Professor Pocket: a mom’s best winter afternoon friend

Today, I write with good news. I have found a no-fail keep-your-kids-calm-for-an-hour activity. Impossible, you say?

Meet Professor Pocket, a family-owned company created to help children develop a lifelong passion for learning languages. Their website offers a series of bilingual Spanish/English CD’s that teach your children to “canta Espanol, habla Espanol.” And, even though I claim to be a laid-back mom that doesn’t try to over-stimulate her overstimulated children, Professor Pocket is my new best friend.

I received a set of Professor Pocket CD’s and puppets as a gift from their creator, Nathalie Simmons Jorge, when she and I appeared on a parenting panel together in Charlotte in September. My kids listened to the CD’s a few times, and really enjoyed them, but then the holiday season set upon us and the Christmas music came out for a while.

But the holidays are over. The presents are all opened. And yesterday was one of those January afternoons that make you want to slit your wrists: gray and cold outside, dark at 4:45, and neither of my exhausted boys had anything to do after school but play Scratch ‘n Scream in our den, while their notoriously light-sleeping sister napped on the other side of the wall. Desperate, I reached for the CD player and popped in Professor Pocket: Our Silly Farm Adventure.

And it was as if I had pressed a giant pause button on a giant household remote. Fergus and Cooper dropped to the floor, right where they were, and listened, deep in a bilingual trance.

Professor Pocket herself (yes, she is a girl!) has a soothing voice. The songs are catchy but not get-up-and-dance-around catchy, just kind of hang out and listen catchy. Like the White Album.

After about twenty minutes of them listening in silence, I was so shocked I of course had to attempt to interrupt them.

MOMMY: Fergus, do you like listening to Professor Pocket?

FERGUS: (completely zoned out) Yes… yes, I do…

The song they are listening to, “Todos los cerdos puede decir Oink,” is totally in Spanish.

MOMMY: What are they saying, Ferg?

FERGUS: I don’t know… I don’t… speak… Spanish…

The refrain of the song comes around again.

FERGUS: Wait. Dey say “oink.”

MOMMY: Who says oink? Los cerdos?

FERGUS: Mommy, just wet me wisten.

He goes back to listening contentedly.

And that was how he spent the next hour, splayed on the rug, saving what had been a decidedly difficult afternoon.

Will Fergus and Cooper learn Spanish? Maybe after another few dozen listens, which, believe me, he will be fully up for. Until then, I’m more than content with the peace Desi el Dinosaurio has brought to my home. Bless you, Professor Pocket!