I’m the Meta-Map, I’m the Meta-Map, I’m the Meta-Map

“Say ‘Map!’ Say ‘Map!'” Dora and Boots demanded, as if my family’s life depended on succumbing to their bilingual bullying and pretending to interact with cartoon characters we know can’t really hear us.

Seriously, Dora. Even my two-year-olds know that no matter how loudly you order us around and no matter much we ignore you, you’re still going to pull out that Map.

We know this because we can count on The Map performing a little ditty for us introducing himself roughly 500 times–you know, just in case the rolled-up piece of paper and landmarks all over it aren’t already a dead giveaway.

For my entire Dora the Explorer viewership (about a year now), I have despised this obnoxious piece of parchment, and for a while even began singing along with him using my own lyrics: “Make it stop. Make it stop, make it stop, make it stooop…”

But recently, this has all changed because the Twins have learned his song. Suddenly it went from the World’s Most Annoying Song to Just About The Cutest Thing Ever. My daughter in particular gets it stuck in her head throughout the day and busts it out while eating lunch, building puzzles, and even while sprawled out in her crib, just before falling asleep for her nap.

And so on this particular night, as The Map revealed himself onscreen, my daughter was right with him in her little pixie voice: “I na map. I na map, I na map, I na maaap.”

I’ll admit I’d just finished my second glass of wine at this point. We don’t typically crack Mommy and Daddy’s Special Juice before the kids are in bed, but it was Friday night and we’d had an especially long week, so we figured we’d get the party started a little early.

Sufficiently buzzed and succumbing to the crippling cuteness of my daughter’s singing voice, I thought I’d bury the hatchet with The Map once and for all and sing along with my daughter and my former navigational nemesis.

I looked up at the screen and began. “I’m the map, I’m the…”

And that’s when it hit me.

I stood straight up and hit “pause” on the remote, prompting my entire family to turn my way with facial expressions screaming “Why. The f*ck. Did you pause. The Map?”

“Oh my God!” I gasped, pointing at the screen. “Do you see this?”

“See what?” my wife replied, preparing to roll her eyes.

“Da Map!” my daughter answered.

“No, baby. That’s just it. Is it The Map? Or is it all just a lie?”

“What are you talking about?” asked my baffled wife.

“I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this before! Here, look at this! Look at this!”

I walked right up to the screen and pointed to the singing map in the corner. “Okay, that’s The Map, right?”

The Alleged Map


“We assume he’s The Map because he sings ‘I’m The Map’ roughly 500 times, right?”


“Okay, but now look where he is!” I then traced the outer border on the screen–the border of…wait for it…THE ACTUAL MAP.

The REAL Map

“He IS the map. So why he ON the map?” I declared proudly.

My wife stared blankly. “Because it’s a cartoon?”

“No, no, listen. Don’t you see? Just look at it. He’s a map on The Map claiming that he’s The Map, but he’s not The Map. He’s like, The Meta-Map. Don’t you see? It’s all a lie!”

“Sure, babe,” she replied, smiling politely and taking another sip of wine. “So…can we put Dora back on for the kids now?”

My son looked up from the Lego car he was building. “Daddy…play Dora…”

“Okay, fine. But I just want everyone to know that when that guy sings that song, he’s a freaking liar.”

Pushing play, I took my seat back on the couch as my wife and two children sang along with The Meta-Map:

“I’m The Map, I’m The Map, I’m The Maaap…”

Meanwhile, under my breath, I crafted a new set of lyrics:

“No you’re not, no you’re not, no you’re nooot…”


The Meta-Map

This isn’t over, Meta Map. Our children deserve the truth.


You may also enjoy:

Unanswered Questions from Children's Songs: A Non-Exhaustive List   An Open Letter to Elmo   Good News/Bad News: Please Excuse My Children for Calling You an Ass

If not, at least I’m not a liar.



  1. postpostmoderndad

    Took you long enough. I figured that out on my 2nd or 3rd viewing of the show. There’s some bizarre shit going on with Dora and Diego. THE MONKEY HAS NO PANTS!

    I actually expected you to post a video of your daughter singing the song though.

    And I’m pinning your map/meta-map picture on my Pinterest board.


    • John Pseudonymous

      I have to admit, I tried to get my daughter to sing it for the post, but as usual, she only does it when my phone’s not ready. She really needs to get on the ball.

      Actualy, yeah, it does seem odd that Boots is self-aware but doesn’t wear pants. Fascinating…

      Thanks for sharing, man! I truly appreciate it!


  2. diaperdads

    I’ve always assumed “The Map” was just a subtle creation of Microsoft. It’s designed to sit there and flaunt its ability to help you while distracting you from your document that you’re trying to study. Sound familiar?

    Yes, “The Map” is just an introduction to “The Paperclip” guy in Word. And yes, it’s got an Inception feel to it as well. Even more proof that Dora is just a video game that has gained a semi-sentient state. She knows enough to know she’s alive, but not enough to know that she resides in a pixelated prison being controlled by a cadre of toddlers.


    • John Pseudonymous

      Holy crap! You’re right! He might as well be singing “It looks like you’re going to write a letter? Can I help try to help you by messing with your formatting?”

      There’s definitely some crazy Inception-style layers happening there. I completely forgot that it’s all a video game. At this point, my eyes glaze over when they show the beginning where we jump into the screen like The Matrix.

      This issue definitely merits further research.


  3. miamamma35

    Mommy and Daddy juice….I love it. You’re better than I am though. We can’t wait until they’re in bed. And thankfully, my boys are old enough now that they aren’t so much into Dora anymore….but oh, I remember that effing song!!!!


    • John Pseudonymous

      Yeah, we don’t always hold out until bedtime, but we’re pretty good about it. Congratulations on graduating from that effing song. As for me, I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait…


  4. whatimeant2say

    OK. So, first of all – thank you very much for bringing back something that I had buried deep inside for the last 7 years. Secondly, you are a little bit nuts. And Tres-ly, have you heard Brian Regan’s take on the writing of the song? It’s pretty funny.


    • John Pseudonymous

      First of all, you’re so very welcome. You know you missed it. Secondly, you’re probably right. Boots told me the same thing the other day in Spanglish, but I refused to accept it. Tres-ly, I have not heard it, but will definitely check it out.


  5. Chris Hall

    My son is always saying, “Map, Map” when he wants to watch Dora. I’m guessing it’s easier to say. The few times Jaydon has said Dora it comes out “ora.”
    Jaydon loves the show. And so far I have not gotten tired of it.
    Nevertheless I have started to introduce other educational shows to Jaydon like Leapfrog.

    Chris Hall
    The Adventures of Jaydon and Daddy


  6. Lynn

    I just came across this post. After having the same revelation. Also while drinking wine.
    Maybe we should drink it more often and see what else we discover.


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