These are my son's new favorite words. They are, for those of you not fluent in Ethanese, "Ethan, Dora, and the Spanish pronunciation of elephant."
Last week, Ethan discovered a new appreciation for himself. He learned how to pronounce, or nearly pronounce his own name. Leave it to me to name my child with a challenging consonant blend. He is now the president of his own fan club. We cannot walk by a picture of him, a mirror or even a well-polished window without him throwing his hands up and exclaiming, "Eetan!!! Eetan!" Yes, dear; that's you. You're lovely. Now stop mushing your face against that store front, we've got to go. It is nice to see him finally say his own name with the same enthusiasm that's generally reserved for his friends Chloe and Lily.
And the Dora thing? I had no idea 20 minutes a day of a little bilingual girl in pink shorts and a kicky backpack could capture his heart and mind so thoroughly. He likes Elmo. He enjoys a bit of Thomas. But Dora? She's apparently his first love (well, his first animated love. As we all know, he's already had his first in-the-flesh love(s)...I am in so much trouble when he's 15).
I have taken to TiVo'ing Dora because she's on during an hour of the day that I don't feel every last solitary drop of my energy has been sapped, and I'm not going to rot Ethan's brain during time that I can actually function. I reserve it for sometime between 5:15-6:00pm, when I have just about enough energy to lie on the floor with him and repeat Map's directions over and over and over again with the best fake excitement I can muster. "Mountain!" "Tunnel!" "Big yellow station!" "Shoot me!" Okay, I made that last part up.
Yesterday I was at the Apple store exchanging one crappy overpriced, highly breakable iPhone car charger for it's twin; an equally overpriced, highly breakable iPhone car charger, which I am sure is going to bust sometime around next Wednesday. Ethan, having already greeted himself in the store's window, was chilling in his "jogging" stroller (yes, I have to put the word jogging in quotation marks, because, please...). Suddenly, I hear "Dowa! Dowa!"
Turns out, my son's superduper Dora The Explorer vision had spied a computer screen three-quarters of the way down the store displaying a Dora cartoon for another toddler. I had to squint like Mr. Magoo to see what was on the screen, but my kid honed in on it like a terrier on a fox. "Dowa! Dowa!" he chanted like a mad man and squirmed in his stroller to get a better view. Mortifying, to say the least. I mean, you'd think from his obsessive chanting that I sat him in front of Dora DVDs for 12 hours a day. But no, this love affair is contained to 20 minutes a day. What can I say? Dora casts her spell in seconds flat. Who can resist those massive eyes, sassy bob and mismatched t-shirt and shorts combo?
She also speaks some fierce Spanish, which is another reason we're happy to let Ethan watch her. Right now he knows his two beverages of choice en espanol (agua y leche) and he is learning his numbers, letters and colors in Spanish as well. Which brings us to Al Ponte.
The Spanish word for "elephant" is just elephant with an "e" at the end of it and it sounds, phonetically, simply enough, like "el-ay-faunt-ay". When you're a busy toddler like Ethan, you can't really be bothered with four whole syllables, and if you're Ethan specifically, the pronunciation of the letter "f" eludes you entirely. Therefore, "elephante" ends up sounding like it could be the name of a smarmy used car salesman, Al Ponte. Turns out, "Al Ponte" is the name of many an Italian restaurant and hotel in Europe and Sydney, and even a church in Florence, Italy. Go figure. That's my boy; he's wicked cultured.
So these are the words of the week. I'm sure next week we will be listening to a new list of wonderments from the little man. As soon as I can remember how to embed video in mah blog, I will give the audio version of this entry. And by "as soon as", I mean hopefully before he's in college.