Inappropriate, Meet Responsible

So I was driving my kids around the other day. The two of them, ages 3 and 1, were chilling in the back seat and I had the radio on. A song came on which I happen to like: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” If you’ve never heard the song, listen to it here:

Inappropriate lyrics for the preschool set? Yes. Incredibly catchy in a seventies disco kind of way? Also yes. So I have to decide. Leave it on or change the station?

I say to myself, “My kids are too young to understand these lyrics. I can keep it on.”

After the first chorus, the three-year-old pipes up. “Get lucky?” she asks from the back seat. “What does that mean? That’s funny!”

“Yeah,” I say, sheepishly turning the volume down. “It is funny, isn’t it?”

For the record, I believe in being honest with children. If they ask the question, they deserve a developmentally appropriate and truthful answer. In this case, there was no developmentally appropriate way to tell her what “Get lucky” means in this context, except to explain that lucky is when good things happen to you. OK, that is kind of what the song is about. But it felt wrong to deliberately mislead her. I guess I wanted to keep my track record of being straightforward with her. And that means sometimes withholding information if she’s not ready for it, not making something up or stretching the truth. Fortunately on this occasion she didn’t push it.

My three-year-old has never asked how babies are made. Even when I was pregnant, she never wondered aloud how her baby sister got inside Mommy’s tummy in the first place. If/when she does ask, I’ll tell her in words she can understand. If I think she’s not ready, I’ll tell her we can talk about it when she’s a little older. In the meantime, we laughed together at the funny song then moved on.

But maybe I’ll stick with NPR for a while. The kid is a big fan of pledge drives.