The KingofHearts and the Dormouse were invited to one of the premiere events of a toddler's life this week. A Wiggles concert. I did not attend, I was playing for a funeral service that night, but below is my retelling of the accounts I was given from KingofHearts and Dormouse.

If you have never heard of the Wiggles, you have missed a phenomenon. I'm not saying it's something you didn't want to miss, but it's a phenomenon just the same. I've heard several stories about how the Wiggles came to be and am not sure which of the rumors about their inception is more accurate... that they were a failed boy band in Australia who got too old and had to adapt, that they all got early childhood education degrees but liked to sing more, they hated children's television programming in Australia and wanted to do something really educational for their families... and then there are the inappropriate theories that we've come up with on our own which aren't even based in rumor or conjecture. KingofHearts and I are bad people. Anyway, the Wiggles are a
Dormouse favorite and we knew that we could not pass up the chance to see them.

The first hilarious part of the evening was that Greg, the Yellow Wiggle, wasn't even there. Apparently earlier in the week, he'd collapsed from exhaustion, took a couple of days' break but tried to go on with the tour and then collapsed again that morning. They took him to the hospital. This sparked many lame jokes about how the Yellow Wiggle did too much Wiggling.

They played a video feed showing a puffy and pallid Greg from his hospital bed... explaining to the kids why he wasn't going to be there and introducing "Sam" the substitute Yellow Wiggle who was going to do a great job. I heard later that they sent Greg home to Australia. It was actually pretty impressive that they gave the kids credit and didn't just try to pass off the dark haired fake Wiggle to the kids as Greg.

The Wiggles also have mascots, as any kids' band must, I suppose. There is Wags the Dog; Captain Feathersword, who in what I assume is an attempt at a non-violent message, carries a sword made of feathers; Henry the Octopus, who has an undersea band of fish and crustaceans; and Dorothy the Dinosaur who wears a lace hat and eats roses. How random is that cast of characters? We've been watching for a couple of years now, and I still cannot figure out what each of those have to do with the other or how they came up with them. "Hey, you know what this show REALLY needs? A rose eating dinosaur." "Yeah... that's it... that'll put us on the map, mate!" (Inset fake Australian accent here.)

KingofHearts swears that Captain Feathersword was nipping at the keg before the concert started. He kept forgetting the words to the songs and cracking the other remaining Wiggles up. In a part of a song where he's supposed to make an animal noise and they go on singing, he let out a 3 minute stream of brays, barks and whinnies, completely stopping the song and leaving the other characters looking lost. At one point in the concert, the good Captain holds out his feather sword and it shoots confetti out all over the first 6 rows of the audience; we've seen this happen on the television show. This night when he did the same thing but held the sword a little lower than usual... which made it look like... well, um... let's just hope this was lost on the kids.

They had trouble keeping the scenery upright. They didn't seem to know what song was next. Dorothy seemed to not be doing well in her suit and had to keep leaving the stage, we assume to take off the giant head and breathe fresh air. (Lightweight.) In what I believe is a genius mechandising idea, in the lobby they sell bones for the kids to give to Wags the Dog and roses to give to Dorothy the Dinosaur. Throughout the concert, the Wiggle Minions go out and collect them from the kids in the audience and bring them to the characters. Then I'm sure they take them backstage and back out in the lobby to resell to the very same kids who bought the first ones. But in this event, they couldn't quite get the minions out there in time, so they just announced "If we don't get to you to collect the bones and roses, just leave them on your chairs and we'll pick them up after the concert." Wha?!?!?

All in all, Dormouse had a great time, KingofHearts got a huge laugh, and I kind of wish I could have been there. Amazing how I was almost as excited about this as I am about seeing Jon Stewart next month. Parenthood changes a person - and not necessarily for the better.