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My husband and I grew up watching Veggie Tales: learning the Silly Songs by heart, sympathizing with Larry for his lost hairbrush, witnessing vegetables clap without hands, and hearing Mr. Nezzer’s devotion to The Bunny in “Rack, Shack & Benny.”
We don’t let our toddler have screen time right now beyond video chatting with family, sometimes looking at photos or short videos of herself or relatives, or the very rare short YouTube clip if I need her calm to trim her nails or do a quick phone interview for my freelance business. I sometimes play Veggie Tales and other children’s music on YouTube, but the screen faces away from her and she just enjoys the music. I bought her a Veggie Tales treasury book I scored for $1 at a consignment store, but it isn’t yet one of her top favorites (I think it’s a big long).
So I figured it would be awhile before she watched the movies and was really into Veggie Tales. But when we were at a consignment shop a few weeks ago, I saw CDs marked for $0.25. Most weren’t interesting to me, but one caught my eye.
As soon as I pulled it out, my daughter saw the bright cover and asked to hold it in the cart. Normally I wipe things off from a store before handing them to her, but she was screaming loudly in the store and I was in a rush, so I handed it over. She loved looking at the picture on the CD case. It was quiet.
For a few minutes, at least. But hey, I’ll take it.
When we got home, I played the disc, unsure if it would even work.
Dancing to Veggie Tales
It plays perfectly. She immediately started grinning and signing “music.” The CD follows a bit of a story where Bob and Larry visit a church and help the choir with their set list since their pastor is out of town. They sing with Matt Redman for two tracks (“Better is One Day” and “Blessed Be Your Name.”) During at least one or two points, the children cheer loudly.
One of the first times we were playing it, our toddler walked in the room, threw her hands up and screamed, running and grinning from ear to ear. She was copying the cheering. We’ve had her say, “Whoo-hoo!” before, but she heard the cheering and took it to a whole new level, running and waving her arms. It was great. Now, she waves and says, “Hi!” when the characters welcome a new person, says, “Bye!” when the choir children tell Matt Redman goodbye, and says, “Ru-ru-ru!” when she knows the line, “God rules!” is coming up.
The disc is cheesy (and for some reason, Matt Redman tells the kids he has to leave before it gets dark– why is he incapable of driving in the dark?) but it brings her SO MUCH JOY. And through that, it brings my husband and I joy to see her loving the music so much. Our daughter loves music of any kind– she dances and headbangs to anything from hip-hop to country music, and does a mean evil laugh when we listen to “The Phantom of the Opera,” but she LOVES this CD. She asks to listen to it at least two or three times a day, often beginning it during breakfast.
Not only does she love it, but she interacts. She can’t see Bob and Larry, the children or Matt Redman, but she knows that they’re having a great time singing and she’s joining in with everything she has.
The joys of imagination
My husband and I both grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey (and we have the CDs because apparently we live in the 90s) and we’re eager to introduce it to her. If you’re not familiar with it, Adventures in Odyssey is a children’s radio theater program. (Fun fact: Hal Smith, the actor who played the drunken Otis in The Andy Griffith Show, starred as John Avery Whittaker in Adventures in Odyssey. As long as we’re thinking of the 90s, Smith also had minor roles in Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, The Little Mermaid, and was Jafar’s horse in Aladdin– and several roles, including Gyro Gearloose, in DuckTales– plus many, many other roles.)
So we grew up with radio theater, and having to imagine what the characters and setting look like. Even today I enjoy downloading vintage radio theater to listen to at home or in my car. I appreciate the creativity you’re almost forced to use for that and audiobooks, and still remember long car rides with my family listening to “Fig Pudding” and falling asleep hearing the Star Wars: Attack of the Clones audiobook. I love that our daughter is beginning the same way with this CD— even if we get tired of listening to it sometimes! We’re all getting so much enjoyment out of something that only cost a quarter.
Does your child have a special song or album they like? What are you looking forward to introducing your child to that you enjoyed when you were little?