Elmo In Grouchland

There was, for some reason, a recent conversation about Sesame Street.

"Like in Elmo in Grouchland,"  my husband replied in response to some important point.

"I never liked that movie," my daughter piped up.

No wonder.

My daughter recalls nothing of her diagnosis story.  She was only 13 months old, too young to remember the emergency room, the helicopter ride, the subsequent emergency room, the intensive care unit or the excruciatingly slow days on the regular hospital floor.

We had some toys with us, and the hospital had some we could bring into the room.  We had a collection of picture books, and some crayons.  There were excursions for different tests and blood work.  The nurses came and went.  But a 13 month old in a hospital crib is tough to keep busy.  Up until this point, t.v. had not been a big part of my daughter's life, but this felt like the time to let her watch a little.  Anything, really, to make the time go by.

There was a t.v. in the room which had limited channels- especially for a 1 year old.  The PBS morning shows were about all we had.  She wasn't into Jerry Springer or Days Of Our Lives.  There was also a VCR  in the room (yes- my child is now 100 years old).  The selection of videos for anyone under 7 or 8, however, was tiny.

In fact, the only one we found which seemed relevant was "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland."

So we watched it.  Every day.  For 6 days straight.  If nothing else, we reasoned, we were all temporarily distracted.

My daughter has apparently seen it since, though I don't recall viewing it with her.  But then again, I don't recall viewing it the first 6 times either.

It appears 'The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland' has impacted each of us in very different ways. How have we developed strong opinions on one hand and complete cinematic amnesia on the other?  I'll speculate:

For my daughter the movie is somehow intertwined with a week of her life which, despite not being able to recall the details, I'm certain she did not enjoy.  Subconsciously, I'd guess,  she connects that movie with a week of endless discomfort, stressed parents, and everything being very new and different.

For me, I don't think I ever really saw it to begin with.  It was on in the room, but I was so overwhelmed by the whole situation that I used that 73 minutes to zone out completely.  It was a rare moment in each hospital day when I could let my mind wander, assimilate a fraction of the new information coming at us, rest, and regroup.

Or the maybe the movie is just genuinely terrible and forgettable.

What I am sure of is that we'll never watch it again to find out.


  1. Wow, what an amazing story. I agree, I bet your daughter does remember the movie on a subconscious level.

  2. Really incredible. That must have been a really hard time for your daughter and your family. I'm so glad that at least there were some moments of distraction for you each day. I hope your daughter is doing well.

  3. How interesting... I don't remember much from being in the hospital with Elise except for the metal cage, er, "crib" she had to be in. We didn't have a TV and the playroom was always closed when she was awake (they did open it during her nap times... how nice).

    In short... it sucked as much as Elmo in Grouchland sucked.

  4. Wow, that's some pretty incredible insight about that how that movie played into everything happening then... can't imagine the memories that movie brings to your family. Bet that movie will bring some more memories as your daughter gets older and pushes to remember more about her diagnosis. Amazing how time flies, indeed, and those traumatic symbols fasten themselves into our minds. Thanks for sharing this here, and being a part of this DOC.

  5. You D-parents are rock stars!

    I look forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for visiting mine!


  6. Thank you for sharing this. I suppose it's a good thing you didn't have some noteworthy/oscar-winning movie associated with your daughter's diagnosis

  7. Oh oh oh.
    My heart aches, imagining that scratchy Elmo voice as the backdrop to all of the hospital stuff.

    Did you hear the story on This American Life about the guy whose family thought he--as a boy--was completely comatose, but he could hear everything? And they used to park him in front of Barney (the show) and he hated Barney? This reminds me of that.


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