When I came home from work, Ulysses was playing with his Mickey Mouse wind-up toy, a mechanical contraption (no electronics, no batteries) with a belt that rolls the Mickey cast across a screen while the Mickey Mouse Club theme plays.
"Puppy!" he said as Goofy rolled by. "Arf! Arf!" Pluto got a similar reaction.
Donald Duck caused much excitement; U watched him in The Three Caballeros non-stop for two days over the weekend. "Duck! Hey, duck!"
Then Mickey came onscreen. Ulysses said, "Cow! Cow!"
"That's a mouse," I said. "Eek, eek! That's Mickey Mouse."
"Mooo!" lowed Ulysses. Just then Minnie Mouse popped into view. "Cow, cow!" he said. "Mooo!"
Ulysses put the toy aside and pulled me to the TV, in front of which dozens of DVDs in plain paper sleeves were strewn on the coffee table. (Don't try to straighten them up, or you'll get in trouble: "NO! No touch!")
"Which one would you like to watch?" I asked. He handed me one. "This one is Thomas the Train." I said.
"Thomas. Choo-choo! No," he said. We put that one aside.
One by one, he handed me discs and I ID'd them: Speed Racer, Wallace and Gromit, Gumby, Betty Boop, Felix the Cat, Three Caballeros (I pointed out that this was the duck movie). He repeated the names and shook his head, saying, "No," for each. Then he handed me a disc of Disney cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s, a collection named, "Starring Mickey."
"This is Mickey Mouse!" I said. Blank stare. "Mickey! It's the mouse! From your toy!" Blank stare. I hot-footed it to the dining table and brought back the toy. I held it alongside the disc. "Look, it's this guy. See? It's the same. This disc has this mouse. This mouse is on this disc. It's him. See?" Again and again I pointed back and forth between the disc and the wind-up toy.
"Him ... him," he said, concentrating on deciphering my message. Then he lit up. "Aha!" he said, and smiled. "Not bad!"
We loaded up the disc together. Mickey's face appeared in the classic Disney starburst at the opening of the first short film.
"Look!" crowed Ulysses. "Cow!"