Suburban Snapshots

Blame it on the Radio

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Last week I took Anna dress shopping. As we stood jockeying around each other in the Marshall's dressing room, Anna critiqued my selections with helpful input like, "Mama, I like your buns!" "Mama, I can see your boobs!" and, "Vuh-giiiiii-NUH!" Around the third dress — a clingy, black, Calvin Klein number (on clearance, holla!) she said, "Mama, that is so sexy." And of course since I was mortified wondering how many other mothers were in earshot of me and Anna-from-the-Block, she said it several more times.

When we got back to the car I called Steve to ask if he had any idea where she'd heard it. I called my sister to blame her kids because, well, even if they didn't teach Anna "sexy" they probably taught her some other devious skill that will manifest in the next few weeks, so better that I get the call out of the way regardless. I took a few minutes to explain that "sexy" isn't really a bad word, but that it's for grown ups. The message stuck, because when I turned on the radio Anna alerted me to each instance of "sexy" in song, which — if you haven't listened to top-forty radio lately — is approximately every third lyric.

Anna and I returned home where Steve had just changed into non-work clothes. I greeted him with, "Hey, Hon. You look super sexy in that t-shirt." I was swiftly reprimanded by my hip-high censor and would have been at least given a stern look by Steve if he weren't busy trying to capitalize on the compliment.

So it would seem that just as we got the dammits and chrissakeses under control, we've got sexy to deal with, and sexy feels more urgent to me. I'm sure to Anna it's just another word that gets our attention, but to me it's a gateway swear to developments and conversations it's way too early to have.

It's also a milestone for me, one of those events when you realize that you think like a parent no matter how much you might feel like you just play one on t.v. I'm the censor now, I'm in charge of changing Rihanna even when Anna protests — loudly, for miles — or making sure Steve turns off his underground rap station when we walk in the door (I consider Anna having never dropped an f-bomb a total coup. Aim high, parents!)

Anna's constantly understanding more about her world, and as much as I love to watch her grow it makes me realize how little time I have left to be her filter. Right now I can switch off Ke$ha, but sooner than I'd like she'll be able to push those buttons on her own.

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