This is a bit of a confession, but here goes nothing – I have Dora Envy.
Without getting too into who and what Dora is, copyrights and all of that, I think anyone who has or was in contact with a child within the last ten years knows what Dora I am talking about.
Why the envy?
You see, Dora is a fictional cartoon. She sings and dances and plays with a monkey. She is also a bit of a fixation for my niece.
My niece, now nearing her third birthday in a few months, and even her little brother, soon to be two soon after her birthday, are both in LOVE with Dora.
How can kids so young by in love with a fictional character, you say?
Clearly, you haven’t seen the effect a ‘D DD D D Dora’ music can inspire on the little rugrats.
My niece, for instance, knows the songs, dances, has blankets, sippy cups, pull ups, and even a placemat that I am guilty of purchasing. My niece says the phrase, “I want to watch Dora!” about twice a day.
And of course, with the internet and Netflix and even Youtube, there’s instant gratification.
My nephew, less verbal but equally enthusiastic as his big sister, dances and pumps his little fists in tune to the music. He clutches the blankets (but he is a bit of a cuddler so I try to take that in stride) and dances with the doll.
They sit quietly as she speaks.
But, Ann – I can hear you say – why the envy?
Clearly, envy is a strong word. I don’t despise Dora. Most days.
I don’t desire to be a fictional cartoon, in any means, though I think I would make a cute one.
I am however, a bit jealous of her.
I am Hispanic, and so are the little monkeys. They call me ‘Tia’, which is Spanish for Aunt. They’ve also called me Mami, which I understand, because everyone says I look so much like my sister.
But they don’t know my name.
They know Dora. They even know Boots. Swipper. Blue. Elmo. Big Bird. Muno. Fuffa. Plex. Brobee. Tutti. Calliou. The list goes on and on and on!
But they don’t know my name.
I have tried, don’t get me wrong. I tell them that yes, I am Tia (and will answer to Mama and Mami) but I also have a name.
Their response? No!
My niece shakes her head, laughs even and says “Noooooo!”. I repeat myself. In return I get the same head shake, laughter, and negative response. “Nooooo! You’re Tia!”
My nephew? Worse. He frowns at me. His eyes get a bit watery, or maybe that’s just me at seeing his intense looks. Then he repeats himself, arms raised at me, lips pouted, “Mama!”
And I give in.
So yes, I have a bit of envy towards Dora. She hasn’t been around as long as I have, but she has a stronger following than me.
But then I remind myself, I didn’t even know my uncles and aunts names, real names until I was maybe seven. Some not until I was twelve. I knew their names, certainly, but I had no idea that they were going by their middle names or a nickname. My Dad can’t even recall some of his cousins real names because they’re all so accustomed to using nicknames.
The important thing, is having some name.
Truth is, if they called me Ya-ya or Hooky or Cucucachoo, I would respond. Because, they would know me and I would be the Cucucachoo that they knew.
Someday, they might actually realize I have a name. Someday, they might call me by that name.
Until, I am going to focus on growing that name. I am going to make it so that when that day comes, they can see that name and smile. And when I have kids of my own, or more nieces and nephews, when my little cousins grow up and learn my name – I want to know it will make them smile.
Welcome to my blog. I am testing out the waters, and trying to make a name for myself. Correction, I am trying to highlight my name. I am trying to make my name cartoon worthy, and smile worthy, and yes – maybe even envy worthy.
I am well aware that it could be worse. The kiddos could have no idea who I was. They could frown at me at holidays and keep their distance and have no idea who I was until they were five and started to understand things better.
Instead, I see them very often. I take care of them at least twice a week. We chat on the phone. I bought them sunglasses that they adore just the other day.
They see me and smile and run into my arms (or pretend they don’t see me and try to hide and run into a wall for his efforts) and yell out – Tia!