Tuesday, January 31, 2012
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!