Before my second son was born, I was the oh-so-naïve mom trying to satisfy my firstborn’s every whim, which much to my dismay included listening to a collection of children’s nursery songs everyday, stuck in traffic, to and from work … did I mention everyday? Now the thing about infants and nursery rhymes is—you not only have to sing along to entertain your wee one, but you also need to engage in the quirky gyrations that accompany each song. And don’t forget, all of this while driving. Now I don’t condone road rage, but after a few rounds of nursery rhymes in the car, I can empathize.
One song in particular that always seemed to hit the CD changer was “Where Is Thumpkin?” Personally, I knew exactly where Thumpkin was—he was in HELL with me and all the other darn nursery rhyme songs! Anyway, here I am singing along and going through the motions when all of a sudden—someone cuts me off in rush hour traffic right when I am on “Tall Man”! At that moment, I had an epiphany—I could just drive in rush hour every day and satisfy my hatred for nursery rhymes and rush hour traffic by innocently displaying tall man at every turn! You cut me off?! Tall man this! Who you honkin’ at?! I’ll tell you—it’s tall man! Say hello to my little friend—tall man! I was killing two birds with one tall man—and loving it!
Okay, by now I am sure you are wondering if I have a point—and yes, I do. It’s a tall point, called tall man! Sorry. Flashbacks … Seriously, here is my modern mama advice:
There are two crucial tips for any modern mama who has to endure long car rides stuck in traffic day after day with their precious offspring:
1. Get them to start listening to and enjoying “clean” versions of your favorite genre of music. By the time Dylan was born, Jalen was already two, and after developing arthritis in both middle fingers from too much tall man, I needed to make a change. Here is what I learned. Kids like repetition. They also like upbeat songs. After pre-screening all of my CDs, I made a car ride CD full of clean (or radio) versions of songs from artists I enjoy. And you know what? The results were amazing! Jalen loved it! Fast forward two years and now, this mama has her sanity back and her kids can both spell “bananas” thanks to Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”—not to mention they are even learning directions, thanks to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”! There is something endearing about a four-year old singing “to the left, to the left, everything you own is in a box to the left”!
2. My second tip is, purchase or download current Disney soundtracks for you and your kids to enjoy in the car. I actually enjoy listening to the “Cars” soundtrack as well as songs by Rob Thomas from “Meet the Robinsons.” The boys now even visit Disney.com and have grown fond of the Jonas brothers all on their own—and you know what? Nowadays “life (and the car ride!) is a highway and I wanna ride it all night long,” thanks to Rascal Flatts and the “Cars” soundtrack!
I hope you found this advice helpful … and if you didn’t, I would like to invite you to please join me in a round of “Where Is Thumpkin” … We’ll skip to the verse right after “where is pointer”!