Science Explains Why Your Kids Love Elmo

(Getty Images/John Lamparski)

There’s science behind the squeaky voice

When I was a little kid, Elmo wasn’t even a thing (I’m old.) Back in my day, it was all about Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch and Bert & Ernie and Grover. By the time Elmo came around, I had moved on to He-Man and the A-Team (I told you, I’m old!)

Chances are, if you were a little kid in the 90s or have a little kid now, your house was all about the furry red muppet. Because almost as soon as he burst onto the scene in the mid-80s, he’s had toddler groupies. They worship the squeaky-voiced furball. It’s almost scary.

Turns out it’s actually science.

via GIPHY

CafeMom asked some experts to weigh in on exactly what it is that makes Elmo so appealing to little kids, and they had some interesting answers. Apparently it’s not just a coincidence and/or a ploy by Big Excedrin to drive parents mad with migraines.

First up? The color.

Did you know the reason so many kids love the color red is because it’s the first color they can actually make out? No? Well it is, and guess who’s red? That’s right: Elmo! He’s the first Sesame Street character they can actually see, so of course they like him! It may also explain the prevalence of toddler Satanists but that’s another story.

Next up is Elmo’s behavior. He acts like a little kid, and even better, he acts like a good little kid. “Elmo is typically bright in personality, and always kind,” says Shanna Donhauser, a child and family therapist at The Happy Nest. “Children are usually drawn to these characters because they reflect the positive feelings they know personally and the characteristics (like kindness) they appreciate.” (Um, children are drawn to good behavior? Since when?)

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Remember that, the next time Elmo and his friends Mr. Noodle and Mr. Noodle’s brother Mr. Noodle irritate you. Elmo is a good little muppet and he’s modeling positive traits for your kid. Even if his voice drives you mad.

Speaking of that voice, it sounds like a little kid’s voice too, right? That’s another reason they gravitate toward the little monster. He sounds like them! Which is also probably why you get that aforementioned headache.

It seems there’s more to Elmo than meets the eye, which is actually kind of terrifying. If the people over at Sesame Street wanted to, they could stock their show with tons of Elmo-type beasts and use them to indoctrinate and mobilize an army of toddlers to crush us all!

But hey, at least your kid’s having fun.

Big Dad Rides Small Bike as a Tribute to Late Daughter

(JustGiving/Peter Williams)

On Friday at 10am, Peter Williams of Penzance, England began his 211-mile ride to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

In 2015, Peter lost his 7-year-old daughter, Ellie, to a rare form of brain cancer, only six months after she was diagnosed.

He decided to begin his ride at Bristol Children’s Hospital where Ellie was treated. He’s also honoring his daughter by making the entire trip on her little pink bike, which is only 20″ high. Given Peter is 6 feet tall, that’s going to make for an additional challenge, but he’s up for it. He estimates the ride from Bristol to Land’s End will take him a week to complete.

Aside from a small modification to the bike’s seat, he’ll be riding the bike as-is. “My knees clear the handlebars by about half an inch so it’s going to be really tight, but it’s a great bike,” he told the BBC.

Ellie loved cycling and impressed her dad at age three, when she was able to ride without training wheels.

(JustGiving/Peter Williams)

The bike he’ll be riding was her pride and joy – a present she received for her last Christmas.

So far Peter has raised £22,499 (roughly $30K US) through his JustGiving campaign, already doubling his £10,000 target.

What a guy! What a dad! Go, Peter, go!

If you’d like donate to Peter’s campaign, visit his JustGiving page.

If you want to learn more about where the money is going, you can visit The Brain Tumour Charity.

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?