We sing a lot at our house.


That’s not entirely accurate; Mark is musically inclined. He can play the guitar and carry a tune. I cannot. But I am not deterred by my inabilities. What I lack in musical skill, I make up for in killer lyrics. I’m a rhyming fool, yo.

As I child, I loved that the Cosby family would just break into song around the dinner table or during dream sequences, and wanted the same for my family. We encourage silly singing. Mark even instituted Guitar Bath Time, when he plays while the kids rock along to cover tunes and some of Mark’s original songs.

P. is actually Mark’s primary audience these days, as H. is a big time six year old now and takes showers that require one of his parents to stand in the bathroom and give detailed instructions, every day, like get your entire body wet, now use soap and scrub your whole body, now rinse. Yes, your whole body. Rinse all of it. Yes, I am including your hair when I say body.

We had to eliminate dinnertime singing for a while, though, because it’s hard to sing without arm gestures. And arm gestures inevitably lead to spilled milk. Which inevitably leads to crying, and therefore I find the don’t cry… cliché utter bull. Aside from the obvious problem with this rule (i.e., it’s not very Cosby-esque to outlaw singing at the table), the primary issue with No Dinnertime Singing was this: Mark and I kept breaking our own rule.

Since we live with Taskmaster, Rule-Follower H., our hypocrisy was regularly pointed out in a manner that made me feel very un-Cosby-like. There is little that irritates me more than a smug know-it-all, and when that smugness emanates from my own offspring? Forget sitcom-worthy teachable moments.

To avoid future hypocrisy, at least where this issue is concerned, we now allow some table-side song stylings. We have eclectic music tastes, so I’m sure our kids have heard a little of everything around here. For years I didn’t censor what I played, because they weren’t paying attention to the words. These days, however, I skip any songs with explicit lyrics, and play pretty tame stuff.

So, when H. let this one fly at dinner the other night, complete with swagger and some eerily-gang-like hand gestures, we were amused. And scared.

[Mumble, mumble – perhaps a verse’s worth of rapidly mush-mouthed words that we didn’t entirely follow and then…]


When you’re at the top of your game,
You’re at the top of the chain.
Couple cars in the garage,
And two juice boxes.

[More mumble… something about your friends thinking you’re cool. Repeat chorus.]

Of course Mark and I raised the roof and completely encouraged H. to keep bustin’. He indulged us for about two minutes before beating his fist against his chest, throwing a peace sign and saying, “I’m out.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Taskmaster H. is in the hizouse.

We always say that we don’t care what our children do, as long as they follow their passions and create a life they love. So if he wants to be the next Eminem, I guess his dad and I won’t be buggin’ – especially if he brings home enough scrillah (look it up) to give us a nice retirement.

I wonder…

:: Have your kids ever exhibited a surprising, uh, skill?