Apparently my 3-year-old son loves techno. My husband is all to blame for this one. Because husband is techy guy of the year annually, he has set up our phones so that we share our Pandora play lists. Maybe that’s not rocket science to set up but this girl equates most technological knowledge and know-how with corresponding devises to attempting to walk in 4-inch stilettos—might be possible but not for this girl. Anyhoo, so driving in the car with little man today en route to the store, I pop up Pandora on my phone, and little man yells from the back seat “GUMMY BEAR! I want Gummy Bear!” Now this child is not referring to certain edible squishy candy in the shape of a certain woodsy animal. He is referring to his new favorite song and the name of a techno station I suddenly found on my phone. And this gal for sure didn’t add it. (see icon above for picture of said techno-singing bear)

It’s awesome to be 37 and roll into the Trader Joes parking lot with techno blasting from your car. Little man has his black shades on and is totally chilling in the back in his car seat, window lowered half-way down.

I should have seen this coming. When he was just 2 and we were listening to the Veggie Tales playlist, which this mama put on our shared Pandora set-list, I heard a certain familiar beat begin to rumble through my car stereo and suddenly I’m tapping my foot to Party Rock Anthem and little man is yelling from the back seat “MAMA, I LIKE THIS ONE” as Chipmunk voices and a techno beat take over. I’m totally listening to Party Rock sung by the Chipmunks. I am so cool.

I don’t know when or how little man became such an avid fan of techno. Husband has a history of frequenting clubs with said style of music in his younger years but this mama is completely R/B-Pop with a little Folk-Alt and Classic Rock thrown in to spice things up. So for this odd genetic streak in little man, we’ll blame husband.

But there is a lot you can blame me for. Namely the “WOOHOO” that has been coming from little man’s lips lately. I don’t think husband has ever uttered such phrase unless he was mocking this wife. Last week, kiddos and I were driving back from the park and we took the scenic route past the beach which we like to do so we can check out the surf and this day there is some swell and a group of wetsuits are jockeying for waves and one suit grabs a wave and from the back seat comes “WOOHOO! He got it! Good job guys! WOOHOO! WOOHOOOOO!” Did I mention the window was rolled down and little man was pumping his fist while articulating such remarks? I turned bright red as passersby’s looked over in amusement.

You can blame me for the WOOHOO.

It’s funny how we rub off on our kids. It’s pretty scary too. I watched a little guy at the park riding his trike and another little boy rammed into him on some other wheeled vehicle and the first little guy raises his index finger at the second and says “bad boy! Bay boy!” I’m sure he didn’t come up with that on his own.

This mama is pretty good at not cussing—though there is an occasional potty word or two that escapes now and then. But I think it’s beyond that. It’s amazing to see how little man says things in the same voice and style that I do. A lot of it is pretty funny and endearing. Like the woohoo.

But lately he’s started ordering me around. “Mommy, I need you to bring this here.” Does mommy say that? Clearly. Is there a role for moms to say things sometimes that are not for kids to say—yes. But would it kill me to say please?

Little man is like a mirror to me. I feel like I see all the good and all the bad that comes from me staring me back in the face. Every day I pray that I will be patient and kind and overwhelmingly giving to both of my little people. And often I pray that multiple times a day. Especially after I have snapped at little man. Some days he’s like dripping water: a constant irritation. At 3, he already knows exactly how to exasperate me. I see it in the sly sideways looks he gives me as he asks the same question for the 10th time in two minutes. How is he so clever?

But he’s my kid. And he’s just a 3-year-old little boy who wants to play (ALL the time—it’s way more fun than eating, getting dressed, exercising, or pooping…the things that I throw in the mix). It’s my job to do my best to mold and shape him. He’s my absolute joy but he also refines me. I am forced to become a better person by being his mommy—by choosing what I say, by practicing being patient every day, by sometimes even telling little man that I’m sorry for being short with him. He’s my kid. My responsibility. My exacerbation and my joy. My character-building little instrument in my life.

Whatever man little man turn out to be, to a certain extent you can blame me (woohoo). Sure there is mental illness and extenuating circumstances, but if my kid can’t share or be a team player or a positive member of society, then I think I should ask if I’m doing enough? It’s my job to shape him, to love him, to discipline him, to teach him my morals and beliefs. As one of my friends said, “I don’t think people younger than me know more than me.”

I’m not talking about likes and dislikes. One of my mantras is to daily focus on figuring out who little man is. He’ll choose the sports and instruments he plays and he’ll choose whatever career he wants. I don’t care if he goes to Harvard or a state school. I want him to be a generally happy, well-adjusted person, with a moral compass, at peace with himself, and a positive part of our community—a light in the lives of those around him.

Maybe I’m still just reeling from Sandy Hook. I know there were mental issues involved and I’m not going to get into the issues of that or gun control. I watched 60 minutes a week ago Sunday when a bunch of the parents were interviewed. It came out that the gun cabinet was actually located inside the kid’s bedroom. As one of the dad’s said, who had lost a child, “there was something going on in that family.” I can’t speak to what was going on in that family and obviously the kid was off his rockers and maybe the mom too. But what it has gotten me thinking about is who is the kid that I’m raising? If I’m not responsible for who he becomes, then who is?

So on days like today, when I’m plodding downstairs about to put baby girl in bed (another loooong Tuesday for those of you who have been following my blog), and I’m feeling a little low for snapping at little man a bunch of times today, and from upstairs husband calls after me, “you’re almost done!” and I’m definitely ready for my glass of Zin and the Amazing Race, I need to stop and be thankful for my sweet little children and the people they are becoming. I need to appreciate that they cause me to look at myself and who I am and the parent I am being. I am a better person because of them. And every day I pray for the energy and joy and mirth and strength it takes to be the mommy I want to be.

Whatever odd mixture of techno-loving sun-glass wearing kid little man turns out to be, for much of who he is, you can blame me. It’s exciting, daunting, challenging. I guess its parenting.

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