waking an enormous chicken and other skills

My daughter loves Dora the Explorer. We have eight episodes of this toddler show on DVD which she has watched over and over. (This joins sugar on the list of Things I Was Never Going to Allow as a Parent . . . at least until I had a second child. I promise she has not watched anything else excepting two minutes of the old-fashioned Frosty the Snowman at Christmas time which terrified her.)

The show is, however, educational.Β One onion of a day last year when we were all ill and thus Norah watched five episodes in a row I had opportunity to notice this. Forced to watch with her from my position glued to the couch, I made a list of all the things she might learn from the experience.

  • animal recognition, especially monkeys
  • how to awaken an enormous chicken
  • how to check off a list
  • clapping
  • colors
  • how to say “choo choo”
  • dancing
  • definitions (& pronunciation) of a limited repertoire of Spanish nouns & verbs
  • identifying a fishing rod and a flashlight
  • jumping up and down
  • how to whirl an imaginary lasso
  • marching
  • music and lyrics to a limited repertoire of repetitive theme songs
  • numbers and counting to either ten or 100
  • how to stop a sneaky fox from swiping your cookies
  • opposites (especially “in front” vs. “behind” and “loud” vs. “soft”)
  • safety (as pertains to seat belts, life jackets, and the buddy system)
  • how to sequence events or tasks
  • teamwork (“Will you help us count to ten to help Benny with his hiccups?”)
  • how to tiptoe
Life skills, people. These are crucial. Can you imagine reaching adulthood and not being able to correctly identify a monkey? Or being unable to distinguish between “in front” and “behind”? Or to twirl an imaginary lasso?
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10 Responses to waking an enormous chicken and other skills

  1. Deanna says:

    I have something for you! Well, for Norah really. It’s Dora toothpaste. I bought it for mine (as she also loves Dora) but while she likes the tube, she doesn’t like the toothpaste (flavour) – at all. It’s fruity instead of minty. But I just can’t bring myself to toss the whole tube as she only used two tiny pea-sized smears of the stuff. Wait, is it gross to pass on an opened tube of toothpaste??

  2. cailan says:

    oh my, how funny. But Betsy you really must expand to Blue’s Clues – I LOVE Blue’s Clues! (the ones with Steve, certainly not Joe). My little people love it too. πŸ˜‰ It might be hard to find in the UK but completely worth it. Thank you for the little laugh this morning!

  3. Juli says:

    I would have to say that that is one of the most annoying shows I have ever seen. My little sister-in-law watched it a few times (that’s how I know it), and there is no way I would let my children watch it – at least not with me present. It is just so loud and grating (even if you turn the volume down). So please tell me: Is this a cultural thing? Do I find it so annoying because I’m not American? πŸ˜‰

    • betsy says:

      Juli, you find it annoying because it IS annoying. I do find, however, that after about ten viewings of any one episode you go completely numb and then it seems a little better every time you watch it. And then you find yourself humming “I’m the map I’m the map” in the kitchen when your children aren’t around. . . Wait, are you saying Americans are annoying?

  4. Juli says:

    Not the ones I’ve met πŸ˜‰ But I thought maybe Americans have different sensibilities, so something that your average German Australian (just to pick an example at random πŸ™‚ ) finds annoying might not bother you so much. But I’m glad to hear you find it annoying too. And I’m sorry you have to suffer through it. The things we do for our children… πŸ™‚

  5. teamtabb says:

    We tried a DVD with JJ once after Jules was born. It scared him. I’m kind of glad. Granted, it would be a nice distraction at times…maybe this winter.

    I’ve discovered that there is very little that is not, in some small way, educational, when my toddler is conquering it. Pots and pans, Mama’s phone, the recycling bin and its contents, etc, etc…

  6. Ashlea says:

    Hahahahaha! Oh, what a good laugh this post gave me (and my husband)! I can so relate. I’m pretty sure every adult finds Dora annoying, and yet most children love her. Sigh. Mark finds the Dora show to be completely random and lacking any sensible formula (i.e. random enormous chicken).

    There are some better (and worse… gasp!) kid/toddler shows out there if you want a few ideas. My favorite is “Word World” from PBS. But, honestly, they like Dora better. Why? I cannot say. Also, as mentioned by your friend, “Blue’s Clues” (with Steve) is a nice calm show.

    I was much more strict about watching shows at first… then I slowly caved. ;o) Fortunately I find my children are still quite intelligent little human beings… probably because of all those educational moments on Dora you listed (I say with great sarcasm). :o) Hehe. Eva does speak some pretty cool Spanish words from time to time… does that make her bilingual? But, really, the best line my kids repeat is: “Seatbelts. So we can be safe!” I’m ok with that one.

    P.S. I would really love to hear you singing “I’m the map, I’m the map…” while cooking. Darn! Why didn’t you know that song in college when we shared an apartment?

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