It was a typical Saturday in that the boys were oscillating between playing nicely and pushing each others’ buttons. In an attempt to keep the peace and remove a certain younger brother from the mix, I retrieved our old record player from the basement.
Sometimes I think I need a life coach, or at the very least a Jiminy Cricket-type friend who will caution me when I’m about to make a huge parenting mistake. Someone who will whisper, “Really, do you not remember the last time you got that out and how many times they played ‘Snoopy Versus the Red Baron’?”
But I digress.
Old favourites from my childhood were dusted off and played. If you haven’t heard “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” on high speed (but just the chorus) you haven’t lived.
In general I would be described as a laid-back mom. I don’t tend to micro-manage and the general chaos that is our family life does not phase me (except for tapping, that’s the worst). However, I seem to have strong feelings about playing records. I was unaware of this side of me. What follows is a sample of phrases I uttered while my old LPs were spinning, unedited.
Please pick a speed.
Stop flipping between the speeds.
How about we let the whole song play right to the end?
Leave the volume at one setting.
No jumping, it’ll scratch the record.
Put the record back in the sleeve.
The sleeve, the box-thing it came in.
Just let the song play the whole way.
That record made it through my entire childhood, it better make it through this afternoon.
Hey! I have an idea – just let the song play through.
Pick a speed and commit.
We can’t repair it if it breaks, stop fiddling with the switches.
JUST. PICK. A. SPEED.
We don’t put Lego figures on the turntable, I don’t care if it looks cool.
Here’s the part where I say something profound about how I changed my perspective and savoured the sweet moments of them having fun together. How Psalty the singing songbook isn’t creepy in hindsight and the boys delighted in my ability to recount all the lyrics to Muppet Movie soundtrack.
They had fun, the record player still works, and no albums were damaged.
Okay, okay, it did bring back good memories for me. It conjured up images of the old blue velour couch from my childhood home where just yesterday I was curled up listening to The Three Little Pigs on my portable player. Or cozy winter nights spent indoors while another album dropped onto the turntable (our hi-fi was quite fancy and held up to five records in the queue). Rifling through the large selection of LPs in our family collection – Burrell Ives, Bobby Vinton, Rick Springfield, Tom Jones, and of course Kids Praise.
Sunday afternoons spent playing games, napping, or reading. The house buzzing with the sound of friends and family visiting. The smell of coffee brewing.
You can’t hang on to everything, but we should hang on to some things. Today I’m grateful for vinyl, varying speeds and all. It’s okay, Jiminy, I’ve got this.