Meg and Clare are 18 months apart. For the first 16 months of Meg's life, I kept her away from the television. But just before Clare was born, I began to realize that I would at times need a way to occupy our very rambunctious Meg while caring for our newborn Clare. (And yes, I know many mothers would scrunch their face in a disapproving manner upon hearing I chose to introduce television, but whatever. You do what you have to do to survive.) I began to look for a show that might hold Meg's attention for a short time. I tried a few shows, but she had no interest. Then one morning I turned on Curious George and our lives were forever altered.
Curious George has always been there for us. Curious George's adventures have inspired our adventures. We've gone through corn mazes, because in one episode George and his country friends went through a maze. We've spent time at farms, because George spent time at farms. We spent time at museums, because George spent time at museums. Just after Meg's third birthday, I took her to the Museum of Natural History and she spent the entire time looking for Professor Wiseman (the brilliant female scientist on the Curious George television show). Meg's fourth birthday theme was Curious George at the Museum, which highlighted all the areas of the Natural History Museum with books, puzzles and coloring pages that featured Curious George with dinosaurs, ocean creatures, etc.
Our love of Curious George was not limited to television. We also fell in love with the Curious George books. Among Clare's first words was the phrase, "It sank," which she said as we would come to those words in a Curious George book (one of the short ones based on the television show about a model ship contest). When we started reading the original Curious George books, my husband and I were a little taken aback to learn the poor monkey had been abducted from Africa. After getting over this shock, we grew to love Curious George Goes to the Hospital (one of Clare's favorite books of all time) and we spent many hours reading Curious George Learns the Alphabet (there are many abbreviated versions of this book out there, but the full-length book is fabulous).
Every once in awhile, Meg will declare that she is too old for Curious George, but she always get drawn back in. Last Fall (when I was expecting Baby Anne and needed a rest in the afternoon), I encouraged Meg and Clare to watch Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest and they were hooked. This very amusing tale of "No-Noggin" became one of their favorite movies and worked its way into their imaginary play and storytelling. (The movie also proved to be a great help in explaining why scary stories exist--which is a big question at their age.)
On mornings when both Meg and Clare are in school, I occasionally find myself flipping through channels as I fold clothes. Inevitably Curious George is on and I get a little sad that my girls are growing up and aren't there to watch the episode. On a recent Saturday afternoon, the girls were a little tired. One of them grabbed the Kindle and they curled up together on the sofa to watch Curious George. I sat across from them (folding clothes again) and smiled at the fact that my big girls hadn't grown up too much. When Meg and Clare do finally outgrow Curious George, I'll at least have Baby Anne, who I'm sure will be a fan as well. If not, you'll find me secretly watching Curious George by myself after I've sent everyone to school. I do so love Curious George.