For anyone that knows my little McKaylee, you have to know how obsessively in love she is with Dora the Explorer. McKaylee was never fond of cartoons and refused to even watch television until she turned two years old. That was quite a difference from our chatty Talks-a-lot who was in love with the television before he even turned a year old.
Dora was the very first cartoon McKaylee had ever seen and, for some reason, she just fell in love with her. It's pretty much a part of our daily lives now and somehow all conversations root back to Dora the Explorer, Boots or Swiper. For instance, if McKaylee is in a dark room by herself, she announces pitifully that Swiper is going to get her. Anytime we run an errand, her Dora purse or Boots stuffed toy must come along....after all, they looove to explore. I am constantly surprised by the foreign words I hear repeated from the backseat, thanks to our Spanish-speaking friend. And even the other day, my little girl started to fuss about something and I reminded her that she was a "big girl" and didn't need to whine about not getting her way. McKaylee's response came with a smile and beaming eyes, "I need to be a big girl like Dora?". Yes, it is cute, precious and can get a little obsessive at times. But nothing was cuter than today when we finally met Dora the Explorer.
We have a science center/museum in our city called the McWane center. The kids love all the hands-on activities and it seems as though we could spend the entire day there and they would still beg to go back the very next day. Well, today was extra special because Dora the Explorer was coming the McWane Center and, gasp, taking pictures with the children! When I first found out about it, I told McKaylee and her entire face lit up in a way I have never seen before. I honestly regret telling her two weeks in advance because I have been interrogated daily about when we are going to meet Dora. "Is today the day?", "We going to McWane Center today to meet Dora?", "I see Dora today?", "We're going bye-bye to meet Dora at McWane Center?". Yes, every day I have been pestered with these endless questions by my very desperate daughter. So when we woke up this morning and she asked her daily question, it was my pleasure to reply, "Yes, today we are going to meet Dora!!!".
Of course, in honor of this event, we had to watch a Dora movie this morning, wear a Dora shirt to the McWane Center, carry our little Dora purse and bring the Dora backpack. It was like Dora overload. And as excited as I secretly was to watch all of this unfold, nothing could have prepared me for how absolutely precious the whole thing was. I have never, in my life, seen McKaylee so excited about something. When the double-life-sized Dora walked out into the room, she went crazy. Chunks started waving her little hand and blowing kisses, jumping up and down and was just beside herself with joy. We had to wait in a 30 minute line to have our picture taken with Dora and when it was finally our turn, McKaylee was just beaming.
She was insistent that Landen come with her even though, in his own words, he is not really a "fan". Fortunately, he realized her excitement and agreed to go along with it. What a sweet brother he is!
McKaylee hugged Dora, blew her kisses, giggled a little and smiled from ear to ear as Dora the Explorer rubbed her back. After I snapped a picture, McKaylee got down from the bench and just stood there in awe, staring at her precious Dora. She talked about it the rest of the day and even said with great pride, "Dora smiled at me!!!!". I mean, of course she smiled at her, she had a permanent smile sewn onto her cloth face. I got such a kick out of her reaction to this entire situation and it's a memory I will cherish forever.
The only bad part of the day: the parking deck was full so we had to park on the side of the street in downtown Birmingham, there were probably a thousand people at the McWane Center and it was complete insanity trying to keep up with both of my kids, and we had to walk back in the rain to our car and were approached by a homeless man who needed money.....just a little unnerving. But nothing could compare to this picture I have in my mind of the smile on my little girl's face as she lived out a little girl's dream come true...