Dreaming About Sandbox Superstars…

My kids range in age from 12 to 24, so I’ve watched a lot of kids’ TV in my time.  Nothing embarrasses my children more than if I say that I think a guy on their show is “cute”.  Apparently, it is inappropriate for mothers to have lust for anyone other than Mr. Clean or the man from Glad.

My oldest daughter, Kaylee, used to watch PBS when she was little…Reading Rainbow was a show I wished she would watch more often, just so I could see more of LeVar Burton.  He had the most beautiful eyes, and a smile that would light up a room.  LeVar was a hero in my opinion, because he encouraged children to read…the only thing sexier than a man with a baby is a man with a book!

LeVar Burton...

Another show Kaylee liked was Fred Penner’s Place on CBC.  Fred was relaxed, gentle, and an awesome folk singer…he always looked good even dressed casually in jeans and a vest with his guitar slung over his shoulder.  I never felt like Fred was being condescending to the kids who watched his program.  Fred was comfortable, like a favourite sweater.  Every time I hear the song “You Brush Your Teeth,” I think of Fred.

Fred Penner...

Kaylee loved Sharon, Lois and Bram’s Elephant ShowEric Nagler was a frequent guest on that program.  In addition to being a talented musician and singer, Eric was also funny!  He had no inhibitions about acting silly, and wrote some fun children’s songs.  Eric liked to invent instruments and play them too.  He went on to star in his own show, Eric’s World, which we also watched.  Eric had a beard and liked to wear vests too…

Eric Nagler...

When Kaylee got older, she discovered the YTV network.  In between shows, YTV had personalities called “PJs” who came on and did bits…my favourite was PJ “Fresh” Phil.  He was a young Filipino man, with black hair pulled back in a ponytail.  Phil wore big rings, chunky bracelets, and had pierced ears and tattoos…not at all the kind of guy I’m usually attracted to!  I think the reason I liked him was because he was such a nice guy, smart and funny.  He was probably the only PJ I ever saw who didn’t talk at the speed of light (hard for us old folks to understand that!).

PJ "Fresh" Phil Guerrero...

Anna’s favourite show when she was small was the Big Comfy Couch.  I loved Big Comfy Couch for two reasons: The 10-Second Tidy, and Major Bedhead.  That guy successfully pulled off wearing pink and orange together, could ride a unicycle, and was delightfully goofy.  Major Bedhead didn’t care if his bright red hair wasn’t perfect!  I think he secretly liked Loonette, but she never thought of him as more than a friend…poor guy!

Major Bedhead...

Anna was also obsessed with Blue’s Clues, which was fine because I was a bit taken with its original host, Steve!  He was a good 12 years younger than I was, but that didn’t matter…Steve was cute as pie in his green-striped sweater and boyish haircut (move over, Mrs. Robinson…he’s all mine!).  I was heartbroken when Steve left the show, and they replaced him with Joe!


Hope’s absolute favourite kids’ show was The Wiggles.  Last night, she realized her six-year dream of seeing The Wiggles live – they’re from Australia, and don’t make it to Atlantic Canada very often!  Sixteen-year-old Anna and I went along too.

We arrived at Harbour Station just after 5:30 when the doors were scheduled to open, and joined the throngs of parents and their mini-mes in various moods ranging from distraught to super-hyper…I felt grandmotherly (glad I wasn’t taking any rugrats home with me).  We found our seats at the top of the Lower Bowl (medium-priced tickets…I wasn’t about to spring for $80 each to sit on the floor in a folding chair!).

The show started a little late, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.  I got a chuckle hearing the woman seated next to us explaining to her three-year-old that The Wiggles had come on a bus…it must have been a long drive across the Pacific Ocean!  Finally, the stars appeared onstage in their big red car, surrounded by the Wiggly Dancers, Ringo and Captain Feathersword.

The Wiggles make their entrance...

Then The Wiggles got out of the car, and made a running lap of the rink, smiling and waving at their screaming fans.  A lump rose in my throat, as it dawned on me just how much seeing this show meant to Hope…we were really there!  She knew all the words to all their songs, and sang along unselfconsciously, although she was one of the few 12-year-olds in the audience (I may have sung along to “Fruit Salad” – I really like that song!).  Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog made brief cameo appearances.  Everybody there had a great time!  After the show, the kids asked me who my favourite Wiggle was…I said it was the Blue one: Anthony.

Anthony the Blue Wiggle...

There’s something about prematurely grey hair that makes my heart beat a little faster…”Oh, Mom!” they said.


Filed under family, music, satire, self-discovery

36 responses to “Dreaming About Sandbox Superstars…

  1. Lots of moms are hot for the wiggles. I’m a bit turned off by their profession really. I can’t imagine a manly man wanting to beep beep the big red car.

    Very cute that this is so off putting to the kids. That’s reason enough to keep it up!

  2. I thought I was the only one who liked watching Reading Rainbow to see LeVar Burton. Thanks for the wonderful post, Jeanne

  3. Wow, I didn’t know about the Wiggles thing. Reading about your kids’ shows had me take a little trip down Memory Lane, remembering the kiddie shows I used to watch: Howdy Doody. Kukla,Fran, and Ollie. Patches the Cowboy. Sally Starr. Willie the Worm. Years later, I realized that Sally Starr was probably an aging stripper. But that’s another story. Ah, the memories.

  4. planejaner

    wow! Indeed, a walk down memory lane…
    I am still trying to exorcise Barney songs from my head…
    we used to love Zoom, Zooboomafu, Barney, Wishbone…Arthur…

    ah, alas, now we are stuck watching “adult” tv shows–Bones, Parenthood, Modern Family…
    I miss the old days…

  5. Kaylee

    Mom, you forgot one very important fact about Eric Nagler and his show. His daughter’s name on the show was Kaylee/Kayleigh/whatever and I always thought that was super cool! 😛

  6. I adored (and still adore) Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow. I faithfully watched all the shows up to Eric Nagler. I do recall Phil Guerrero, but didn’t watch him that often. Did you ever watch Zoobalee Zoo or Fairy Tale Theatre? I sometimes think that perhaps I was dreaming and that those shows don’t actually exist, but I did find them on the internet once.

    What were we talking about again?

  7. Hahahahaha. Look at the bedroom eyes on Fred Penner! So funny.

    (Wispering) I too have a soft spot in my heart for Anthony the Blue Wiggle. It’s ok…I think it’s normal.

  8. Thanks for the introduction to television programmes from across-the-pond! Don’t know any of them, but glad you had that lovely moment to share with Hope, and swoon!
    Sunshine xx

  9. smalltownbiglife

    Loved this post! My sons are 13 years apart so we did what all non-pack-rat parents have to do after garage-selling the first collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…We bought them all over again. Anthony the Blue Wiggle is hot. He kind of looks like he belongs on the Starship Enterprise. Did you manage to escape the Telatubbies? (spelling?).

  10. Hippie Cahier


    One of the best and worst memories of my daughter’s childhood was the night my car broke down on the way home from the Sharon, Lois, and Bram show when they came through on tour.

    It was freezing. It was dark. It was a lonely, scary road. And a sleeping five year old is very heavy when you’re in your dress up clothes.

    Levar Burton. Awesome. (Darn you, Thoughts Appear!)

  11. Martina

    You’ll have to tell Kaylee that I take a pilates class every week with Sharon of “Sharon, Lois and Bram”. She is a really lovely woman…very nice. Sharon is very active with exercise and dance classes etc….She never has a bad word to say about anybody.

  12. I was just talking with my Kailey a few days ago about the shows she watched when she was little.

    Wishbone, the show on PBS about an adorable Jack Russell Terrier who daydreamed of being the lead character in stories from classic literature was one of her (and my) favorites. Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street ranked high on her list as well.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane this morning:)


    • Just finished reading and commenting on your post, Diane…we seem to be on the same wavelength! My kids never got into Wishbone much…I think they found it slow. They did watch Sesame Street pretty regularly though… Wendy

  13. No Bob Ross love? I used to love watching his show. I think I can honestly say he got me into artwork.

  14. Thing 1 and I went to see The Wiggles a few years ago. It was a great show, but when it was over, I said, “I wished they’d done, ‘Go, Captain Feathersword, Ahoy,’ which I’m not ashamed to say is a great, great song. My wise little 4-year-old looked up at me and said, ‘Dad, they can’t sing everything.'”

  15. Ok. This is serious. I need to get this off my chest. I read this and it disturbed me. While I can get behind most of those choices, I maintain that Joe is hotter than Steve any day of the week. Amen.

    • Koreen, I discussed this with Anna, and we agreed that it isn’t just about looks…Steve is the most appealing of the two for us…I think he and Blue have more chemistry too! However, people have different tastes, and that’s okay! Wendy

  16. I’m glad Hope got to see her favorite show live! I’m not familiar with the Wiggles but if they are like their name, they must be fun!

    Levar Burton and premature grey (especially at the temples) will do!

    Happy Weekend! Harsha

  17. Ah yes! Fred Penner & Eric Nagler…who in Canada could ever forget!

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