Dora the Annoyer

Six o’clock in the morning is really rough.

It’s not the best feeling in the world to know every morning you will get up at 6 a.m. regardless of the time you fall asleep. This is the life of a parent with a 2-year-old. In the past two years, the latest I’ve slept in has been 6:30 (three times), and it wasn’t even on any of those Mother’s days or birthdays. It was because he slept in until 6:30.

What makes it worse is sometimes it’s 5:30 a.m. There are things one does–things one is not proud of–to try to sleep an extra five to 10 minutes.

Maybe you do that thing where you pretend you do not actually hear your child crying. That is impossible. It’s like his cry is directly connected to my central nervous system. I say my because my husband could sleep through me jumping on his head with a pogo stick.

Or you get the kid, throw him into your bed and turn on the TV after six requests of “Watch show? Watch show? Watch show?”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under the age of two. This is because they are doctors who can afford to have someone else watch their children, and have never played two solid hours of “What’s that?”

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing that my infant son would rip himself away from my breast whenever the theme for It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia kicked in so he could watch the opening credits. It is classical muzak after all.

I only wish that would placate him now. Because now, what he likes to watch at 6 a.m. is Dora the Explorer.

Ah, Dora…How do I describe your voice? Think of a beginning violinist scraping his unrosined bow across a violin with a shrieking cat strapped to it. Think of someone inserting a needle directly into your left eardrum while someone crashes cymbals against your right. Think of a cheerleader whose mouth is actually a megaphone screaming directions while 1,000 bagpipes play and 1,000 dentists drill into a giant mouth made out of aluminum.

And that does not even come close to Dora’s voice.

“My voice has broken the sound barrier!”

Dora is always excited and always going on adventures and always needs your help and always wants you to shriek along with her. It’s glorious. Especially at 6 a.m.

She drags along a monkey in red boots, and she talks to her backpack, and can catch stars, and I fucking hate her more than I have ever hated any cartoon in my life and that includes Scrappy Doo who is an unbelievable monstrosity.

There is a fox named Swiper, and guess what he does?

Swipes stuff.

Swiper, can you swipe Dora’s vocal box? Thanks!

Dora becomes very agitated whenever Swiper is around and begins to wail with the intensity of 13,000 ambulance sirens that we must stop Swiper. “SAY SWIPER NO SWIPING” she bellows over and over again while I begin to fantasize that I’m chained to some random restroom in Saw 17.

Dora is very big on audience participation and what you think was the best part of the adventure. At the end of the task, she scream/sings the “We did it” song and then asks what your favorite part was.

My favorite part was when Dora was not speaking, that .001 second of the show.

“Me too!!!!!!” she screams back. Then she shrieks and shrieks and shrieks some more until I lose all feeling in my face. And then we have another episode at 6:30.

And this is likely what I will wake up to tomorrow. And the next 300 or so tomorrows.

I have just written a check to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Good work, guys.


  1. Speaker7, I hear you. We had Barney, the asinine purple dinosaur. We wanted to kill him in the most painful way possible.

    One Saturday, a person in a Barney costume was crossing the street. My husband and I turned to each other as John said “that guy is either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.”

    May you have a morning soon where you can sleep in till 7.

    1. But, Barney loves you. Right? Doesn’t he sing that over and over again until you begin frothing at the mouth?

      Thank bejeebus that purple scourge is off the air. I at least have that.

  2. Did you know Backpack is a girl? We just watched Backpack’s origin story the other day. My mind was blown… out of my ears… from Dora’s incessant shrieking. My 3 year old thinks it’s funny to taunt Dora, at least. The other day, Dora yelled “WHAT’S the MAGIC WORD??” and my daughter yelled back “POOP ON DORA!” and then Dora was like MUY BUENO and my daughter laughed and laughed and I laughed and laughed that kind of manic, desperate laugh when you haven’t been around another adult in days.

    I like Kipper. He and his pals are always mellow, and I pretend that they are super, super baked.

    1. I did not know that. I look forward to viewing the origin story at 6 some morning while I’m trying to smother myself with a pillow.

      I am very familiar with that manic, desperate laugh.

  3. Is it a man thing that they can sleep like that? My husband is the same way. He also seems to have an off switch or something, because when he decides to go to sleep he is OUT. Me, I lie awake thinking about things for at least twenty minutes, and that’s on a good day. It makes me want to jump on him with a pogo stick. Or at least hit him with one.

  4. There are few children’s tv shows that I can tolerate and maintain my sanity. Squish is all about Thomas, who is the creepiest thing on 6 wheels. And now he’s into Peanuts, which I loved as a kid and now realize is all about humiliating and bullying a kid with a large head. What channel does Always Sunny come on again?

    1. Thomas is bizarre although I do have a crush on Sir Topham Hatt. I don’t understand why the packages are called special specials. I don’t understand why someone hasn’t run Charlie off the rails and off a cliff.

      My son loves trains. It’s only a matter of time before I’m watching this at some ungodly early hour.

  5. Dora may be bad, but Caillou is the worst. We don’t have cable, so the boys are limited to PBS shows. 6:00 am is Word Girl. We love her. Seriously.
    Hang in there Mom.

    1. I was unfamiliar with Caillou so I googled it and saw five seconds of a clown kid rolling on a ball and saying in a higher-than-Dora-pitched voice “Do you want to go to the circus with me?” and I am thankful my son is unfamiliar with him.

  6. How can I laugh at your pain? I don’t know, but I do. I keep trying to tell my kids that they don’t know what it’s all about until they get sh*t on and pissed on–literally. And they have to watch some sh*tty cartoon.

  7. I, too, freaking hate Dora. What I hate most about her is her catastrophic thinking. “Now we’ll NEVER get across the bridge to save the baby blue bird.” So what do we have? An entire generation of kids who think every little set back is a tragedy. We actually liked Thomas when it was Ringo or George Carlin narrating. Our son loves George Carlin (the grown up version) now. And Justice League. Wait for that one. Batman freaking rocks with his dark sarcastic wit. Seriously.

  8. i tried to link brian regan’s stand up about dora, but it had a ridiculously long link. google it. you might think it’s funny. i think it’s hilarious. dora pretty much makes me want to shoot myself in the head. i hate all things you said and ALSO when she speaks spanish. jesus. that makes me want to shoot myself – in spanish.

  9. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television for children under the age of two. This is because they are doctors who can afford to have someone else watch their children, and have never played two solid hours of ‘What’s that?'” Moms, I think we found our new spokesperson. All hail Speaker7. (Kathie Lee Gifford, I hope you got the 1988 memo that you were never our spokesperson.)

    I hate Boots more than I hate real monkeys, which is a lot. I hate that show and I hate the person who invented it. I pretty much hate all things that relate to most kid TV shows, with the exception of Mr. Rogers, Looney Tunes and Reading Rainbow which all happen to be off the air now. Oh, and I really hate Elmo but I downgraded this feeling since watching the documentary Being Elmo. Now I only dislike him.

    1. Maybe I should come up with a name in the manner of Tiger Mom or Diet Mom or Awful Mom. I could be Dora F—ing Sucks Mom. And write a book. And make millions. And then hire someone to watch Dora with my son while I roll around in a big vat of hundred dollar bills.

      Yes, most children’s programming is high-pitched, fast-paced shrieking nonsense.

  10. I imagine the person who wrote the song for the map was late to their meeting, forgot they had to come up with a jingle, and just made up off the top of their head “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map, I’M THE MAP!”

    And now I’m sure he’s making more money than I’ll ever dream of.

  11. Love this! I’m a nanny and have seen this show one too many times! Why is she always shouting? I’ve actually perfected her voice and find imitating her is the best medicine.

    1. Wow. Can you shatter glass or cause cracks to appear in the earth with you imitation of Dora? I have to think that’s what would happen if Dora ever was brought to life.

  12. My boys are all grown up now, but for reasons that I could never fathom my husband allowed them to watch The Power Rangers when they were small. I screamed, I threatened, I threw stuff at the television, but I lost. I know, I’m weak. I should have done more. I should have staged a hunger strike – theirs not mine. Our house filled to overflowing with Power Ranger toys. This was the first season of the show, which if you’ve seen it you will agree that its popularity defies logic. There was a flute. The twins each wanted one. The twins each got one. A trillion times a day they called each other on it. I’m getting all worked up just writing this. I’m exhibiting symptoms of PTSD.
    Oh, and my 21 yr old has recently taken up the violin.

  13. I love your blog. The fifty shades stuff cracks me up. I also really liked the Dora post. I’ve been writing a blog with snarky reviews of kid shows, if you’d like to see it.
    Just letting you know that I feel your pain. Oh, and while my kids are 8 and 12 now, it just gets worse. Check out the teen shows on Disney and Nick and shudder.

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