Two weeks with the French ex-in-laws sufficed. Tadpole has gone all French on me again. French and a little more square eyed than I would like.
“On va regarder Dora [the explorer], oui, d’accord?” she says earnestly, nodding her milky little chin for extra emphasis and widening her eyes. My daughter, the hypnotist.
“Mmmm I’m not sure. Why don’t you draw mummy some pictures of Noddy instead?” I reply, endeavouring to be a good mother who doesn’t allow herself to resort to CBeebies and the other delights on offer on Lover’s Sky TV until the going gets really tough.
“Si! On va regarder Dora, quand même!” Tadpole counters, seemingly very sure of herself. Her intonation is not indicative of a question. I wonder how used to getting her own way she has grown of late.
I capitulate, eventually, and enjoy Tadpole’s look of utter disbelief when Dora opens her cartoon mouth and (American) English words trip off her tongue, along with a smattering of Spanish phrases. Because the Dora whom Tadpole has grown to love speaks French, with a few token English words thrown in.
All manner of phrases with which she wow us with this week appear to have Dora-related explanations. “Tico l’ecureuil” turns out to be a character from the same. It is somewhat galling to see that my daughter can already pronounce the notoriously difficult French word for squirrel far better than I can.
At mealtimes, Tadpole repeats a previously unheard phrase over and over again. “It’s delicious!”, she exclaims. Even when it isn’t. Mr Frog confirms my suspicions, rather bashfully: this is indeed yet another Dora phrase. He then goes on to list all the activities Tadpole took part in over the past fortnight, in a feeble attempt to convince me that she didn’t just watch videos all day long.
I notice that whereas the French Dora has a pet monkey called “Babouche”, in the American version, the very same monkey is called “Boots”. How very confusing.
However, in true toddler style, Tadpole decides only to hear what she wants to hear, successfully filtering everything else out. Rather like when I mention key words like “bedtime” and “nappy”, which are generally greeted with temporary deafness and a vacant stare.
So, when I try, helpfully, to explain why the monkey has two names, she looks at me scornfully, flatly refusing to believe a single word, despite the fact that she has just watched an entire episode.
“Non. Il s’appelle Babouche, le monkey, mummy, pas Boots. Quand même!”
That’s me told.