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The right to remain silent – until you can’t stand it any longer

Submitted by on Monday, 5 July 2010 No Comment

Children’s shows have felled many a strong person. With me, the waltz scene in “Beauty and the Beast” used to do it. I knew that, and used it to my advantage, popping the tape into the VCR after a bad day when I really needed to cry but just couldn’t.

With Big Guy, Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Goodbye” song did the trick, breaking down the walls and releasing what had been days, if not weeks, of pent-up emotion.

Big Guy, you see, is determined to play the tough guy during his dad’s deployment. He courageously toughs it up, facing the challenges of the absence with accepting shrugs. He did the same thing last year when Dad was in basic and advanced training. It took him until near the end of tee ball season to balk at the coach’s homeplate ritual, which included a salute. “No,” he finally said. “Salutes are for daddies.”

It was during that same era – the months after we’d visited Dad for his basic training graduation but before he came home after advanced training – that the Yo Gabba Gabba DVD entered our lives. It was a time when Big Guy was learning an extended meaning of “goodbye,” that sometimes partings last longer than the interminable wait for Mommy to pick you up at day care each day.

Boots giggled through the entire episode, laughing even harder as I disco rolled along with Jack Black. I can’t say that I blame him.  “Party in My Tummy” inspired him to make sure there was enough good food in the party, though I have to say that whole video kind of creeps me out.

Big Guy was content to ignore Boots’ “baby stuff” until the goodbye song caught his attention at the very end.

“Goodbye, see you later. We’ve had fun.” And we had, for three glorious days until it was time to part again.

“Goodbye, see you later. Now it’s done.” And it was for two more months when Dad would be able to rejoin us.

Big Guy listened for a few more seconds and burst into tears. “Ohhhhhhhh! That song makes me miss Daddy so much,” he cried.

Fast-forward more than a year, to last week, when Boots remembers the DVD and starts watching it again. Yo Gabba Gabba must be what LSD is like. You think the trip is over, but then you start having flashbacks. I was working upstairs and didn’t realize what Boots was watching until Big Guy came barrelling into the room.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh,” he cried, chest heaving. “It’s that Yo Gabba Gabba song, and it’s … making me … soooo … sad.”

I sat on the floor and held him, rocking him like I did when he was small. “It’s OK, babes. It’s OK to be sad. It’s good to let sad out, because if you don’t you wind up being mad.”

He had been mad for the better part of a week, blowing up at Boots and me for little or no reason. After each storm I’d ask if there was something he wanted to talk about, but the answer was always an insistent “no.” Until that day.

He’s been much better since. He’s a temperamental little cuss so he still throws his little hissies, but they’re nothing like the major fits we were seeing.

I doubt there have ever been any studies of the therapeutic value of Yo Gabba Gabba in anger management, but I’m here to tell you anecdotally, it works.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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