"What does Dora the Explorer have on her shopping list?"
I could see his eyes in my rearview mirror. He frowned, and seemed to be thinking hard. "Well, she has noculars. And snacks. And a map. Mamaw ... are you Dowa?"
I tried to regain my grip on reality, while wallowing in my enjoyment of his version of "binoculars."
"No I am not Dora. Dora is a cartoon."
"NO SHE NOT!! Dowa is weal!"
I argued. "Dora IS a cartoon."
"She weal. ... Mamaw?"
"Pwetend you Dowa."
I have pretended to be a fish. I have pretended to be an umpire and shouted "He's SAFE" when he slid into the couch in our living room. I have been Captain Hook, SpongeBob and Patrick, a martial arts expert, a monkey, Kermit the Frog, a snake, a pizza delivery guy, his commanding army officer, and had a recurring role of a Nighlok monster from The Power Rangers. I have also pretended to be an astronaut - this part included a countdown and rocket blast off, as well as walking in slow motion while making heavy breathing sounds, collecting moon rocks and reporting back to Houston - and all of this in front of other parents who were also visiting Elwood Park with their children that day. (My husband Seth pretended that day too - he pretended he didn't know me.
But I did not want to pretend to be Dora the Explorer while driving my car at 8 a.m. I didn't want to say "hola" or "Swiper no swiping!" I just didn't.
"I don't know Dora that well. I can't be Dora."
He kicked his legs in disgust, but kept the mini-tantrum under the five-second tantrum rule. After a minute he got the faraway look in his eyes that children get when their imagination is running rampant. Again.
"Mamaw..." he began.
But we had arrived at daycare. I was safe in reality. Until the drive home.
Theresa Timmons’ column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at email@example.com.