I learned a long time ago that I am not a Wiggles soundtrack kind of mom.
Not that I’m knocking The Wiggles, by any means. I think they’re fantastic. But there’s only so many times you can hear the same songs played over and over again before your brain starts to turn into cold spaghetti. Personally, if I hear The Wiggles too many times, I start to want to bang my head into the steering wheel, smashed banana style.
Or is it ban-AH-na?
Anyway, I digress.
The point is, when my kids and I are in the car, we listen my my music. But I usually filter the selections so they don’t hear anything that might be picked up by young, curious little ears.
For instance, sometimes we listen to the Dixie Chicks. But I always fast forward past “Goodbye, Earl.”
Sometimes we listen to 80’s classic rock. “Eye of the Tiger”? OK for kidlets under 5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me”? Not so much.
Sometimes it’s old-school country. My son rocks “The Ring of Fire” like nobody’s business. And, yes, sometimes there are questions asked about why there is a boy named Sue. We work through those issues as they arise.
And sometimes, when dad’s in the car, we listen to butt-rock. I don’t worry too much about filtering those songs. Really, if I can’t understand a word they’re saying in those Def Leppard songs, I’m not worried that my kids will.
But sometimes, when I’m zoning out in the car, I forget my mom filter. Such was the case the other day when Bobo and I took a short roadtrip.
When Madonna’s Immaculate Collection started blaring in iPod shuffle mode, I was jazzed. We got Into the Groove. We rocked out to “Holiday” and “Lucky Star.” Bobo loved “Material Girl.” You know, because we live in a material world.
But the tone took a more serious note when the next song started playing. You know. That song.
I hadn’t even realized what was on. But I immediately snapped back into focus when the question piped up from the back seat:
“Mom,” my daughter asked. “What’s a FURCHIN?”
I have to admit, I froze. How in the world do you explain “Like a Virgin” to a 5 year-old? Do you even try?
“It’s a strawberry daquiri made for kids!”
“It’s an undiscovered piece of land.”
“A name of a record label.”
“If your father has anything to say about it, what you will be until the ripe old age of 40.”
Sadly, none of these definitions popped into my head at the time.
Instead, I floundered. I panicked.
Instead of brilliance or insight, what popped into my head was, “I think she said Like a Merman.” And I promptly switched over to another song.
I know. I’m obviously no rhymer. But it was the best that I could come up with in my flustered state.
Fortunately, though, this satisfied my daughter. She had seen The Little Mermaid, so maybe this made sense to her. And, for the rest of the car ride, there were no more questions asked about virgins. Or Mermen, for that matter.
But when I got home, I realized I need to refine my iPod selections again. And I immediately started creating a playlist suitable for small ears.
I may have even thrown some Wiggles in there.
Because sadly, I might have to admit. Maybe The Wiggles aren’t so bad after all.
I should have known what I was getting into when I married him.
I was aware of his penchant for rock bands and heavy metal. I knew of his love for playing the air guitar around the house. I had listened to him serenade me with power love ballads.
He was a child formed by the 80’s. It was a part of his past that I couldn’t deny.
I knew he was a butt-rocker.
But what I didn’t know? Is that when your beloved is a butt-rocker, it will affect your offspring. Your children will slowly begin to acquire a taste for the stuff as well. It doesn’t matter how much you shelter them, or immediately try to switch the music over to the Wiggles soundtrack when they are in the car. Sometimes thing slip. Those grating guitar riffs – and the lyrics that accompany them – will find a way to your child’s ears.
And they hear all.
When your beloved is a butt-rocker, your kids might prefer Van Halen over Dixie Chicks. If you happen to be a country fan, you may desperately search for ways to rectify that injustice. To no avail.
When your beloved is a butt-rocker, your kids may be confused about who Cinderella really is. Sometimes it’s a beautiful blue princess; other times, it’s a big hair band reliving the glory days of the 80’s over and over again. This will cause jealousy and mayhem when dad announces he’s going to see a Cinderella concert… sans kids.
Your children may run around the house screaming, “I AM IRON MAN. DEE-DEE-DEE-DEE-DEE-DUM-DOO-DEE-DEE.” All while practicing their air drum flair.
Your daughter may suddenly belt out the chorus to “Livin’ on a Prayer,” in public, causing you to want to hang your head in mortification.
Your kids might see a man sporting a mullet, acid washed jeans and eyeliner, and think nothing of it.
When your beloved is a butt-rocker, he might want to name the family car “Axel.” After Guns n Roses. Because he thinks it’s funny to break out into “Welcome to the Jungle” every time you load the kids up into the car.
And to trump it all, when your beloved is a butt-rocker, he may buy your kids clothes like this.
And even though you groan a little inside when they wear it, you can’t help but think it’s cute. So you laugh, shake your head, and let it slip by.
And you admit should have know what you were getting into… when you married a butt-rocker.
Wow, that feels good to get that off my chest. And Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, you can just pretend the rest of this post never existed.
I was no wild child growing up. But when I ventured off to college and, later, into the big wide world, I spread my wings a little. I did what a lot of young adults did.
I played a little. I experimented a little. And I made some mistakes.
Looking back, there are a lot of times I wished I would have done something, but didn’t. And there are an equal number of things that, if I had a mulligan, I probably wouldn’t do again. I don’t dwell on a lot of these, because what’s done is done. They’re in the past.
Or are they?
As a parent, I wonder if some of my past adventures may possibly rear their ugly heads again. I know that, one day, the uncomfortable questions will likely come. And when my kids ask me about certain events and experiences, what do I tell them? When the time comes, do I reveal some of my confessions to my kids?
Confession #1. I’ve done the deed. Well, the cat’s out of the bag on this one. I think by the time my kids are old enough to learn about the birds and the bees, I don’t think I’ll be able to fool them into thinking the stork brought them. And I think by this point, my parents have probably figured the truth out as well.
But if the questions probe deeper? I don’t even want to think of touching that conversation with a ten-foot poll. Anyway, I’m in denial that we won’t need to have that talk. Because according to Jay, Bobo won’t even be allowed to date until she’s 30. Problem solved.
Confession #2. I drink. I do drink responsibly around my kids; they’ve seen me with a beer or glass of wine in hand. So I can’t deny that.
But if they ask? I certainly never had a sip before I was 21, never did anything stupid while under the influence, and I never got completely snockered.
Yeah, I’m betting my kids won’t buy that one either. I’m wondering if I could just mix a little dirt with water, and tell them that’s what Guinness tastes like. It wouldn’t exactly be a lie, would it?
Confession #3. I’ve celebrated 4/20. But only once. And I never inhaled.
Oh, crap. Someone famous already said that.
I don’t know what to say about this one. I’m just hoping to go with the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on this one. And I hope they never ask.
Confession #4. I love rock & roll My first concert was a Kenny G. concert Ah, finally an easy confession!
I’m not a big rock & roll fan, so I can honestly I’ve never participated in any shenanigans at a rock concert. I once drug Jay to a Dixie Chicks concert, but there was definitely no shenanigans at that event.
I do, however, still receive quite a bit of flack from Jay regarding my undying love for Kenny G.
But at least that’s one confession I don’t mind wholeheartedly admitting to my kids.
I confess, I am guilty of driving under the influence. And no, I’m not referring to the controlled substance kind. I mean the kind that probably most parents have experienced at one time or another: Driving Under the Influence of Kids, or DUIK.
You hear all the time about the dangers of using mobile devices while driving. Earlier in the year, Oregon passed a new hands-free mobile device law. And I am totally on board with all this. The yahoos that drive and simultaneously text/talk on the phone/surf the internet rank high on the list of my own personal pet peeves.
That said, the irony of all the research and controversy over car mobile devices does not escape me. Frankly, I’ve found that driving with munchkins in the car CAN be, and oftentimes IS, exponentially more distracting than any cell phone conversation I’ve ever had.
Driving under the influence of kids is usually not without at least a little excitement. Some familiar hazards of the road include:
Danger: Falling Objects There’s nothing like attempting to retrieve a dropped sippy cup, stuffed animal, or binky while navigating through rush hour traffic. These are actually some of the few times I’m grateful for red lights.
“If you feel like you’re going to be sick, use… oops, nevermind.” Thankfully, I’ve only had a handful of incidents involving one of my kids blowing chunks in the car. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the person who invented rubber floor mats… you are a true genius.
Next rest area: 50 miles?? Don’t get me wrong, I’m elated that Bobo is now potty trained. I have learned the hard way, though, that sippy cups and car rides do not go hand in hand. I also find myself making a mental note of the gas stations we pass in case we need to make a quick 180 later on.
“Um, what’s in your mouth?“ Usually, the item in question is an old cracker or raisin my kids manage to find in one of the crannies of their carseat. The other day, though, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Chip in the backseat, nibbling on a mysterious non-food like item. I maneuvered to the side of the road and pried open his little jaws. Apparently, Chip found a small, plastic bunny that Bobo had left laying around in the car, and proceeded to chew the ear off it. I am glad I noticed it before he ingested it; that would not have been a fun thing to watch for coming out the other end.
“This here car ain’t big enough for the two of us.“ Few things can raise my blood pressure like a wailing child in the back seat. I remember driving to the coast in inclement weather when Bobo was a newborn. She screamed nonstop for the entire car ride (about 3 hours straight). By the end of that trip, J and I were both convinced she would be an only child (guess we were wrong about that one).
This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy driving with Chip and Bobo. The above driving hazards aside, my kids are actually pretty good car travelers. We’ve also learned a few tricks of the trade, including burning a CD of eclectic ” mood music” we like to rock out to (J has been giving the kids air guitar lessons), as well as having a stash of movies, toys and snacks close at hand at all times.
And sometimes, if the stars are aligned just right, the view from the rearview mirror can look pretty sweet.
Ironically, this is an actual picture taken from my phone while in the car with the kids one day. Yes, I was driving. No, the car was not in motion at the time.