When my oldest kids were very small, I spent a lot of time in the car.
A lot of time in the car.
You know how it is: I didn’t always have anywhere specific to go, and taking babies and toddlers into the store or library was sometimes too overwhelming to contemplate.
But I didn’t want to sit around the house all day, either – so at some point during the day, I’d usually strap the boys into the car and head out…nowhere in particular.
And the soundtrack of our lives, as we made the familiar loop from the park to the mall to the drive-thru, was what felt like an endless loop of Oscar, Grover, Bert, and Ernie.
At first I’d tried to keep up popular music, but after a while it just seemed easier to crank up something the kids loved and zone out for a while. And since I don’t, in general, love kids’ music, I relied on favorite tunes from my own childhood – cassette recordings of some of the best classic Sesame Street albums – to get me through those long, meandering drives.
It worked…more or less. I really do love me a rousing rendition of “Rubber Duckie,” so listening to it eighteen times a day wasn’t too torturous.
But while I am generally a walking encyclopedia of pop culture references and top 40 lyrics, there is a huge block of time from those days of my life – concentrated around the years 1998-2000 – that are just a blank for me. People will play some song or other or mention a TV show or book that came out around that time, and I just stare at them uncomfortably, feeling like a foreigner or an alien. I got nothin’. Well, nothin’ except “Has Anybody Seen My Dog?”
I think we all go through this phase, right? It’s normal, and serves a purpose. But at some point, you find yourself bopping along to kids’ music in the car and then realize there are no kids in the car. Or you want to speak semi-intelligently about a new TV series or movie at a party, and all you can come up with are theories about Max and Ruby’s parentage or whether or not you thought Hans was a believable villain in Frozen.
It’s natural for kids’ entertainment to rule our lives for a length of time, but at some point, you’re ready to start consuming something slightly more sophisticated. The problem is, when you’ve fallen out of the habit, you might have to give yourself a gentle push back toward adult TV, movies, literature, or music.
Today’s challenge: find one source of “grown-up” media and figure out a way to make it part of your day.
- Subscribe to a meaty newspaper or interesting magazine
- Look up a new TV series on Netflix
- Sign up for an interesting email newsletter (and while you’re at it, unsubscribe to one you no longer read or need)
- Ask a friend for a book recommendation and put it on hold at the library or purchase on your Kindle
- Go to a streaming music service like Pandora or Spotify and try a channel that sounds interesting – even if you don’t know any of the music
- Find a podcast that sounds interesting and figure out how to listen to them
- Program the radio buttons on your car to stations YOU genuinely like.
Any other ideas? How did this challenge go for you? Share here in the comments or at the Beyond Baby Facebook group!