According to the many judgy articles I have read over the years, my older daughter has watched what appears to be a lethal amount of television over the course of her short life. I tend to allow it, because I myself watched a lot of television as a child and I turned out fine (except for that time that I watched the movie IT and now I can’t be within 500 feet of a clown), and also because I need something to distract my children while I take a shower, and if it isn’t TV, it will involve either arson or nudity, or nude arson.
As a result, I am now on a first-name basis with all of the glittering superstars of children’s television– first there was Mickey and his gang, and then our brief but intense love affair with Yo Gabba Gabba. We learned Spanish with Dora and Diego, math from Team Umizoomi, and parental fat-shaming from Peppa Pig.
Every one has burned brightly in the evening hours at our house, and every one has eventually fizzled– except Wild Kratts.
In case you are unfamiliar with this show, it involves two real-life brothers, Chris and Martin Kratt, who transform at the beginning of each episode into cartoon versions of themselves. Their cartoon selves possess special creature power suits that allow them to exhibit the “creature powers” of any animal they come in contact with. Sometimes, this is awesome, like when they become lions or elephants. And sometimes they become lame animals like groundhogs or beavers. Once, Martin became a tree, which I feel like may have stretched the narrative conceit a bit too far, but I have sort of a crush on Martin, so I let it slide.
Addie may throw a few other shows in the mix from time to time, but Wild Kratts is always only a button-click away. We have seen every episode at least five times. We once watched an episode in Spanish on YouTube. (I actually don’t recommend looking up the Wild Kratts on YouTube, because for some reason, there is a whole lot of gay fan fiction out there for it? Like this video, which Addie loves, and I don’t have the heart to point out that there’s not actually a scene in the show where the brothers lie in bed naked, Martin holding Chris as he cries.) We’ve played all the Wild Kratt games on PBS Kids.
She owns her own creature power suit, and her own Chris and Martin dolls, with whom she sleeps every night (presumably not naked and crying). Addie’s favorite game is called Addie Kratt, in which she is the third Kratt sibling and I am the Kratt mommy but also all of the villains. Rosie is usually a gecko. She does not have a speaking role.
Thankfully, Wild Kratts is one of the few actually enjoyable children’s television shows out there (along with another PBS Kids show, Odd Squad, which I once unapologetically watched by myself after Addie went to bed just because it’s pretty funny). The Kratt brothers are entertaining; the show is educational and doesn’t shy away from the concept of predators and prey; and it made me look like the greatest mother in the world at the playground once when Addie pointed at some kids swinging on the monkey bars and said “Look, Mommy! Those boys are brachiating!“
Addie is turning six in May, and as her present, we’re taking her to see the Wild Kratts live and in person. What she doesn’t know is that after the show, we’re also going to a meet and greet, so she will finally get to talk to her idols in person. Or, rather, Ben and I will make awkward small talk with them while Addie spazzes the fuck out, as she is prone to do whenever she is within ten feet of anyone she even remotely likes.
All I know is this: when she saw me placing the picture of Chris and Martin earlier in this post, she looked me right in the eye and said “Mommy, one day I will kiss Chris.” Then she walked out of the room, a glint of determination in her eye.
And soon, I will have the chance to make that creepy dream a reality. Best mom ever.