Welcome to a recap of the toddler television event of the season: the birth of Daniel Tiger’s new sibling. Do you have wine? I hope so, because I am knocked up and sadly without.
Meet the central figures of our story. At left: Daniel Tiger, who has apparently murdered Mr. Rogers, stolen his cardigan, and taken over his show. In the middle, Mama and Papa Tiger. Mama Tiger is apparently about to have a baby (today, even), though her happy expression of inner peace makes me wonder if she’s actually pulling a fake-belly-Beyonce move. Papa Tiger looks appropriately uninterested in the proceedings of the day. At right: Grandpere, Daniel’s French-accented grandfather, complete with beret, nautical jacket, and tinted sunglasses.
(There are no tigers in France, PBS. I’m on to you.)
(Wait, Wikipedia informs me that tiger gestation is roughly 3-4 months long. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t look like she wants to kill everyone around her.)
Grandpere helps Papa Tiger pack Mama Tiger’s hospital bag. I can’t stop laughing at the idea of what would happen if my husband and father-in-law packed my hospital bag. I am confident it would be roughly 60% snacks, so hey, points for accuracy, PBS.
At this point, they all introduce the earworm song for the episode, “a new baby is coming to our family …” et cetera, et cetera. It’s here that I turn to my husband and we have the following conversation:
Me: Is this auto-tuned? Like, a lot?
Husband: It’s a cartoon.
Me: Yes, but shouldn’t there be actual people singing?
Husband: It’s a cartoon.
Mama and Papa Tiger go “to see Dr. Anna.” It is unclear as to whether Mama Tiger is in labor, having a scheduled C-section, or going to be induced, but she doesn’t appear to be in any sort of distress.
Grandpere will be watching Daniel while Mama Tiger is in “labor.” Or, you know, yelling at her surrogate and burning her fake belly.
Mama and Papa Tiger hop aboard Trolley to go have this baby. I hope Trolley has seat protectors. Godspeed, Trolley.
While Mama and Papa are off “having the baby” or whatever, Grandpere is in charge. Daniel shows him how he vandalized (ahem, decorated) the baby’s room already, and Grandpere’s all, “uh, sweet artwork, bro.”
They read some book Daniel liked as a baby. It’s called “Margaret’s Music.” SPOILER ALERT.
Grandpere suggests going to the park to pass the time until the baby arrives. Daniel and his friends appear to drop acid and venture into a weird baby band. Even my own toddler gives me a “WTF, mom” look at this point.
Then, after their casual acid trip, they learn that the baby is here from an elderly bicycle messenger and rush to Dr. Anna’s.
They sing the earworm song. Daniel’s all, “whoa, a sister!” They share a heartwarming moment and then she busts out of her crappy swaddle job.
Can we discuss for a moment that this has all transpired over the course of ten minutes or so? Do you want to know what I was doing ten minutes after birth? I was giving my husband very specific orders as to what to purchase me at Steak n’ Shake while nurse interns mopped up what looked like an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
We certainly weren’t rubbing noses and saying “ugga mugga,” is all I’m saying.
Oh, the baby’s name is Margaret. FYI.
Not surprisingly, Baby Margaret is all “eff this noise” and starts wailing while you see echoes of deep regret burrow deep into Daniel’s soul.
Do tigers eat their young? Because I feel like that topic should really be addressed at this point. (Google informs me that yes, they do, but it’s mostly the males, so watch out for Papa Tiger … although in my earlier jaunt to Wikipedia, I learned that tigers usually have litters of 2-3 cubs, so WHERE ARE THE OTHERS, eh?)
Surprise! Time to go home. They dodge the breast versus bottle debate by letting the men go check out the wheels on the “carriage” while Mama Tiger feeds the baby. How gender normative of you, PBS. Also, nobody calls it a carriage, ever.
There’s some sort of processional through the city. I don’t know. I’m pregnant and I can’t drink wine and I’ve already seen this episode six times thanks to my toddler. Margaret meets a baker, is ogled by an owl and cat, and receives some sort of royal proclamation. Quite a day.
They get home. More crying. Talking about big brother stuff. I’m too distracted by the fact that Mama Tiger is wearing the same outfit she wore during labor. I see no blood, poop, or milk stains, and maintain that there is no way she actually gave birth. Also, she walked home from the hospital without a hint of waddle.
They get home and there’s some sort of home tour. Oh good, Baby Margaret knows where the breakfast nook is now.
“Mama, why is the baby crying?” Because newborns are jerks, child. Because newborns are jerks.
Mama Tiger changes the baby’s diaper. Baby Margaret is already smiling and laughing, apparently, and is extremely developmentally advanced – because as we all know, babies who look like angry old men and smell like a dairy gone wrong don’t translate to compelling television.
Baby Margaret continues crying. Daniel reads her the book he’s been chasing her around with since birth, and she stops crying – because we all know that works in real life? Let’s inflate this kid’s sense of self-importance some more, shall we?
The show ends with some sort of misty retrospective about how Daniel’s been such a big helper, and another auto-tuned-to-death song about love or whatever.
At this point, my toddler realizes the end is nigh and starts signing “more? more?” frantically and gently roaring at the TV. Because I am not a masochist, the TV goes off and we head downstairs to play with glitter, Play-Doh, finger paint, and other toys that are less irritating than the new baby song stuck in my head.