The Car: Where you get to hear it all

I still remember the days when I buckled up my children in the car, and we pointed at things as we drove around:

dump truck!


big yellow school bus! beep beep!

My toddlers would laugh and clap and scream and yell out the words. Nothing was better than a car ride when you could spot a digger or fire engine or a bridge.

First of all, I had all the answers! And of course I was so pleased that I was teaching my children so many vocabulary words. I could quote studies correlating intelligence and success with how many words a child heard in the first two years of their lives. I had this motherhood thing down – it was a snap.

But of course I didn’t expect the divorce of the century was coming my way. And now my kids are growing up and our conversations have changed. Last week, we ended up talking about how babies are born. It was 8 am, and we were running late to school, and I couldn’t imagine any worse topic, except, perhaps, how babies were conceived. (And I’m sure that’s next.) My daughter solemnly announced that she would rather get her stomach cut open (a c-section) than give birth naturally. My son, horrified, said he was glad he was a boy.

Today we talked about sweat and deodorant because one of my son’t friends apparently wears Old Spice – I didn’t know that Old Spice existed anymore, but apparently it has quite a cult following among nine-year-old boys.

And then there are the terrorism and current event questions that grow more pointed the closer we go into the city: Mom, do we know anyone in the CIA? Do you think Obama should have gone to Paris? Do you think there will be a major terrorism attack in the city in the next year?

The old days were a lot simpler.

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