Monday, July 20, 2009


On Tuesday, I put on Sesame Street for Oscar while Danny was napping and I was nursing Miles. It was an episode called the Help-O-Bots. In the episode, Elmo, Telly, and Rosita dress up as the Help-O-Bots after Chris reads them the story of Rico, The Very Helpful Robot.

We came into the episode after the story, when the monsters were already dressed as robots. Oscar got very quiet and was watching them closely. The scene played out and the monsters-as-robots exited the stage. Then, Rico, the actual robot, came into the scene.

Oscar, who was standing up, started backing slowly toward me (I was sitting on the couch, nursing.) He pointed to the screen, "What dat?" he asked.

"That's a robot," I told him.


"Yes, a robot."

Then, Rico started talking.

And Oscar completely lost his shit.

He started totally flipping out in a way I have never seen before. He was terrified. He was instantly sobbing and cry and climbing over top of Miles into my lap and he stayed in this state until I was able to get to the remote and change the station.

"It's okay, Oscar, the robot is all gone. The robot is all gone."

"Robop all gone! Robop all gone!"

"It's okay, bud, he's gone."

For the rest of the day, he'd just randomly stop what he was doing, get all weepy and ask, "Robop all gone?" and he'd keep asking until he felt sufficiently reassured that the robot was indeed gone and not returning.

But, there are kind of a lot of robots in children's programming and we saw like every single one of them over the next few days and he had a mini meltdown every time.

Two nights later when I was putting him to bed, he somehow got it in his head that there were robots outside of his room. I had to show him there were none, but he was so scared. When I took him too the door he was clinging to me, like he thought I was going to throw him to the robots.

He proceed to sob in my arms, about robops downstairs, robops coming out of the TV(!!), robops coming, robops hurting! Being that I'm also pretty afraid of robots myself, he was kind of creeping me out.

After almost and hour, I got him to calm down and go to sleep. The next night when he started melting down about robots, he and I erected a robot force field outside of his door and that seemed to work pretty well and he fell asleep much more quickly. Each night that followed got easier and easier, though he has been waking with (robop filled?) nightmares.

Part of me wonders if he didn't sense me getting tense when the robot came on screen. I mean, I wasn't exactly afraid of Rico, but I was thinking about how I don't think robots are cute and funny and I'd prefer them to not be on shows my kid watches.

Whatever the reason, my kid is afraid of robots. He's completely undisturbed by thunder, loud noises, strangers, doctors, snakes, bugs, dogs, the water, bigger kids, falling down, the dark, monsters, or anything else little kids are supposed to fear. Just robots.

I think I'm going to invest in some new bedtime reading.


Kat said...

Wow, who would have thought Sesame Street could scare the crap out of a kid...

I am not scared of robots, but I have to look at the faces of dolls before I buy them. No creepy faced dolls in my house!

Sprite's Keeper said...

You found Oscar's monster.
We just discovered Sprite's monster too. Spiders and bugs. She flips out.
I'm working on her coming out tale right now..

blissfully caffeinated said...

Aw, poor little guy. Don't ever let him get an eyeful of Yo Gabba Gabba. That robot on there is mucho creepy.

Robop. That's too cute.

Krystal said...

poor baby - my kids its the zombies from Thriller - yeah, I let them watch it - I know bad mommy.

Unknown said...

poor oscar. sesame street can be scary. i was terrified of big bird as a toddler.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when they do that. It makes me want to get all the robops (or insert fear of choice) in one room and blow them to smithereens.

Casey said...

That's so sad to see them freak like that. Graham has the exact same reaction whenever he sees Map from Dora. It's really sad (and maybe secretly funny but more sad).

Cameron said...

he'll get over it. My daughter used to be terrified of the flying robot THX guy that is at the beginning of almost every disney movie....she also used to leave the room when lightning mcqueen revved up his engine when they went tractor tippin. She's over it now, but she hates thunder and lightning with a passion now.

Mrsbear said...

My youngest is pretty brave. So far the only thing to really have that effect on him was The Thriller video. Not sure if it was the zombies or Michael though that freaked him out. ;) I guess I can join Krystal in the bad mommies club.

We've never seen that Sesame Street episode though. For some reason my son snubs anything that's even moderately educational. I've tried. He could watch Spongebob all day though. :(

Rachel said...

Robops...I love toddler talk! For my son, its the hair dryer. I've never seen anything like the meltdowns he has had while I'm trying to (for once) do something to my Funny story :)

Keely said...

Because he's smart and robops are going to kill us all.

Sesame Street has scared Xander, too. Not robots - I think I've seen that episode with him and he seemed okay with it - some guy falling down the stairs and dropping cakes. We have it on DVD, so we have to distract him at that part.

Veronica Foale said...

Amy's thing was a purple box that she dreamed about. Apparently the purple box was trying to snap at my feet. She woke screaming. It took weeks for her to stop having to ask if the 'purple box is all gone now?'

Although sometimes, she still asks.

Captain Dumbass said...

I don't think my kids have ever been that scared of anything, thank goodness.