I think it is hilarious. I can’t stand Barney. I vouch that when I become a parent one day, I will never let any of my kids watch Barney.
Fast forward to the year 2000. I am now married and a parent with two kids. I have not compromised my no-Barney principle (yet). My kids have their own favourite show – The Wiggles. I am cool with it. Jeff, Anthony, Murray and Greg cannot be compared to the purple dinosaur. Sure they sing. Sure they dance. They even have a friendly dinosaur, Dorothy, who loves to eat roses. Yet, The Wiggles are a breath of fresh air in the land of educational children’s programming. Love them or hate them, it is unavoidable what effect they have in their melodic ability to entertain and engage parents while strumming to kids with such songs as Monkey Dance, Yummy Yummy and Dorothy the Dinosaur. They are the one show that gets my kids dancing and moving in a way no other show has ever done.
We are such avid fans that we take our kids not once, but twice over the next couple of years to see the Wiggles while they are on tour in Canada. My second, who is such a huge fan but not all prepared for live musical performance that when he sees them in person, he hides for 45 minutes in my husbands shoulder and only turns his head for the last 15 minutes to catch the finale.
Fast forward to the year 2012. Our fourth is now 2 and we cannot help but introduce him to The Wiggles. We are all nostalgic. Especially my 12 year old son who loved them when he was also 2. Will he like them like our others did? I score a 3 DVD box set in a garage sale, after scrummaging every Best Buy in the area to find 2 DVD’s that feature Greg, not Sam, since our kids never knew him in their day.
It is a huge success. Our W loves the Wiggles as much as his older siblings did. He dances, moves and squeals just like them. My sister, who lives in Australia, even takes heart and mails W her own kids once loved Wiggles figurines (pictured above) so he can enjoy them as much as hers did.
So we are saddened when we hear the news that this year marks the final days of the original Wiggles gang. The Wiggles are retiring. Minus Anthony (the blue Wiggle) who will stay on to hand the baton to 3 new Wiggles that will continue the enterprise. In a moment of weakness I even check their tour dates and contemplate a final live concert but the tickets are a bit on the steep side for even the most nostalgic fan. Bye bye Wiggles.
So what does this have to do with Barney you wonder? After 10 years of parenting and avoiding the purple fiend, our fourth is given a box of reversible puzzles featuring all the characters every kid loves – Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends, Pingu and yours truly, Barney. That’s right. My son’s favourite puzzle is Barney. We do what any loving parent would do – we cave and let him watch Barney on Netflix. What cruel parent would ever laugh if Barney got run over by an 18-wheeler?