I was always adamant when the boys were little that I wasn’t going to be one of those moms who always put the kids’ music on in the car. I mean, we had a couple of cassettes (YES, I SAID CASSETTES: my boys were little in the 90’s.) that were in the genre of Children’s Music–and by “a couple”, I literally mean “two”–but for the most part the soundtrack for our time in the car was made up of Top 40 radio and tunes from the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I figured that the boys would grow to like whatever music we listened to, and I was right.
Of course, that led to them being able to sing along with “Baby Got Back”, an accomplishment I am more proud of than embarrassed by, because it’s one of my all-time favorite songs AND the lyrics are made up of innuendo and slang that my kids found fun to sing while not understanding one bit of the true meaning at the time.
At sixteen, D found himself singing along to it in the car after not having heard it in a long time, and suddenly said to me, “Wow, Mom: I can’t believe you allowed us to listen to this when we were little.” I just laughed.
Little did he know at the time, I wasn’t as delinquent in parenting when it came to music as he thought.
In 2002, I became hooked on the Missy Elliott song “Work It”. I always turned up the volume when it came on the radio, and the kids loved it, too. J’s favorite part was “Get your hair did,” and he laughed uncontrollably every time he heard it.
I decided to purchase the “Under Construction” CD (YES, I SAID CD because it was 2002 and I had a different car at this point) and played it CONSTANTLY…but only when the kids weren’t in the car. Missy Elliott’s music is fun, but explicit. REALLY explicit. (The album included the explicit version of “Work It”, which is very different from the radio edit.) I believe that “Under Construction” is the only CD I purchased before my kids were teens that I felt the need to hide from them.
That said, the second the boys hopped out of the car to go to school or wherever, I flipped over from the radio to Missy, singing along at the top of my lungs (yes, every word) and almost wearing the CD out…and when they climbed back into the car I shut it off.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. I was in the kitchen baking cookies for twenty-year-old D to take back to college while listening to Spotify. “Work It” came on, and D laughed, saying “I love Missy Elliott.”
When “Gossip Folks” (from the same album) came on next, he looked at me and said, “Ooh, is this a new song?”
I took lots of pride in being able to tell him that no, it wasn’t new at all. I didn’t tell him that I bought it when it had just been released and played it nearly to death when he wasn’t around, but an odd sense of motherly accomplishment washed over me as I smiled and turned away to put the cookie sheets in the oven.