Our son is a creature of habit, and he has developed a habit for Jeopardy!.
But let me start at the beginning.
We learned fairly early on with him that establishing a routine around bedtime made for a less stressful evening. Even when travelling, if we quickly reestablish a routine he recognizes, it makes sleeping in a new and unfamiliar place go smoothly. Usually.
It’s not set in stone. He’s laid back enough to be flexible when needed. And it has changed a little bit over time. But for the most part we go through the same thing each night, which as we do it now has the dual effect of getting him calmed down for sleep and allows some special Mama-Tucker time that she misses out on from being out of the house all day.
I won’t go through the whole thing right now, but the beginning is important, so bear with me…
It starts with one of us telling him it’s time to go put on his jammies. He bounces off to his room with Mama behind him, and there he’ll get a fresh diaper and into said pajamas. While she does that, I get his bedtime snack — or as he calls it, his “nack” — ready. Just a sippy cup of milk, but you’d think I make him a chocolate sundae from the way he joyfully receives from me it each night.
Mama and Tucker then usually settle in on the couch together for some cuddles, to read a book or twelve, and the like. After this, he will sometimes get down to play on the floor for a little while more, while Mama watches a bit of TiVo’d Jeopardy! until “actual bedtime.”
But recently, he’s started to enjoy sitting on her lap and watching it too. Never too early to teach the kid answers to things like “Who is King George III?”, “What is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatzby?”, right?
Well, as a result, my son has recently developed a… a thing for Jeopardy!. A habit, if you will.
Specifically, he loves the Final Jeopardy! “thinking music”.
And he needs his “fix” nightly.
You know the one: “Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doooo, doo doo doo doo DOO! Doo doo doo doo doo…”
He refers to this piece of music as the “doot doots”, and watching the Final Jeopardy! segment has become one of his “must do” bedtime routine elements. He loves it as Mama and Dada sing along to the music. The smile on his face makes it worth it every time.
So we finish Final Jeopardy!, and the show continues, with the correct “answer” and winner revealed. Then, before the credits, there is (currently) a very short IHOP commercial, featuring the Minions from the movie Despicable Me. Tuck has no idea who or what they are or where they are from, but after the “doot doots” he waits not-so-patiently for the “mee-mees” to appear — and heaven forbid that there is a different commercial first, although he’s starting to appreciate the occasional appearance by the GEICO gecko.
“Mee-mees!”, he happily declares.
This is followed up by more “doot-doots”, in the form of a more rockin’ version of the “thinking music” during the closing credits. Mama and Dada sing along again.
All done now? Nope.
He has to wait to see the CBS Television Distribution and Sony Pictures Television motion logos, of course.
No, I’m not kidding.
So, yes, it’s only once he’s heard the “doot-doots” (both regular Final Jeopardy version AND the rockin’ closing credits version), has seen the “mee-mees”, and then watched each of the production company motion logos that he is ready to toddle off to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Which, to his credit, he almost always does happily, as long as someone is bringing Pooh Bear along.
Please don’t judge us.
It’s about 10:00 in the morning, and I’m sitting on the floor playing with my son like usual. We’ve been through all of the usual books, we’ve made an attempt at coloring, we’ve practiced our somersaults and we’ve finished our morning snack. I turn on the TV and bloop through the TiVo to the “TiVo Recommends” folder, where I usually find a bunch of random shows featuring cute animals, animated or real, that might distract Tuck for a few minutes while I go to refill my spill-proof coffee mug (once I find where he hid it).
I notice that TiVo, bless her heart, has recorded something special for us: some classic episodes of the Three Stooges. Knowing that nothing makes Tucker laugh more than when I do a pratfall (except maybe a tummy or neck raspberry), I start an episode and am quickly proven correct in my thinking. Tuck thinks it’s hilarious every time one of them falls down, pokes someone in the eye, crashes through a wall, or bops someone on the head.
I’m a terrible father.
Anyhow, we watch the show together for a while, but eventually he loses interest and I let it finish up playing in the background while I try to figure out whether Tuck just pooped or merely tooted.
The show ends, and what do you know, up pops the Sony Pictures Television logo animation!
Tuck’s attention snaps to the TV, then back to me.
I pause the TiVo.
“No, Tuck, it isn’t time for the doot-doots yet.”
He looks at the TV, then back at me.
“Weh mee-mees?” he asks, crestfallen.
“This… this was a different show, Tuck. The Minions are on a different one. Here, watch, I’ll show you, this isn’t the doot-doots show.”
I hit play, and a commercial begins:
“Hi. I’m Alex Trebek, for Colonial Penn life insurance…”
“DOOT-DOOTS! DOOT-DOOTS! DOOT-DOOTS!!!”
Gee, thanks, Trebek.