When the Captain was little, he liked to watch sweet little toddler TV shows, like Peep And The Big Wide World and Thomas The Tank Engine. I can still sing the theme songs to both, stone cold. The Peep theme song in particular is a modern classic, and it saddened me when he stopped wanting to sing it all around the house:
When Gal Smiley got to TV watching age, the two of them got into Hi-5, a show which I have encyclopediatic knowledge of. I can sing every song, I can quote every episode, and most importantly, I can discuss the girls’ wardrobe for HOURS. I still care way, way too much when I see a cast member on some other show now. I saw Karla on an episode of Castle a few weeks back. She played an assistant who had to knock on a door to a change room, open it, then scream in horror upon discovering a body. That was her entire part, and I squealed as if they’d scored a cameo by Lady Gaga. I am humiliated, slightly.
As an aside, their Christmas album is seriously one of the best, very poppy and cute and crowd pleasing for kids and adults alike, featuring a nice mix of classics and original songs that are destined to become classics. It’s always the first out of the box when we break out the Christmas tunes.
By the time the Captain turned 6, he started making noise about watching some “older kid” shows, but I wouldn’t have it. Some of his friends were watching things like Spongebob and The Clone Wars, but I didn’t think they were appropriate for the girls so I kept them safely glued to Treehouse and Disney Family and PBS Kids.
Then we went to Disney in 2010, when the Captain was nearly 7 and Gal Smiley was 5 1/2. The only channel we got that showed kids’ programming had The Suite Life of Zack and Cody on a 24 hour continuous commercial-free loop, so that’s what they watched while the Little Miss was sleeping, and BAM, we were a big kid show house. When we got home we DVR’ed the entire Zack and Cody oeuvre and watched every episode 15 times apiece, and from there slippery sloped it down to Good Luck Charlie and Phineas and Ferb, and now we’re on to Lego Ninjago and of course, The Clone Wars.
So all this is to say that poor Little Miss Sunshine, who was just 2 1/2 at the time of the Disney trip, never really got a chance to discover preschoooler type shows. Instead of brightly coloured, slow moving shows with a vague educational component, she’s been raised on a steady diet of tween sitcoms featuring commercials for the BEST BARBIE EVER MOMMY I HAVE TO HAVE THAT RIGHT NOW.
So! Last week I was compulsively searching the TV listings for Christmas specials, because I seem to miss the big favourites every year, so now I check every day to see what’s on. And on a whim I decided to record Dora Saves The Snow Princess, because I thought the Little Miss would like it.
And DOES SHE.
She is INTO Dora. She obeys Dora’s every command. Dora is like a little Latina drill seargent/cult leader and the Little Miss is her willing recruit. When Dora says jump, she jumps. When Dora says to call for the Snowflake Fairy, she calls. When Dora asks her what was her favourite part, she answers with intensity and passion.
She’s a true believer, too. She’s watched it three times now, and every time she seems to honestly believe that if she doesn’t yell “Backpack!” just a little louder, then Backpack won’t open. When Dora achieves success, she beams. I’m starting to wonder if she actually understands how a TV works.
And then! At the end, the Snow Princess offers up a medal of thanks to the key players, and holds one out “for you.” So the Little Miss solemnly bows her head, then puts on one of Sir Monkeypants’ old 10K medals, and then runs to show me that she got a medal for helping Dora. Even more hilariously – the last time she watched it, Gal Smiley joined her, and when Gal Smiley made to bow her head at medal-receiving time, the Little Miss freaked out because Gal Smiley had not helped AT ALL, she had not even JUMPED when Dora said JUMP, and the Little Miss had done ALL THE WORK, and thus the medal was HERS, and Gal Smiley should not be making motions to take HER medal, NO SIREE.
And I was a super mom because I totally kept a straight face while comforting her and assuring her that she would be getting the medal for all her hard work (totally laughing as I type this, though, sorry baby!).
My new little Dora follower has me wondering how much she really gets out of the shows the older two watch. I’m thinking we will have to have a few more episodes of Dora on the PVR, maybe sprinkle in some Wonder Pets and Little Einsteins, too. She’s still my baby!