Friday, April 15, 2011

HIGH ON HI-5




Some years ago, back when my now-1-year old daughter Sadako wasn’t even an idea yet, I came across an article about how supposedly bad TV is for babies and young kids. I now don’t remember the boob tube’s bad effects on little ones (although I really should Google that), but whatever they are, my daughter must already be suffering from them because watching TV has been a daily habit for her for half a year now.


Blame me and my girlfriend, Honeybun; we always have the TV set turned on. Apart from being soothing background noise, we discovered that it can be some sort of a babysitter, too. For example, certain commercials would make our daughter stop crying or catch her attention long enough for us to squeeze in drops of yucky medicine inside her mouth.

Sadako is picky, though, so we bought a stack of DVDs and VCDs to entertain her whenever her favorite commercials aren’t on air.

Her favorite show in the world is Hi-5, and Australian kiddie show where five adults—two guys and three girls—sing, dance, and tell stories. There is Charlie Delaney, the pretty, long-haired favorite who can dance ballet and has a nasal voice. There is also Kelly Hoggart, who seems to be on a yo-yo diet. She is perky and animated and isn’t afraid or ashamed to make a fool out of herself whenever she sings or dances. When she’s a cow, she gives 100% of herself to be the best cow on earth. And then there is Kathleen de Leon, the pretty Pinay who is married to the other Savage Garden member who isn’t Darren Hayes. She sings and dances pretty decently so we as Pinoys should be proud of her. As for the guys, there is Tim Harding, the attractive boy-next-door who started out as a lanky awkward dancer and eventually blossomed into a total performer, with some extra pounds, though. And then there is Nathan Foley, Honeybun’s, Sadako’s, and my favorite. Nathan is the best. Every number with him is such a treat because he performs as if it’s his last performance. His voice is angelic, and he sometimes does vocal gymnastics. He’s also a great dancer that he ends up outdancing everyone else.

The show also has a couple of puppets: Jupjup, the mischievous octopus who gets Kathleen’s stuff; and Chats (which is short for Chatterbox), the loudmouthed, full-of-questions worm (well, she looks like a worm—one with eyeglasses, braided hair, and a hat).

While the show is educational with features on shapes, colors, and geography, it is also very entertaining. Apart from all the fun song and dance numbers, the Hi-5 members also don costumes and roleplay sometimes. The show teaches valuable lessons as well; their stories tackle values like perseverance and contentment.

It is very funny, too, and my little one can attest to that; she giggles every five minutes or so whenever she watches an episode. One particular story that I find amusing is about Nathan, who likes singing in the tub. One morning, his brother Tim hears him sing, is impressed, and invites him to sing for his band. Come concert time, he messes up. The rest of the band members give him tips, which he follows during their next concert. Unfortunately, he still messes up. Tim suddenly has a light bulb moment, and in the next scene, Nathan can be heard singing perfectly—in his tub and onstage!

Since Honeybun and I repeatedly watch the videos with our daughter, we’ve come to appreciate and like the show; we’ve memorized the lyrics and the dance steps of a lot of songs already, and even perform them in front of Sadako. I have become a Hi-5 fan to the point of buying more and more DVD and VCD copies of the show (and even watching them the moment we get home, even when the baby’s already asleep), watching their performances on YouTube, and even adding some of the members on Facebook.

I still haven’t Googled how really bad it is to let babies watch TV. There’s no stopping my little one from watching TV, though. It’s not as if she’s in front of the boob tube 24/7 anyway. And it’s become a bonding experience for us. Why the hell would I want to discontinue that?