7

Rumor has it I’ve quit writing. As rumors go, this one has more legs than most because it’s been two months since I’ve posted anything. One of the deals I made when I started the new location for the blog was that I was going to write more, and, for the most part, I’ve managed to do that. Until this summer.

Unlike in the past, however, I have a fairly good reason for this. The WCG and his transportation devices1 were home on furlough for the summer. Call it “otherwise engaged.”

Lots of things happen when the WCG hits town. NRH2O tickets appear in purses. Root beer and ice cream appear in the refrigerator and freezer for the nightly root beer float. Johnny Test shows up in the Recently Viewed section of our Netflix account.2 And the playlist when he’s in the car suddenly gets a lot more specific.

Those of you with children know that in the early ages, repetition is king. First time parents are often caught unawares by this (because their parents are looking for payback and their friends are looking for some company in their misery), and make the mistake of playing, or showing, that first, precious child something that looks fun. And the child laughs and giggles and it is fun.

Once.
Twice.
Maybe three times.

But after the 20th time, it starts to lose its sense of fun. After the 50th, you begin to develop a tic. After the 1000th, you’ve made a list of the 431 ways you could turn that purple dinosaur into oil so he could join his predecessors.

Grandparents have long memories; they give Barney videos for baby’s first Christmas and cackle all the way home. And they make sure the grandkids don’t see/hear anything at Nana/PaPa’s house that they (the grandparents) don’t want to see/hear a lot.

Which brings us to the WCG. For him, repetition was usually about the things he did rather than the things he saw/heard. The first time I spun him around by his hands, he wanted to do it another four or five times. The first time he climbed up my legs and chest and did a backflip, I looked like I’d been lying in the road during the Boston Marathon by the time he’d had enough.

But at some point a few years ago, when we were going somewhere in the car, I played him an Adele song. And that was the end of that. The next time we got in the car, he wanted that song again. And the next time. And the next time. Interestingly, he only appeared to associate the song with the car, so he only asked for it there. But he asked for it every single time we were in the car.

Of course, on a scale of things that your [grand]child can get addicted to, Adele’s near the top of the good end of the scale. Things could be a lot worse (see Lady Gaga). I’m on record3 that the song I played the WCG is the best four minutes of R&B ever recorded by a woman not named “Aretha”.

The good news is that he was only in the car with me a few times a month4, and we were never going very far. We’d typically only get through three or for plays before we got to our destination.

But, even listening to that Grammy award-winner can get a little old. So, eventually, I tried to broaden his horizons. First up, the Queen herself, both “R.E.S.P.E.C.T” and “Chain of Fools.” “Boring!” How about some Ashley Cleveland, “Big Town?” “Boring!” OK, Adele it is. How about this Adele song? “Play it again!” Whew. It took some effort, but the play list was now doubled in size. Where it stayed for the ensuing three years, despite several additional efforts to expand it.

When the kids got in this summer, it took him a few times in the car to realize where he was, and remember what was available. He’d also learned her name in the interim. “Play Adele!” “Ex-squeeze me?” “Please play Adele!”

After a two-year absence, I found I’d missed Ms. Adkins — those really are a couple of great songs. I don’t know that we’ll ever know what it is about those songs that he loves (“What do you like about them?” “I don’t know”), but I don’t know that it matters, either. What matters is that he loves them, and so I love playing them for him.

However, the difference between pre-Cambodia and now is, since they were on furlough, his parents were always in the car with us, too. And his parents aren’t quite as fond of that two-song playlist as he and I are. So, we had try #17 at expanding his music horizons.

I thought I was going to get away with Ashley’s “Love on the Mainline” (see here) since he didn’t yell “boring!” after eight seconds, but when it was over all he said was, “Adele!” Fine. One of the times the two of us were out alone, I hit “Next” after the two songs were over until I heard something I thought he might like. And, lo and behold, he did.

Great, we’re up to three songs. Three Adele songs. Three Adele songs off the same album.

The funniest part of this story is that he also watched the Star Wars movies for the first time while he was here. (Where by “Star Wars movies” I mean Episodes 4-7, which is what everyone should mean when they say “Star Wars movies.”) And in anticipation of the event, his best friend in Cambodia had introduced him to a parody song (although neither of them knew it’s a parody) by the name of “Hello (from the Dark Side)”. When he wasn’t asking for his usual playlist, he wanted to hear that song four times in a row.

That’s right, he likes Adele songs even when he doesn’t know they’re Adele songs.

His transportation devices took him back to Cambodia a few weeks ago. Since then, Nana and I have been trying our best not to be rolling in the deep, with various degrees of success. The now three-song playlist is back in storage, to be taken out in a couple of years.

Until then, I’ll be waiting.


  1. Otherwise known as his parents, my daughter and son-in-law. We love them, too.
  2. He’ll watch Phineas and Ferb with me occasionally, but his morning ritual is Johnny Test. Much to my chagrin; that is a bad TV show. He probably could have skipped a grade by now if he hadn’t killed off so many brain cells watching that stupidity.
  3. See what I did there?
  4. He quickly learned that PaPa was the only one who had the song. I suspect the kids had it but quickly deleted it off their phones.

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