Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dear Sixty

Dear Sixty,

Never in my life did I imagine that upon hearing you, I would burst out into uncontrollable laughter. 

One day, we were leaving an ice cream shop walking to our car.

Dear Son (singing): I'm sixty and I know it!  I'm sixty and I know it!

Me (puzzled): Is that a song?

DS: My friend at school sings this song.

Me: How does it go again?

DS (giggling): I'm sixty and I know it!

Me: Sixteen or sixty?

DS: Sixty.  How long will it take for me to be sixty?

Dear Daughter: Um, fifty-six years.

Me: That's a long time. 

DS: Oh.  (Continues singing).  I'm sixty and I know it!  I'm sixty and I know it!

We get in the car and drive home.  This upbeat song that I had never heard before comes on the radio.  Since I was having my 'car ride quiet time' and zoning out, Dear Husband noticed the lyrics in the song.

DH (to me): I think this is the song!

Singer on radio (with naughty tone): I'm sexy and I know it!  I'm sexy and I know it! 

DS (catches on): I'm sixty and I know it!  I'm sixty and I know it! 

Me (I snap out of my revery): OooooOooooOooooh!

DD (giggling): Mommy, I don't think he's singing, 'sixty'...

Me: Yes, I know, that's okay (as I burst out into uncontrollable laughter).

Meanwhile, DS is really singing now.  I'm sixty and I know it!  I'm sixty and I know it!  Complete with arm movements and hip action all the while strapped in his 5-point-harness car seat.  I wonder where he saw the dance action from?  Hmmm.  So all the way home, DS sang about being sixty, DD laughed until she wheezed, and I cracked up until I had tears in my eyes.  DH even smiled ear-to-ear while driving and trying to keep his eyes on the road.


On a more serious note, I had to think about the significance of this 'new' word in my kids' vocabulary.  DS is four, and he has no idea what it means.  For all he knows, it's the age of a grandpa.  And I'm going to leave it at that because I know for sure that he would never sing in public anyway.  But for DD at age 8, it's something I have to address.  I asked DD what the word 'sexy' means when we got home, out of the earshot of DS.  With a hint of a smile, she told me that she doesn't really know how to describe it, but I can tell that she's heard it before, and that there's a sort of 'off-limits' feel to that word.  I decided to think about how to deal with this a little more before diving in.

That night, I googled the song on my smartphone (I admit to not being very pop culture-savvy).  Even before actually seeing the video, there was a 'content warning' to which I had to promise I was mature enough to watch it.  Oh goodness.  So the song turns out to be by LMFAO, a duo of American electro pop singers/rappers whose music is centered on partying and drinking (info courtesy of Wikipedia).  While I can laugh at what I'm seeing on the screen, these are the very kinds of things I'd like my kids to not see until at least late teenage years, if that.  As the video played in front of me, I then understood why DS was trying to gyrate his hips and move his arms while singing the song.  What on earth is he learning from his friends at school?

Then I looked up the word 'sexy' in the dictionary.  None of the definitions was age appropriate for DD.  DH said that we can just tell her that it means 'glamorous'.  But I went a bit further than that.  On our second discussion of this word, I suggested to DD that the word 'sexy' usually refers to one's appearance.  She agreed.  Then I said, "You know how some people dress in ways that show a lot of skin, like tank tops or less?  Some people consider that to be 'sexy', but it's not an appropriate way for children to dress, and it's not appropriate even for grown-ups sometimes.  But that word can also mean 'glamorous', depending on how it's used."  DD listened and smiled, and went along her merry way when I was done.  All I could think of was: It's coming up very soon, and I better get ready for 'that conversation' when the time is here. 

So, Sixty, I appreciate your comical appearance in our household, but you have also provided an impetus for me to start formulating an important future discussion in my head.  As much as I would like to put it off, I know it's not for much longer.  It's really not the anatomical/physiological explanations that I dread, but more the social/emotional parts that come along with them.  The latter cannot be discussed in a matter or hours or a few sittings like the former.  It will take years of struggle between my 'wish to protect' and my 'logic to let go' to come remotely close to completing the discussion with DD, and then DS some years later.  Honestly, I don't know how any of this will pan out. 

For all I know, it might take until I'm sixty before I know it!



  1. Oh I feel for you. It's not easy or fun when there is so much pop culture out there that is NOT appropriate for children at all. And so many parents aren't aware or just don't care. The wee ones love the song California Gurls and ... I'm glad they don't get the meaning behind a lot of it. Yet. But you can't completely shelter them or they'll be ostracized at school. It's a fine line to walk, and we have those types of conversations a LOT.

  2. Michelle, I guess for us parents, the most important thing is to keep lines of communication open so that the kids won't be confused about what they hear from outside the home. And I know what you mean about being ostracized, as I was brought up that way.

  3. That was such a great read Sandra. Ya makin me smile!!! BIg time!!! Well, sexy...hmmm, what to say. After 5 minutes of great thought and reflection LOL (I was washing dishes) this is what i would define it to be for her age group or maybe next year... It is to believe that you yourself or another person has sex appeal. Sex appeal, scientifically meaning that the person has enough attractive looks and/or attributes that it would be possible for that person to procreate. Just like male birds that have colorful feathers- those feathers attract female birds therefore making it more possible for that male bird to mate. In the wild, you may be a better fighter (Lion, Gorilla) or have bigger Antlers and in the wild that would be considered sexy. Of course everybody has their own idea of sexy and she will come to find out that some ideas are yucky and inappropriate. But once you become a woman, just knowing that you are beautiful, inside and out, no matter what pop culture says or what other stupid kids say , is all that matters. She does know that she isn't allowed to date until she is 28, right?

  4. Helen, Daddy has his shotgun ready! But I hadn't thought of going the scientific or animal world route, which I think she can relate to much easier right now. Although I need to make sure she understands what "pro-create" means first. But that's a great idea. Gosh, I'm just not ready for her to understand what "sex appeal" means yet. But that's just the Mommy side of me speaking. Boy, do we have a long road ahead of us!

  5. Joey came up to me and said "I'm a sexy girl", the lyrics from a song on the WII. I tried not to laugh my booty off.