February 7, 2013

loose definitions

recently, benny has decided that he is my backseat DJ.
what, you ask, is a backseat DJ?
it is a 4-year-old.
who has begs for his mother's phone.
then asks her to shut off the radio.
and then  randomly flips through the songlist to play music for all to enjoy during the car ride.

each and every time ben selects a song, he holds up the phone so that i can see it in the rear view mirror, and he asks, "do you know this one, mom?"
ben is exceptionally impressed that, to date, i have known every song.
i have tried to explain that i get to pick the music that goes into my phone.
this concept is a bit high level.
so, if my kid wants to think i have the world's highest level knowledge of music, so be it.
i tried to explain otherwise.

yesterday, benny chose a song called All I Want by Toad the Wet Sprocket.
i included a link, because if you are like some of the students i work with, you were busy being born in 1992 when this song was released.
not in high school.

anyway, per usual,  benny asked if i knew the song.
i said yes.
he was impressed.
he then sat and listened to the music for a bit.
this is actually my favorite part of this process.
typically, after a chorus or so, he does his best to sing along.
even if it is the first time he has heard a song.
after a while, he paused the song.
"mom, what is this song about?"
i stalled for a minute, trying to think through the lyrics.
after a quick assessment, i realized i have no idea whatsoever what this song is actually about.
while i was busy realizing this, ben answered his own question.
"i think this song is about treehuggers."

sometimes it is very hard not to laugh out loud when children speak.
i have no idea where benny learned this term.
even if they were doing a lesson on the environment at child care, i can't imagine "treehugger" was part of the information shared.
so, i asked benny, "what does the word 'treehugger' mean?"

i glanced back in the rear view mirror.
benny looked up at me.
his face was the picture of disappointment.
(whether it was directed at my seemingly poor vocabulary skills, or just the fact that life gave him a mother who needed this definition, wasn't clear.)
"mom. they are the people who hug the trees."

i sometimes forget that life is so much more simple at 4.
benny then flipped to Pride (In The Name of Love) by U2.
i actually could have talked about the meaning of this one.
even tied it back to his more recent enhanced understanding of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
i was ready.
so, of course, he didn't ask.

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