I’ve never done LSD. But I’ve seen movies. I’ve had reports. I’ve used a kaleidoscope. I can imagine.
It was (like a lot of things) himself’s fault that we discovered CBeebies In the Night Garden. He had trialled a few programmes from a very early age, propping the child up with a cushion, flicking through the channels, watching her reaction to the many colours and squawks and clinky music you associate with children’s television.
I protested that she was far too young, that there was plenty of time for television in our child’s life. But, being a Dad already (he’s a daughter ahead), he knew the craic. He knew that television would be the lifeline we needed in our lowest times of woe. He just had to find the right programme.
And then Iggle Piggle appeared. And Upsy Daisy curseyed on. And the Ninky Nonk broke through the bushes. Jackpot.
I had no idea what impact these colourful, mismatched characters would have on our lives. I couldn’t have predicted that I too would fall in love with these creatures straight out of your worst LSD-induced dreams
We have come to the very firm conclusion that whoever made this programme has absolutely, without doubt, dabbled or been addicted to mind-enabling drugs. It may have been LSD. It may have been a bad cookie in Amsterdam. It may have been a bad accident that sent the creative director’s mind into a coma for a number of weeks. Whatever happened, the results are only amazing.
We now worship this programme. It calms our little girl down. It’s the last thing she watches before going to bed. And if she does waken in the middle of the night and won’t settle, we bring her down for a bit of Iggle Piggle love.
As we’ve watched episode after episode, listened to the Pontipines spit and skittle and longed (through exhaustion) to climb into Upsy Daisy’s bed ourselves, I’ve come to realise that there are many life lessons we can teach our children while watching this fascinating drug resulted programme.
Here are the top ten life lessons we can all learn while subjecting our children to In the Night Garden.
There is none. Things are big. Things are small. Some things that were one size at the start of the programme are three times as big by the end. Noone notices. Especially children. This is a good lesson. Children: size doesn’t matter.
2. The birds
Freaky feckers. Colourful, out of tune, dip dapping, whistling birds. They appear in between scenes for no good reason. Get used to them. They serve no purpose. That’s the point. You will come across many noisy, useless, beings throughout your life.
3. The love story
Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy have a thing going on. When they greet each other with a kiss, it goes on a bit too long. Sometimes Iggle Piggle gets into Upsy Daisy’s bed. It’s all very suggestive. But they never act on it. Lesson number three: a bit of sexual tension keeps things interesting. Don’t ruin the relationship by going too far.
4. A trip on the Pinky Ponk
Everybody at some stage takes a trip on the Pinky Ponk. The Pinky Ponk is a zeppelin like green machine that takes the characters on a ride most days because there’s not really a whole lot else to do in the night garden. Slurpy juices are mandatory inflight. Next life lesson: it’s important every day, to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
5. Makka Pakka’s trolley
It looks like a bike. But it’s not. It’s a handlebar with one big wheel. And a sponge and a bar of soap. And a contraption to squirt water at the Tomliboos. And a flute. That’s it. Makka Pakkaa pushes it around like a crutch he can’t leave home with. Next lesson children: it’s ok to be attached to useless objects.
6. The dancing
Whenever a character appears, they are mandated to sing their own song and the dance that comes with it. Every character has one. Soon you will find you know the words and when said character appears, you uninhibitedly break into your own version. This is fine. It teaches you that valuable life lesson: dance like nobody’s watching. Your child doesn’t count.
Makka Pakka’s dance is the best. So here it is for ten minutes, non-stop. You’re welcome
7. Dental hygeine
It’s very important to keep your teeth clean. The Tomliboos are experts at it and don’t so much as brush their teeth, but their whole lower face. They also have special music to help them. You should play this while you brush your own teeth. Might help you reach those hard to reach areas.
8. The Wattingers
You will feel overjoyed when the Wattingers appear. They are rare. Only brought out for special occasions. Same with the Harboos. You’ll cry: “Look, look the Wattingers,” to your husband when he comes into the room. Because that really will have been the highlight of your morning. Life lesson number eight: what’s rare is wonderful.
9. The crazy days
Some days just be crazy. You might feel like running at the walls or screaming. Days like this happen in the night garden too. The Pinky Ponk might go off course. It might crash into trees. It might go a bit LOO-LAA. This is another important lesson children: we all go a bit crazy sometimes. Just try to keep those days to a minimum, for Mammy and Daddy’s sake.
10. The self-obsession
The characters like to talk about themselves. A lot. Upsy Daisy is the worst. She never stops droning on about herself. She even has a big megaphone into which she shouts ‘Upsy Daisy, Upsy Daisy, Upsy Daisy’ all day long. We get it. But children, remember. Nobody likes people who talk about themselves all day. That is why you must educate yourself. Learn how to hold a conversation. Explore the world. Become interested in other people. And importantly, don’t watch too much TV.
Do you and your children watch In the Night Garden? What do you think of it? What other important lessons are there to be learned?