|Day 29 of 31 at TWT!|
Just a few minutes from our house, we can zoom along safe, fun backroads with rolling hills, gorgeous views, and few other cars. One minute we're gliding past wide-open, placid farm fields, and around the next bend, we're winding through wooded areas where long, gated driveways lead to mansions we can barely catch glimpses of. On one of our favorite routes, we even sail past the historic, well-preserved farm where the namesake of Sweetie's school, a freed slave, became the first Black farm-owner in the county and hid escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. Just down the road, we peer at the reservoir that now covers the riverbank caves where the escaping slaves would hide until the farm owners rang a bell that signaled safety, and we think about the courage of all involved.
When we're not contemplating history, the girls balance singing loudly along to their playlist, looking at books, and looking out the window. With her musical car mirror, Rainbow Girl can see out the front windshield too, even though she's rear-facing, and I love seeing her little finger in my rearview mirror, pointing into her mirror at something we're approaching. "LOOK!" she'll screech, "DIGGERS!" (Both girls are in love with construction vehicles of all kinds.) Or I'll see her holding up a book, tiny finger on a picture, declaring, "A rabbit! Look, a rabbit!" or "I see Brown Bear, Brown Bear!"
She also loves to introduce each song by shrieking her special nickname for it when she hears the first few notes. For example,"How Far I'll Go" from Moana is "Pig!" because she likes watching for Moana's pig friend to appear in the music video during our YouTube playlist dance parties. "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen is "Quack Quacks!" or "Duckies!" because she loves the little family of ducks that waddles by Anna at one point in the video.
In the car, it's astonishing to see how much she's memorized each video as she narrates her favorite songs by describing what happens in the video, exactly at the right moment in the song, announcing when Moana "dives in the pool!" in "I am Moana", or when Elsa shoots off ice fireworks in "Some Things Never Change".
Even better, she narrates the Spanish ones too, and while I know she just has the songs and their videos memorized like the English ones, she's also connecting the Spanish lyrics she's learning to the pictures in her head from the videos, and starting to learn what some words mean. I'm so proud when she declares, "Nariz means nose!", "I like melon!" or shakes her body at the correct times when "Hormiguita" comes on in the car. (Sweetie loves to help by tickling her in the correct body part as the ant crawls around!) Or when she tells what each letter does in "La Ronda de Vocales": "He bring a present for her mommy! He eats! He rides her bike!" (At just over two, she's still working on English too, and one of her more adorable explorations right now is pronouns that don't always agree with themselves.)
Sweetie, who loves to be Elsa, mostly asks questions about the sights and helps make sure her little sister has the right book or her water cup... until the Frozen songs come on. Then she's fully focused on singing every word at the top of her lungs, making Elsa-ice-power motions with her hands (sometimes copied by Rainbow).
I'm glad we'll be able to start enjoying more time outdoors and using the car to really go to parks (and eventually more normal places), but these winter car rides have been a fun way to get out of the house and yard while still being safe at home together!
"Hormiguita (Ant)" is one of our favorite songs, and I'm so grateful that there are amazing YouTube channels like La Gallina Pintadita with high-quality visuals (and sing-along lyrics for my budding reader) so I can give them access to a whole wider range of Spanish input! Before I discovered this and curated a playlist, Rainbow Girl (with her aversion to new things) was not a fan of me trying to use Spanish. Now, not only does she love Spanish songs, she's gleefully starting to use Spanish to communicate, just like her big Sis and Mommy!