"Mum, I'm too old for ABC kids," my five-year-old told me one afternoon as Mister Maker appeared on TV. "I'm a big boy now."
I'll admit, it was a milestone I didn't see coming. Only weeks earlier Octonauts had been one of the highlights of his very existence. Now, suddenly, he was all grown up (sob!) and wanting to watch Evan Tube. Who was this Evan chap? Where did my Dinosaur Train-loving baby go?
And why did saying goodbye to ABC kids make me feel all the things?
I, like many first-time parents, naively decided that my baby wouldn't be watching any television until he was older. I don't know exactly how soon I cracked, but it didn't take long before my son was acquainted with his new best friends, Peppa, Thomas, Chuggington and Fireman Sam. ABC Kids was the soundtrack to our days, allowing me to make dinner, throw on some washing or just enjoy a lukewarm coffee once in a while.
How did parents of toddlers cook before @abckids existed?— Matt Bevan 🎙 (@MatthewBevan) June 15, 2017
In those early, hazy months of new motherhood, I often found myself looking at In the Night Garden, wondering if sleep-deprivation was making me hallucinate or if it was just a really odd show. (Oh and laughing like a thirteen-year-old boy at the "Tittifers", because I am oh-so mature.)
And while parents are currently living through the great Play School reschedule of 2017, I experienced the great In the Night Garden debacle of 2014 when ABC moved the trippy favourite from evening to midday, (despite it - very clearly - being a night garden, not a lunch time garden).
I'd happily leave my son in front of Peppa Pig for those blissful (and far too short) five minutes so I could get something done, but I'd be sure to clear my schedule if Teo was on Play School. (Am I right, ladies?)
I'd often find myself giggling away at the Sesame Street parodies, too - a bit of light relief on what could often feel like Groundhog Day, after Groundhog Day.
And House of Bricks.
Not to mention all those celebrity cameos ...
ABC Kids was there for me during times of sickness, unspeakable hangovers, and rainy grey days. It was the babysitter who never cancelled, a beacon of colour, the right mix of entertainment and educational content. (It's totally fine that's he watching more TV. They're learning about the letter 'T' today.)
Saying goodbye means no more Justine Clarke interludes. No more "See you in the morning, hoot, hoot!" No more Jimmy Giggle and that weird Hoopla Doopla show I never really got my head around, but that had my son completely and utterly transfixed. And no more having the Bookaboo theme song in my head ("A story a day or I just won't play!"). I'll miss that lovable rogue of a rock puppy.
It's not as momentous as packing away the pram or ditching the dummy, but for some reason, saying farewell to ABC kids seems like a big deal, too. It's waving goodbye to a time of innocence, of singing songs and making craft and learning the alphabet with Big Bird. It's a reminder of time passing, of one life stage making way for the next.
So it's bye bye Peppa and George and Sarah and Duck, Thomas and Mike the Knight, and hello Evan Tube and Dan TDM - characters I'm sure I'll grow to love too. Right?