I put our four-year-old daughter to bed every night. Miss Skye is a shameless Mommy’s Girl who requests — nay, DEMANDS — my daily bedtime services, namely giving her a piggyback ride up the TWO FLIGHTS to her bedroom (with kids like her, who need StairMasters?), making sure she brushes her teeth for more than a nano-second, crushing her dreams of wearing a princess dress to bed, reading her a book, watching a music video on the iPad, telling her a made-up story and, sometimes, also singing a song to her — then trying to make an escape as she desperately searches for more excuses to make me linger in her room. Quite the bedtime extravaganza, eh? It is exhausting. Ridiculously time-consuming. Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. She wants to spend time with me! She showers me with hugs and kisses! Okay, yes, I may even let her wear a princess dress to bed from time to time. Because I’m easy like that. Also because I’m too weak to argue after hoisting 40 pounds of preschooler up TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS. Which I’m sure is all part of her master bedtime plan.
Well-played, Miss Skye. Well-played, indeed.
The trickiest part of our routine — beyond how to get out of Skye’s room before she asks for her 155th cup of water — is deciding on a music video to watch. Not to get all Old Lady on you, but they don’t make videos like they did way back in my day before electricity and running water and Google Plus. Heck, Robin Thicke’s not-so-Blurred topless models and Miley Cyrus’… well, Miley Cyrus-ness… make me long for more innocent music scandals, like Madonna’s cone bra. Remember the outrage about that thing? MADONNA’S BRA! SO SHINY! SO POINTY! My god, at least she was wearing a bra. Which is more than we can ever say for Miley.
Okay, so I went all Old Lady on you. I actually think I’m pretty laid-back when it comes to this stuff — I’ve been known to let my kids dance around to the Jimmy Fallon version of Blurred Lines and I may or may not have giggled when my four-year-old daughter belted out, “I KISSED A GIRL AND I LIKED IT!” at my mother-in-law’s house — but I still have to scan my mental checklist when considering options for our nightly music video viewing:
This requires a knowledge of music videos I previously did not possess (I mean, does anybody watch videos except for curious four-year-olds and concerned parents assessing them for unexpected nipple appearances* and oral sex references?). Now, however, I have a pretty good handle on the contents of any video featuring Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber (or “Justin Beaver,” as Skye calls him… and I do not correct her), Beyonce, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera and other performers of that ilk. Although I usually try to persuade Skye to go the safer route, with fare such as illegally uploaded YouTube princess videos (you have to be careful with those, too — some really creepy dudes with unsavory princess fantasies out there), old Hannah Montana videos or anything involving Taylor Swift (*YAWN* *BUT-OH-SO-CATCHY*), she will sometimes want to push the envelope with, say, Selena Gomez. Even a generally harmless Selena Gomez video can lead to, um, less-than-desirable conversation.
I, being a cool mom and all, am of course as honest as possible with my daughter.
In my defense, they never specify that it’s not a Curious George book.
And even when you are certain you’re in safe territory? Like, you’re watching a scene from Annie or Sesame Street? YouTube will find a way to totally screw you over.
Yup, there she appears: Half-naked in a thumbnail in the sidebar during an otherwise innocent performance of It’s the Hard-Knock Life. So I use the opportunity to tsk-tsk Rihanna’s loincloth-as-a-shirt and suggest she may want to stop shopping in the children’s department. Skye nods in vehement agreement and I am happy to have imparted that lesson to my impressionable daughter. Then the next night, as we’re watching a Maroon 5 video:
Not to be outshone by the ladies, Adam Levine is, not surprisingly, also half-naked. I recognize this as my opportunity to underscore that I am not sexist, that men should display a certain sense of decency, too — and, more to the point, that both Skye and her brother should remain fully clothed from head-to-toe until they are 50 or I am dead, whichever comes first. With this responsibility weighing heavily on my prudish shoulders, I respond by shrugging, “I don’t know. Maybe he got hot. But he should probably cover up with a shirt, don’t you think?”
Skye ponders this for a good moment before a big smile crosses her face.
Oh, boy. We are in SO much trouble.
*Mr. Candy has offered to be the family’s official Unexpected Nipple Appearance Monitor. So generous of him!
With thanks to Martin at How to Draw Funny Cartoons for creating these (actually animated) characters based on our family that I can manipulate and use to help relate my silly stories!
Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).