Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

Hell, I’m *driving* the truck.

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

We had an interesting conversation at dinner tonight, my babies and I. It all began, as many things do around here,  with iPods: who’s currently in possession of theirs (iPods are a popular item for Mom to suspend usage of during periods of correctional activity), what music is on yours, what “apps” are on mine and not yours, what music your friend gave you and can I have it too, what new app my friend told me about and now I can’t live without it so please can I get it after dinner, when do I get mine back because I think it’s time to get it back, why you took mine away, etc. etc. etc.

iPods are valuable around here.

At one point Child #4 attempted, quite obviously, to throw #3 and #1 under the metaphorical Bus by revealing to me the kind of music that was recently added to #3’s iPod as a result of #1’s influence. Both numbers 1 and 3 put on their “who, me?” expressions and told #4 to be quiet because he didn’t know what he was talking about. #4 insisted that he *did* know what he was talking about — that #3’s iPod now had songs on it that were “explicit.” When I asked #4 what exactly “explicit” meant, he looked at me like I was incompetent and said (with “duh” implied), “Bad words, Mom.” (In my defense, it was a logical question. The kid’s eight, for crying out loud. I haven’t seen “explicit” on his spelling lists yet.)

But I surprised them — rather than getting all crazed about inappropriate lyrics in these songs, I instead said (coolly, I might add), “I’m aware of what’s on the iPods. It’s my iTunes account, remember? Do you people think I’m standing in the middle of the turnip field, having just fallen off the truck? ‘Where’s Mom?’ ‘I dunno,’ ‘Oh look, there she is, over there in that turnip field. She must have just fallen off the truck.’ ” “Guys,” I intoned,”I’m not that dumb, sorry to disappoint.”

[And let me just pause here to say that my turnip field/truck line was an inspired one, if I do say so myself. I cracked them up, and rightly so. {And as those who know me can attest, tooting my own horn is something that I do on occasion. My rationale: if you can’t toot your own horn, why would anyone else do it for you?} Now, back to the post.]

We then had a brief conversation about music and lyrics. I told them that I was more offended by the Rhianna/Eminem song “I love the way you lie” because it was about domestic violence — and I wasn’t even sure there were any bad words in it. I find the theme offensive…words are just words.

So that got me thinking (did you know Banned Book Week is just over?): I feel that music is like any other art — like writing or painting or sculpture: censoring the fine arts does no one any service. However, I do believe that I have the right, as a parent, to restrict what my children are exposed to, and to make a big deal over one “bad word” in the context of an otherwise innocuous song seems like shouting down the rain. Better that I spend my time monitoring the themes of the music they are exposed to and determine if they are understanding what they are hearing. Did my 10 year old even understand that Rhianna song was about being beaten, or did he just hear it as a “good song”? Do they listen to that garbage from Kanye West at the VMA’s a couple of weeks ago and get disgusted by the lack of creativity, or get titillated by the bad words?

I love music. I can’t imagine a world without it — I love all kinds, all genres, all decades. (My #1 believes that I intentionally put on the 60s or 70s channel on satellite radio to torment her specially. This is not true: no torment, just hope that we’ll hear something fantastic like, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” or “Windy.”) I think I only do my children a favor to expose them to as much music as possible — bad words or no — provided that, like film or books, the themes are age-appropriate and enhance the values that I am trying to teach at the dinner table.

You know, the values that cover attempts to throw your sibs under the bus — or under the turnip truck that you think your mother has fallen off of.

~~While I was writing this, here’s what came up on my random playlist:
  • Yellow, Coldplay
  • I Think I Better Leave Right Now, Will Young
  • Zephyr, Mary-Chapin Carpenter
  • Lovers’ Cross, Jim Croce
  • Famous, Vertical Horizon
  • Knights in White Satin, Moody Blues
  • Amazing Grace, Phil Vassar
  • Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Dionne Warwick
  • The Impression That I Get, Mighty Mighty Basstones
  • The Water is Wide, Karla Bonoff (from the Thirtysomething soundtrack)
  • Good Night New York, Christine Lavin & Julie Gold et al. (from the album Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me: Don’t Mess My Hair)
  • Where You Are, October Project
  • Ashes to Ashes, Darden Smith

Things I love today (Thursday), and every day.

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I’ve been reflecting over the past week or more about my children growing up, my role as a parent, and how we’ve all changed so much in the past 14 years. I think it was prompted by Julia Roberts’s appearance on Oprah last week, where she was rhapsodizing about the loveliness that are her children, the loveliness that is her life with them at home in New Mexico. Listening to her, I felt a little bit sorry for myself, because she was just glowing with happiness (but I guess it could’ve been the Lancome makeup as she’s now the spokesmodel) about how terrific it is to have 3 kids under 5 — how they all get along, love each other and things at her house are just so idyllic.

I almost never glow with happiness (nor Lancome). Although things are better now that the four children are in school full days and we’re not together every waking moment, I don’t really recall a time when my home life was worth glowing about. Don’t get me wrong — we live a charmed life, and I do know that. No one is sick, injured, or needing any kind of special care. My husband has a great job which allows me to stay home — if that’s what I want to do (and for now it is) — and he has good job security. With all that’s going on in the world, I know that there is nothing for me to complain about.

But still. I hear someone rhapsodize about how fantastic it is to be a parent, about how great everything is, and I wonder,  “What is wrong with me?” I don’t think I can rhapsodize. I get too aggravated by repeating the same things over and over and over again (“your lunchbox goes on the counter when you come in from school,” is a great example. We have 2 more days of school lunches, and STILL I am saying this. Clearly, I live the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result).

I recognize that I need an attitude adjustment. So here, in honor of “Things I Love Thursday,” are some thoughts on “Things I Love” (with a nod to my cousin ASL who uses the “Thing” label freely with her own offspring):

Thing 4: He is my “baby” but I don’t think of him as such. He is growing up too fast, too soon, because he has the influences of his older sibs to rush the whole process. He has the longest eyelashes in the world, and the cutest freckles across his nose. He can raise one eyebrow independent of the other. He still likes me to read out loud to him at night (current selection is the classic Judy Blume, SuperFudge), likes to wear pajamas (instead of large t-shirts and weird sweatpants), and doesn’t like to brush his teeth. His giggle is infectious — particularly when he is acting his age and not his father’s waist size. He represents his Irish heritage well — he’s always got a story to tell. I adore him.

Thing 3: He is my first introduction to “Son” after having two girls. The fairest of the fair, with bright blue eyes, blonde hair and blonde blonde blonde eyebrows (like me!), he best manifests my genes (finally! one of them does!). He’s got a great smile (that will need signficant orthodontia, I’m told) and a sly wit. For a while he was known (quietly) as Eczema Boy after many months of rashiness as an infant that was *finally* diagnosed as a milk allergy, but now he’s known (less quietly) as Rash Boy since he remains susceptible to weird marks, bites and sunburns. Although we had a bit of a rough start in terms of the Whininess Levels, he has grown into an easygoing child who doesn’t let too much rattle him. (Science test? What science test?) He’s fun to be around. I adore him.

Thing 2: She teaches me every day that just because you have one daughter, all girls are not the same. Just when I thought I had this parenting gig down (and was pretty confident about it), she came along and upended my apple cart. In the best way. She’s all curls and happiness, even now as an adolescent. When she was little, her voice sounded like your grandmother’s — the grandma who enjoyed a Pall Mall with her morning coffee and rye on the rocks at Happy Hour. One eye is brown and one eye is blue. This sums up her personality too — one minute the world is a fantastic place, and the next everything is awful. (Mood swings? Not really. Just super highs and super lows. Is that a mood swing?) When she was a baby and we were spending some time at the Jersey Shore, a neighbor called my mom to ask, “Is everything ok over there? I’ve heard a baby crying for hours.” Everything was fine, it was just Baby Girl 2 in residence. She has the biggest heart and the smartiest brain. She’s sensitive and loving, with a keen sense of justice. She’s got a great sense of humor and a deep belly laugh that is the most beautiful of sounds. She’ll be president of her class or running the school — one of the two. Everyone tells me how great she is. I adore her.

Thing 1: She’s turning into someone who’s not really a Thing anymore — she’s almost 14. Next year she’ll be in high school, and I’m not sure how that happened. She was my City Baby — born when we lived in a small brownstone in Hoboken. She walked to the small bodegas, the bookstore, and the park with me. She talked to everyone and her best friend was a bulldog named Jake. Her first non-mama word was “helicopter” when she was 12 months old, and when she was 18 months old if you asked her how old she was she’d say, “I’ll be two in August.” She grew into a quiet soul, who taught herself to knit, loves to write and read, and watches all that vampire stuff on the CW. I think she is the most like me — she’s the better parts of me — smart and snarky, quick with a comment or wry observation. Like me when I was her age, I think her best days are still ahead of her — college and beyond — and sometimes when she’s patient with me I’m able to tell her that. She’s thoughtful and kind, and very very smart. I adore her.

Attitude adjustment complete.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

© 2010-2017 Common Sense, Dancing All Rights Reserved (Translated: The content's mine. Stealing isn't nice.)