How to get to Sesame Street

Last weekend, my life took a rather unexpected turn … directly onto Sesame Street.

I got an email from a very kind co-worker on Friday afternoon offering me free tickets to "Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music" at the PNC Center the next morning. My first thought was, "nah." First of all, I wasn't sure my sanity could take the battering that 90 minutes of Elmo would dish out. And secondly, since Nora has never really been that into "Sesame Street" on TV, and she'd never been to a movie or live theater show that long, I wasn't sure she'd like it.

But then I realized that "nah" wasn't the right answer.

I should expose my toddler to as many artistic experiences as possible, right? Sure, "Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music and Parents Buy $10 Balloons with Money They'd Really Rather Spend on Beer" is much more of a commercial endeavor than high art, but still. It's theater. It counts.

Plus, free.

So on Saturday morning, I put myself and my 3-year-old in semi-nice outfits (because theater, dangit!) and we headed to the PNC Center. I packed a bag full of snacks and bribes and noted all the exits nearest to our seats in anticipation of the need for a swift escape. I set my hopes as high as intermission -- if we could make it that far, I would consider the outing a success. And worth the drive over.

But Nora surprised me, as she does nearly daily lately (usually in a good way). She took her seat (well, my seat, via my lap), was cool as a cucumber when the lights went down, and … hold on to your hats! … paid attention. The whole time.

We made it through the singing, the dancing, the bright lights, the tense moments when Elmo hadn't appeared on stage for two entire minutes, and all the rest of the drama unscathed. Nora had a great time, and even I managed to enjoy myself (except for the Mr. Noodle segment. No sane person can possibly enjoy that.).

And the very next day, instead of saying "nah" to "Sesame Street" when it was time to watch a little TV at home, she said "Oh yes PLEASE!"

Dora the Explorer is sooooo last week. Now we're hanging with Elmo (ug) and Oscar the Grouch (yay!). And now that I know that "Sesame Street," the show, has some pretty great celebrity guests -- Conan O'Brien, Will Arnett, Steve Carell, and that's just the episodes I've caught this week! -- I could really learn to like it here.