Background Noise

August 23, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Posted in M'ijo | 10 Comments

We just turned P’ito around in his carseat.  Every time he climbs into his seat, he announces “I a BIG BOY now,” and I swear to g-d his chest puffs out with pride.

Turning him around has brought me face-to-face with a question that has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while.  I get most of my news from NPR, although I persist in subscribing to the Times in the hope that it will osmosize from my front stoop/kitchen table into my brain without being read.

P’ito doesn’t seem to be tuning in to what’s on the radio, but I keep wondering when a little voice from the backseat is going to say, “Mama, what’s ethnic cleansing?”  I frequently think that he’s not paying attention back there, until he chirps in, “I want Ice Cream!” (to a discussion Pili and I were having about whether to stop for I-C-E  C-R-E-A-M  – and he doens’t even know his letters) or demands to hear THAT ONE AGAIN! for the 5th time in a row when we’re listening to one of his cds…  So even though he appears to be oblivious when NPR is on, I don’t know that he really is tuning out, or if he is, how much longer I can count on it.

How do you approach car music/media/news?


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  1. Gatito listens and asks about EVERYTHING so if I don’t want him asking about ethnic cleansing, I can’t listen to it. But he does end up singing stuff like, Dial 911! There’s a shorty fire burning on the dance floor! UGH.

  2. I also listen to NPR in the car 98% of the time. Medina asked me the other day if we could find out the number of Disney Radio and I told her I’m forced to watch it enough at home, it’s not coming into my car too. If it’s something too graphic, I turn it down, otherwise we listen to it. I grew up talking about the day’s events – good and bad – with my parents as we watched the evening news over dinner. I guess we just get it in the car (although a little less now that the girls have a built in dvd player with headphones.) Neither of the girls seems to pay much attention to the radio when it’s on NPR but I’m sure they will at some point.

  3. (shrugs) I dunno…I grew up with NPR in the car always always and you know what I got from it? A love of classical music. I know my mom had the news on because she’d always turn it up. I turned out OK.

    I turn it off for the gruesome stuff. The Snapper hears, absorbs, and repeats EVERYTHING.

  4. We haven’t had that problem because if I try to put on ANYTHING on the radio, Punk yells, “No! Turn it off!” and has complained about it from a very young age.

    Someday I will listen to the radio.

  5. We usually listen to music in the car, but we are news junkies and watch the news quite a bit at home. I treat it much like the sex talk: only tell them exactly what they’re asking. Even the most seemingly complicated questions are answered in a simple, honest way that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of them. Although, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time my oldest said, “So the news is just about death and bad stuff?” From the child of a journalist, no less…

  6. For the past 4 months or so, I don’t listen to NPR in the car with the kids. Elijah, too, picks up everything and remembers things that I had forgotten about months and months ago. If there’s a good story that I want to hear on NPR, and it’s rated G, we will listen. Although if for some reason, I forget to turn it off when the kids are in the car and he asks, I will answer whatever he asks with honesty.

    Normally, I let Elijah choose the music. Lately it’s Phantom of the Opera or Weezer’s Island in the Sun. Every once in a while we will remind him that he usually gets to choose the music, so Mom or Mama or little brother get to listen to their music, too. We try to expose them to various music from different genres and countries.

  7. We listen to NPR in the car. Sanna definitely listens. One news piece that mentioned a person named Michael made her shout with glee that they were talking about a friend named Michael. She also really enjoys when they talk about President Obama–she’s a total Obamaniac. There have been news pieces that came on that I was unwilling to answer questions about, so I just turned it down or off. I don’t want to brush off her questions, since I think they come from a normal and healthy curiosity, so if I can’t handle talking about the topic with her, it’s my job to limit opportunities for that.

    That said, it’s not a common occurrence that I turn it off because I worry about answering questions. It’s far more common that it’s a subject I can’t deal with emotionally at that moment.

  8. I grew up listening to NPR and mostly tuned it out – I used to moat at my parents that the theme from All Things Considered would give me a headache, but mostly it was from riding in the back seat.

    I have it on in my car all the time, too, and my kids don’t seem to pay much attention. Usually I turn the speakers so they’re only coming out of the front ones and then keep the volume low. Frankly, most of the time, I can’t hear it anyway because they’re too busy giggling or trying to beat the snot out of each other thru the car seat straps. Oy.

  9. Z asks about EVERYTHING. So we’ve started to be somewhat picky even about what folk songs we have playing in the house. He’s recently gone from just-shy-of-brushoff simple explanations being totally fine to asking more and wanting more in the way of explanations. He puts pieces of stuff that he hears together. Too smart for his own good.

    Our car radio is broken, and we don’t listen to the news anyway, but if I were inclined to I would have to accept explaining everything to him.

  10. « Légalement, je ne sais pas s’il est également interdit aux services de renseignement français d’espionner leurs coEpntoyeis.&nbsc;»nt vous avez envisagé de vous informer ou c’est trop fatigant ? Je salue votre franchise, parce que ce n’est pas rien, mais, tout de même, les bras m’en tombent comme on dit. Soit il y a un malentendu (pourquoi pas…) soit cela reviendrait à revendiquer l’amateurisme ou la médiocrité. Or c’est votre métier, c’est l’objet de ce blog… Ca vous intéresse un peu ?

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