Once upon a time, in a land, far, far away, I watched what I wanted, listened to what I wanted and read what I wanted. That was a long time ago.
A few months back someone told me they were annoyed that the Band Perry won an award at the Country Music awards ceremony. To which I replied, "who?" I have never heard of this Perry band. Why? Because I hardly ever get to listen to the radio. Why? Well, most of the time when I get into my car I have my 3-year-old with me, and he wants to listen to his music. And that means the songs I am listening to are by Elmo, Alvin and the Chipmunks and if I am lucky, we listen to the "Cars" soundtrack, which does contain some country artists. I may not know the words to "Red Solo Cup" or "Camoflauge," but I do know every word to "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" and "Animal Fair."
I'm not one to go to the movies often, but when I do get to go, the chances of my seeing a movie with more than a PG rating are slim to none. In the past three years, I have seen one movie at the theater with a higher rating (the Harry Potter finale). The most recent movie I saw on the big screen was "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked." Surprisingly, it was a good movie - a little creepy, but good. The last movie my husband saw with me in the theater was "Sweet Home Alabama" back in 2002. Talk about a long time ago. I have hopes of seeing some PG-13 or better movies this year, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
When it comes to movies on DVD, I sometimes get to watch grown-up ones, but only in the late hours of the night, long after the sun has set and the little one is in bed. The last movie I watched on DVD, during daylight hours, was "The Smurfs." Cute, but Jim Carrey should have played Gargamel.
Daytime TV, what's that? I can't even remember the last time I watched "Ellen." Yes, I am a fan of Ellen. I don't care about her personal life; I care that she's funny. Oprah and Regis retired? Missed that too. Anyway, during the daylight hours, I am watching "Super Why" or "The Magic School Bus." Don't get me wrong, both are good, educational shows, but I miss the occasional Dr. Phil.
And primetime TV? Not much better. I could still catch my shows when Little Man was itty bitty because I rocked him to sleep while I watched television (if I didn't, I fell asleep, too.) After about nine months, that changed and until this past summer, I hardly ever caught shows I enjoy watching like "The Good Wife" and "Bones." I had to watch cartoons on DVD all evening long. I had to quit watching "Criminal Minds" all together because it was way too violent for Little Man to even listen to while I rocked him to sleep, let alone watch. Since this summer, he has started going to bed by 8, which frees up the nights a little.
So, hello again, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. Oh, how I've missed you.
Mark has given up a few (one really) shows, too. He's not as nice as I am when it comes to watching whatever Little Man wants. He has, however, been forced to stop watching "The Family Guy." Little Man doesn't understand why he can't watch it; it is a cartoon after all. But the day he looked at me and said, "Mommy, I am going to kill you" was the day Mark stopped watching Stewie. For those who don't know, one of the main story lines of "The Family Guy" is that the baby Stewie wants to kill his mother Lois.
I was once a big reader. I read every Harry Potter book. Now, the only time I get to read a grown-up book is, once again, in the wee hours of the night. But I have been known to stay up to read something without pictures. Hey, you got to do what you've got to do. If only getting five or so hours of sleep means getting to know who the killer is, then so be it.
During the day, I read Curious George and Jack Truck books. I have "Horton Hears a Who" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" practically memorized. Over the summer, I did develop an addiction to James Patterson books - books I was, of course, forced to read long after Little Man hit the hay. I stayed up to the wee hours reading many an Alex Cross novel. I read so many of them that my son knows where the Patterson books are at the library. He even impressed the librarian by picking out two of Patterson's books, ones that I had actually never read before.
Every aspect of my life has changed since the birth of my son, in ways I had never even dreamed. But I wouldn't change anything. I wouldn't give up one second of the time I've spent reading to him or watching "Sesame Street." I would rather see the latest Disney movie with him than a rated R movie without him. I don't mind watching "Cars" a million times because every time, he enjoys it like it's the first time he's seen it.
Funny, how things can change. I'm still Leslie, but now I am a mom. And I couldn't ask for anything more.
But the next time you're listening to the newest songs by Toby Keith or Lady Gaga or Maroon 5 or whoever you listen to, think of me: "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round..."
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)