The Power of the Yellow Kitchen Sponge better known as Spongebob

I dashed through Target in shame last week, hoping that no one saw us or, more importantly, heard us.

We were on the fruit aisle, and my daughter screamed “Bob-Bob” with excitement.  She was pointing to apple sauce-type fruit pouches, graced with a photo of a yellow kitchen sponge with square pants on it.  I think you may know him as SpongeBob SquarePants.

Even in you are not a SpongeBob Fan, you can't help but not think this is great presentation for a child.

Baby Diva is not quite two.  She shouldn’t know who he is.  As a first child, my son was not even allowed to watch the sponge until this year. He’s almost six.  But, in our house now, she is exposed indirectly to this kitchen sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea.  It’s the only cartoon my son wanted to watch this summer. 

She doesn’t watch the show, but it’s on the TV in her company sometimes. The good news is that she has little interest in TV, but he won’t even let her watch Sesame Street if he’s home.  She barely knows the characters on Sesame Street, which are probably the only characters her peers know about, at their young age.  She knows Elmo and others because we read their books, and she wears their faces on her diapers, but, unfortunately, “Bob-Bob” has recently become a new word and idol for her.  She yells his name anytime she sees him.  To make it worse, I think she likes him.  She says his name with so much glee. 

She is now in preschool.  It is my fear that she is going to be one of those children who, because of older siblings, expose their preschool friends to things sooner than some first-time parents are ready for their children to be exposed.  My son learned about Transformers and Star Wars earlier than I would have liked or expected.  We still watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in our house when my son was three, but soon after he was in preschool, new characters came into play.  The boys who had older brothers knew about a “galaxy far, far away” and happily taught my son about Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on the playground. It was good guys and bad guys, and they chased each other around the swing set.  This newfound knowledge was out of my control and slowly creeped into my home with an action figure here and there.

May the force of second children be with you!  They are exposed to so much more at an earlier age.  I have started to accept this now as a second-time parent even though I may not be proud of it.  My children have almost a four-year difference between them.  At first, it really bothered me, and I was embarrassed that my little girl knew about this mischievous kitchen sponge.  But then something happened.  I realized the power of the yellow sponge. 

Baby Diva is a very picky eater, and, surprisingly, she turns things down to eat because she remembers the packaging and won’t even taste it to make sure she doesn’t like it.   It’s a constant battle.  Miraculously, she actually wanted to eat the apple sauce with Spongebob’s face on it.  I was pleased to know that it was all-natural, with no preservatives and 100 percent fruit.  There was not a bit of artificial anything in the ingredients.  I grabbed it off the shelf, and she held it all through the store, happily.

Guess who is praising the kitchen sponge now? And I joyfully open the refrigerator door and say, “You want Bob-Bob?”

I can also hand her a kitchen sponge, and she’ll just clean and clean.  She doesn’t even care if it is pantless.

Thanks to Spongebob, my kitchen table has never been cleaner.

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