De Colores

When my older daughter was about two, I spent lots of time teaching her things. Like colors — I came up with engaging, educational games that were fun for both of us. And they worked — my brilliant little miracle learned her colors. I was pretty amazed by both of us, and I stuck that achievement on the front page of my mental brag book.

Shake a butt

Who needs pants?

Then came my second daughter. As with most younger children, she got a much more faded, jaded, tired version of me. And now that she is two, most of our one-on-one time involves me chasing her around the house with a diaper and a pair of pants while she screams “no mommy! No dipey! No pants! I be naked!” She is lucky if she gets a couple of half-hearted minutes with a depleted set of her big sister’s flash cards.

So you can imagine my delight when, while she was sitting in the ball pit at our mommy and me gymnastics class, she picked up an orange ball and said, “yook, mommy! Orange!”

It was a miracle! Somehow, I had managed to teach her colors without even trying. I was better at this parenting thing than I had thought.

Then she picked up a blue ball and proudly exclaimed, “blueberry!” She not only knew her colors, but she was also associating them with fruit! The kid is a genius. I picked up a red ball and said, “Look! An apple! A red apple!”

“No, mommy,” she said. “No red. No apple. Strawberry.” Then she picked up a yellow ball and said, “And lemon. Dis one lemon.

And then it dawned on me. Orange. Blueberry. Strawberry. Lemon. She wasn’t talking about fruit, and she had only indirectly learned her colors. She was talking about characters from the television show Strawberry Shortcake. The new one, with characters that are much less child-like, and much more Barbie-like than the quaint version we moms grew up with. The one that she watches excessively, with the obsessiveness that only a two-year-old can attain.

I have achieved no miracle of parenting. My child officially watches too much TV. She still doesn’t acknowledge the words “red” or “yellow.” But do you know what she does do? Whenever she sees something purple, she says it is “plum.” She asks for her baby doll’s blueberry dress, and calls all shades of bright pink raspberry. This is what we call vocabulary building.

So next year when she is in preschool and her teachers are holding up that yellow card my child, the poetess of the class, will raise her little hand and declare that it is “lemon.”

And I will be proud.

Hey, it works.

Hey, it works.

Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.
     Y por eso los grandes amores
De muchos colores me gustan a mí.

~ De Colores

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