An Afternoon with Elmo, Curious George and my PBS Kid!

Danielle and PBS SoCal

Danielle and PBS SoCal

As a recent transplant to Austin, Texas, I now miss many of the top-notch blogger events hosted in California. Since I am never one to miss a party, I decided it was time to recruit a West-coast correspondent for Laptop TV Mom, and my choice was easy:my best friend Vicki. She lives in Orange County, is super-smart (engineer, MBA), has two adorable children, is married to a handful of a husband, and is a great writer. She and I love the same books, have polar-opposite tastes in movies, and we both love being Mom.

Vicki recently represented Laptop TV Mom at a party to celebrate the new PBS SoCal. Enjoy her inaugural post!

– LTV Mom

Vicki, Danielle and Elmo

Vicki, Danielle and Elmo

I had a brief moment of panic, shortly after the first of the year, when I went to turn on Curious George (aka “Monkey George” in our house) for my 3-year old, and it wasn’t there. I checked the time in my head and also confirmed it was indeed a weekday … no chance it was a Saturday and I could go back to bed. I checked the TiVo guide and none of our favorite PBS shows were scheduled for that day or any other day. PBS Kids programming has been around since before I was a kid! Could we all still live in a world without Sesame Street? What had happened? A quick online search indicated that I only needed to move four channels up the dial and all would be well again. Whew! Minor crisis averted, but I never knew exactly what had happened until this week.

My daughter Danielle and I were invited to the PBS SoCal launch in Hollywood to represent the Laptop TV Mom blog. All of Danielle’s favorite PBS friends were there, including that lovable red monster, Elmo himself. We arrived on a beautiful 72-degree January day with blue skies and a hint of magic in the air as we entered the Jim Henson Company lot. After some time in the sunny courtyard at brightly colored tables filled with crayons, activity books and games, we were entertained by an interactive Sid the Science Kid on a big plasma TV. Watching a group of twenty local first-graders “talk” with their equivalent of a rock star was a spectacle to behold. The enthralled, giggly group asked Sid lots of silly questions, tempered with a few that were science in nature. He was a master at playing along with the kids - rolling eyes, quirked eyebrows, funny facial expressions and all.

We then moved onto the Henson soundstage for a presentation by PBS SoCal President, Mel Rogers, and Jim Henson Company CEO, Lisa Henson, where they explained that KOCE is now the new full-service PBS station for Los Angeles and the greater Southland area. They will still be delivering the same high-quality local and national programming we’ve come to expect, just with a new name to represent their focus audience – PBS SoCal. During the presentation, special guests - Elmo, Sid the Science Kid, Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, and Martha from Martha Speaks - were the star attractions. The bigger-than-life plush characters kept kids and parents alike spellbound as they led the kids in a sing-a-long, skit, and brief show.

As we waited in line outside for our chance to be photographed with Elmo, I quickly realized that we needed to have a serious mom-to-kid discussion - afterall, Elmo was sitting with a very nice man (Kevin Clash) who was moving his arms and legs with plastic sticks and speaking in that lovable, unmistakable Elmo voice. Danielle nodded in understanding and didn’t seem fazed at all. I was a little sorry to have to take some of the magic out of it for her … that was, until she was sitting at the dinner table that night, retelling her adventures, and explained to everyone that the Elmo in our picture was just a puppet, but the REAL Elmo had been inside during the show, sitting up on the big velvet purple box and singing to them. A slow grin spread across my face as I realized the magic was still alive!

A big thank you to the folks at PBS SoCal and Jim Henson Company for an unforgettable afternoon!

- Vicki Halphide

Vicki and her daughter, on behalf of LTV Mom, were invited to the PBS SoCal event and received a meal and give-aways. No blog post was required to attend the event. These words are written by Vicki and are unedited.

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