My youngest adores Sesame Street. It’s not something she watches every day, but if given the opportunity to watch something on TV, Sesame Street is her first pick. For the longest time, my instinct if asked who her favorite character was, would have been to answer Elmo which shouldn’t be surprising since both she and Elmo are at about the same developmental level. (Groceries’ favorite character is Big Bird because as he puts it, “Big Bird is seven years old,” and there’s something to be said for finding a bit of yourself in a character.) She had an Elmo cake for her birthday last year and so that seems most logical.
On the other hand, if I went by the wear on certain stuffed animals, the frequency with which she talks about a character, or the number of times that a stuffed version of the character comes along to the grocery store, the real answer becomes a great deal more plain.
People often look at me oddly when I say that her favorite character is Ernie and I often look back at them with the same expression. Why is it so odd for a little girl to like Ernie? He’s goofy. He has a trusty rubber duck for his best friend. He laughs a lot. He annoys Bert, but really, it’s the annoyance that comes with close friendship and what’s not to love about that?
This is Boo’s stuffed Ernie, though if you could hear her say his name you’d hear “Nernie.” The husband and I got this for her for Solstice last year when I needed one more thing to even things up between the kids. It was an after thought. I never imagined that finding Nernie would be important come bedtime (and we all know how talented Boo is at loosing things) nor that he would go with us anywhere we’d let him come.
Lately, though, his importance to Boo has become plain. The other day I went into the bathroom to find her sitting for sometimes daily twenty-minute visit (it’s anyone’s best guess as to why she does this and she will not be reasoned with even if she’s actually done). She had the Kandoo wipe container in her hands, except with the lid in one and the main part in the other. When she saw me she held up both pieces and announced, “Nernie did it.”
“Nernie did it?” I replied. “How could Nernie do that?”
“Nernie did it. Him’s a person. He did it,” she said with all the seriousness a two year old can muster.
I chuckled and fixed the problem for her before suggesting that maybe she really was done so that we could leave to run an errand. It was a cute story to share with the family and I didn’t think too much of it.
But, dear reader, Nernie has been very busy around our house since that fateful day. Nernie is Boo’s go to excuse for anything that goes wrong. “Nernie did it,” is the explanation for anything (why the back door was left open, why Boo’s coat is on the floor, why something has been spilled, why Boo’s room is a mess, why she’s still up well past her bedtime and late into the night).
Nernie did it.