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Tube Time and Mind Control

Maria cut out a Sunday newspaper ad for a fancy, princess-like bedroom set. She said it was the room of her dreams.

"That is a really nice room, but we can't get that for you right now. Maybe one day.''

"But mom, you can do like the commercial says, you don't have to spend another dollar. It's what the retailers don't want you to know.''

My kid quotes commercials. Sometimes word for word in a very freaky, and sometimes all twisted up, little way.

I keep notes:

"You know OxiClean can take out the spills, splatters, and stains?''

"You know Geico is like real money?''

"The amazing cube is like fitting four storage bins in one bag! It keeps out bugs, air, water, stains, and ticks.''

I think she ad-libbed the tick part.

My 5-year-old daughter gets maybe two to four hours of TV a week, always the pre-school cable channels and never that horrid talking sponge. The quoting has been happening since this summer when she insisted we get the Aqua Globe "the glass ornament that waters your plants for you, mom!''

She was beside herself with joy when she discovered a friend of ours actually had an Aqua Globe, begged me to get one and reminded me that "your plant stays watered for up to two weeks.''

When I shared this with my mom's group, I was shocked to discover other 4- and 5-year-olds do the same thing.

One friend said her daughter followed her around the house repeating from the Aqua Globe commercial: "You won't have to lift a FINGER, mom."

Another friend whose daughter has watched fewer than five episodes on commercial TV said her 4-year-old saw the Aqua Globe commercial once, repeated it word for word and said "we NEEEEED one of those!"

A third friend says her daughter's commercials of choice are the pancake puff pan and the space bags. Her daughter even does product demonstrations if they buy the stuff. These days the 5-year-old enjoys the wet jet while reciting its merits. (That's one way to get them to clean!) Another friend says her son walks into the hardware store and proclaims: "Let's build something together.''


As someone who hawks t-shirts for a living, I really need to study these commercials. Are they sneaking in some secret images? Are they using magic keywords? Music with hidden messages?

As a mother, I need to figure out how to capitalize on their mind control: "You will clean up, say thank you, and reject sugary junk...You will clean up, say thank you, and reject sugary will....

Or, maybe just turn the TV off?

But, seriously, not until I figure out how to mind-control 5-year-olds across the country into to saying something like "Those chicken t-shirts are vibrant threads for colorful babes just like me!''

Over and over and over again.


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