Dear Jim Henson,
Please stop torturing my children. I know you must be working very hard to do this from beyond the grave, but still. How could it possibly be that two girls are so completely terrified of the Muppets? The Muppets – the same ones that were the star of Saturday nights when I was a child, the same ones who sang “The Rainbow Connection” and “Movin’ Right Along” and who took Manhattan have now become the bane of my existence. Apparently, these felt creatures come to my youngest child at night and scare her into my bed, sometimes more than once a week, and quite frankly, I’m tired of this madness.
When Lucy was about two years old, she was completely terrified of something she called a “Babump”. We searched and questioned and really became quite concerned about her obsession with “Babumps” – they were big and furry and had large teeth – but that is all we knew about them. This went on for a very long time; she would wake up at night talking about them, she was afraid to sleep alone because they might get her. It wasn’t until about a year ago, three years after it began, that we found out the “Babumps” were part of a skit on the Muppet show. They sang with Miss Piggy, “babump babump babump cha cha…” Yes. A Babump is a singing Muppet with sharp teeth. Who knew???
Recently, Zoe has been asking me to carry her up the stairs. “I’m too scared” she says. When I ask her what she’s afraid of she tells me “from those singing Muppets.” The newest part of the madness is that every single night before bedtime? I shut the door for Beeker. Beeker…the poor guy who “meeps” instead of talking, who gets burned, slapped and shaken up…has completely scared the pants off of Zoe. “Shutting the door to Beeker” means closing my bedroom door, because Beeker apparently lives in my room. We also have to shut closet doors and put a gate in front of Zoe’s door so Beeker can’t get in. I know that this is the beginning of what I hope will be my kids’ wicked imaginations, but honestly, I am done with it. The show that Steve and I both adored as children is now keeping our daughters awake at night.
Mr. Henson, you were an amazing genius. What you did for puppetry and children’s television was revolutionary, and the Muppet Workshop continues to be inspirational for both children and adults. In fact, this all started because you are still revolutionary. I think you are brilliant, so please don’t take it personally when I tell you to please, please go away and leave my sweet girls to their peaceful sleep…we are exhausted.
Kate and Steve