Posted by: Kate | June 7, 2008

Living in a Cheerio World

Like pretty much everyone else I’ve met, I didn’t wait until I actually was a parent before developing and spouting off any number of parenting theories.  I had been a child once, had seen others be children, and had some firm ideas about what would, and would not, work.  I could afford to be smug, because I couldn’t be expected to actually enact any of those theories.

I wouldn’t spank.  I would minimize or even eradicate all television.  The only toys in the house would be of some sort of naturally occurring substance – no plastic.  We would serve the same food for our kids as for ourselves, and we would let them cry it out at bedtime.

Then I had Emily, and the reality came crashing down upon me.  Most of those theories were heavily modified, and some were abandoned altogether.  There’s nothing like having children to make you realize just how little you actually know about parenting.

But there was one rule that stuck; one that has worked for us.  I proclaimed, from the start, that no children’s music would be played in my car.  They could have their own music in their rooms – and in fact a CD each night is an integral part of the bedtime routine – and they could sing their little buns off, but no Raffi would ever slide into my stereo.  I don’t have anything against children’s music much of the time – some of it is, it’s true, absolutely horrifying, but there are lots of melodic and interesting choices out there, stuff we can listen to together.  I just didn’t want to allow the kids to be in charge of much in the vehicles; cars are for grown-ups, and the driver chooses the music.

So I just announced, “Sorry, kids music doesn’t play in my car.”  And they never argued it.  Instead, they’ve learned to adjust, to find music of mine and Willem’s that they enjoy, too.  I have a very clear memory of a then-two-year-old Emily singing along with System of a Down about “when angels deserve to die,” and we’ve been to a number of concerts as a family: Blues Traveler, Barenaked Ladies, Godsmack.  We’re going to see the Dave Matthews Band next weekend, and Styx and Boston in August.

Beyond the obvious bonding and warm-fuzzies when you can share musical taste, there’s the hilarity that ensues when they make up their own minds about the lyrics.  Like when Madonna sings about “living in a Cheerio world, and I am a Cheerio girl,” or when the Eagles chant, “Jacob pick it up, Jacob put it down,” at the end of Dirty Laundry.

Another strict rule in our house is that you don’t correct the mispronunciations and incorrect lyrics of a Small Person.  They’ll grow up and it’ll stop being cute all too soon.



  1. Lol! Thanks for the laugh.
    I know of what you speak with the plastic toys, I used to have that rule. I remeber when my mil brought over the first enormous, molded-plastic yard toy that she found at a yard sale. I spent the whole summer trying to keep my head from exploding every time I walked out into the yard. And Tommy never even played in it…Oh-how I am going on.

  2. i think that kids’ music is preferable to most music i can find on the radio.

  3. Well, the no-plastic thing went by the wayside early on; we just couldn’t keep up with the gifts and such. And now my son is addicted to Matchbox cars… ah well. Pick and choose the battles…

  4. Meander, it’s sometimes true, but the soundtrack from kids’ shows (Dora, Blues Clues, etc) make my ears bleed. But They Might Be Giants, Laurie Braun, Barenaked Ladies, a bunch of others are quite listenable.

    Just not in the car. 😉

  5. Haha . . almost had that rule but a 2 day drive to Tassie meant I put up with some tapes that our ABC had produced for kids. Fortunately, they were quite adult and humerous so tolerable. Although for the most part, car music is an alternative radio station called Triple J (never mind the language, eat your rusk). Mine too enjoyed songs such as the The Go-Go’s “Alex the Seal” These day’s the worm has turned and I get the lyrics wrong to their listening choices amid much hilarity *senility sets in*

  6. Have to agree with you there. Kids music is horrid. I’m really possessive of the radio in just about any car I’m in, be it mine, Shane’s, or another family member’s. So far, BB doesn’t do much complaining. His mother is only a few years older than me and must listen to the same stuff I do, as I find BB singing along with the radio in my car all the time (and I often listen to the 80s retro station). I had to laugh when I caught him singing along to a Foreigner song that he thought was new.

  7. Hubby shares your POV. And since he does pick-up from the babysitter’s at the end of the day, my children rock out to Dropkick Murphys. Especially the song “Tessie”.

  8. Amen on not correcting the mispronunciations. I’ll never forget my mom trying to teach Maggie the “right” way to pronounce more (she used to say muy, like muy bien). I was livid. If Maggie pronounces something wrong, I usually repeat it in her incorrect manner and we go right on with our day. It’s cute, and you’re exactly right — it will be gone way too quickly.

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