Driving Miss Dictator


My car stereo has been usurped by my daughter. The days of a few little ditties by The Black Keys or Andrew Bird with a Backyardigans single thrown in for good measure are over. Done. Finito.

It’s fully Nickelodeon up in here with Wita at the helm. Now, I have always fancied myself a fair mother when it comes to allocating music in my car. Everyone should get a little of what they want. I’m down with that. However, lately? Playing ANYTHING targeted to age 18 and over is not happening.

It’s just…Wita, man. She is so stubborn. And loud. And DRAMATIC. If she doesn’t get what she wants in terms of music (or anything else, for the matter), she will sob (and scream) uncontrollably the entire car ride. Not a single solitary soul wants to deal with that, let me tell you. So like a shithead, I totally give in to her dramatics. Because it’s 8:05am in the morning. And I want to drive to school in peace and harmony. Is that too much to ask?

So, Wito and I comply with her demands. Bitterly, on my part.

The current song du jour? Two songs, actually. “Here We Go” and “Reach for the Sky” by The Fresh Beat Band. Oh yes, mothers and fathers. The Fresh Beat Band. I’m not sure it could get any worse. If you have children, surely you have heard some of these songs…I mean, they only play every 24 seconds on Nick Jr! (By the way, did any of you read the post by Anthony Bordain about the Nick Jr shows a few years back? It is absolutely hilarious. He tackles The Fresh Beat Band in the post – “Not to be too cruel–but one of the “kids” in this bunch looks like a 32 year old masquerading as a teen. The lead “singer” (meaning, I gather, he moves his lips obligingly when called upon to do so) has the dead eyes of a man at the end of his string.” HahahahaaHAAAAAA. So true.)

But here’s the thing. She can’t just listen to the tracks once. NO. She has to listen to them on repeat for the entirety of the car ride. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, my children are attending schools by the new house, yet we’re living at the old house, so that means schlepping them across town while enjoying the musical stylings of folks named Kiki and Twist.

So. I ran some calculations last night. You know, just for fun.

Morning school drive until dropoff: 36:00

“Here We Go” – 1:54

“Reach for the Sky” – 1:56

Total track time – 3:50

If my calculations are correct, I am being subjected to approximately 9 rousing renditions of each song. 18 Fresh Beat Band songs before 9am on weekday morning, people.

And you wonder why posting has been light over here this week.



  1. I know way too much about Twist, Kiki and the gang. SHUDDER! Hopefully you aren’t subjected to watching the gang at “music school” too.

  2. This is the sort of torture that could make sane people lose it and give away all their state secrets.

  3. Dying – DYING! – at the Bourdain post. I could not love that man more.

    I’m literally cringing while reading your post. Fresh Beat Band could not be more annoying and I feel embarrassed for the “actors” whenever the show happens to come on in our house.

    Everytime Jude watches that soul train show on the Disney Channel, I crack up. The hip hop conductor girl clearly has spent her life trying to get into showbiz but now has digressed to the point of singing “All aboard the choo choo train” for a bunch of 3 year olds. Probably not the super-cool life she envisioned being a backup dancer for J.Lo.
    Rachel recently posted…Seasons

    • Oh, hahaHAAAAAAA! Choo Choo Soul is Malou’s number #3 requested song! Luckily, I have yet to purchase that one for the car, but yes, the conductor girl…”All aboard the choo choo train, all aboard, all aboard!” I mean, she gets after it, right?

  4. Thanks for the amusing link! I agree with Anthony about The Backyardigans; I love that show more than my daughter does.

    • LOVE the Backyardigans. It was Wito’s favorite show at Wita’s age…I secretly loved listening to those songs in the car. I’m trying to break Wita slowly – maybe she’ll come around.

  5. I lived through the same exact scenario, only with Elmo. When my daughter was 2, she only wanted to listen to the Elmo Song and Elmo’s ABC’s Rap on repeat. It was a 20 minute drive to her daycare [and home at the end of the day]. Every weekday. For months. Whew, it makes my head hurt just remembering!

  6. By the way, I will say that I’m learning the harmony to the songs – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

  7. Seriously…if I hear Elmo sing “la la la lahhhh” one more time, I’m going to punch something.

  8. My 3 and 5 yr old are both obsessed with the Fresh Beats. They are also begging me to take them to see them in concert- I checked and it was like $50/person. If mama is paying $50 for a concert ticket, it will be for a band that actually plays their own songs!!! I keep begging them to watch Yo Gabba Gabba again- those songs were so much better. Hell, I’d even take the Wiggles at this point.

  9. That sounds really torturous. I’m grateful that my nephew, now 6, likes Justin Bieber and other dance music. We can sing along together.
    sizzle recently posted…So that happened

  10. We recently discovered several kids albums by They Might Be Giants. Way better than the Fresh Beats. My daughter loves the science songs, but the ABC songs are pretty good too!

  11. This is my worst nightmare. As it is, Jacob has a favorite “guitar” song, The Darkness’ I Believe In A Thing Called Love. So I suppose I should count myself lucky that he has no idea that you can listen to kids songs in the car and it’s my own fault for listening to the other song in the first place!
    Jessica recently posted…Zoo Time

  12. I can’t even begin to imagine where she gets this willful dedication to dramatic music-lovin’. Hmmmmmmmmmm…

  13. Funny thing, we have avoided both shows for this reason:-p

  14. You have my undying sympathy. When C watches shows like these, it makes me wonder if those “no TV” parents may right after all.
    Charlotte Flowers recently posted…October in Detail

    • This is why we have always only let my six-year-old daughter listen to “our” music (the non-explicit versions). I don’t think she even KNOWS that you can listen to Fresh Beat or whatever outside of those shows. On our iPod and in our car are only songs that we like so she knows the words to several Lady Gaga, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, Amos Lee, The Black Eyed Peas, Florence + The Machine, etc.. songs. We actually have a playlist for her that includes songs we think are “appropriate” or “pretty much appropriate” because of what she thinks they’re singing. lol Of course, there’s the flip side to that when she requests Dolly Parton’s crazy song Jolene and then asks why Jolene tried to take Dolly’s man away. Mama you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do on that one! For the song and for why it’s on our playlist in the first place. Really?! Jolene. Long story. (: So I guess there’s pros and cons to all of it but I think I’d poke myself in the eye with a dull pencil (over and over and over again) if I had to listen to the Fresh Beat Band or the My Little Ponies song in my car!

  15. I hate the Fresh Beat Band with the hatred of a thousand blazing suns. You totally need this album: You Are My Little Bird. I have listened to it approximately 1000 times (not exaggerating) in the five years we’ve had it (since my oldest was Wita’s age, and was similarly controlling), and I can still listen to it happily. Not that I FEEL like listening to it any more. But it still doesn’t jar. It’s like magic.
    MommyTime recently posted…You say "mid-life crisis," I say "goal-oriented"

  16. Well my ‘kids’ are 18 & 21 year old boys and I can remember them watching Barney when they were little and it drove me absolutely nuts. Now we like the same music and I notice that my AC/DC, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin cd’s are missing a lot more often. You gotta love kids that love classic rock. Mama taught ’em well.

  17. Love this! My four year old cousin is already obsessed with One Direction. I don’t know which is the more painful alternative.
    Liv recently posted…Five Things I Learnt From The Dark Knight Rises

    • I can’t blame her. I’m hooked too.I love One Directions especially Harry. I also love their song “What Makes You Beautiful”. I’m such a fan of their group. I can’t wait for the new album to come out.
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  18. I think your post about driving miss dictator is so funny post. I like your article very much because your thinking about music. thanks for your well post.
    Emmanuel Emilio recently posted…Kim Kardashian Tape News

  19. I feel the same way. Luckily, I am still able to hear my music in the car but I have not been able to watch a single tv show. I don’t really miss it either. I feel the best way is just not to expose children to it at all. But it’s damn near impossible because they play FBB in between shows, even before shows on DVR. There is no escape. I have been successful in not starting the Angry Birds craze with my children and do not intend to, by God (thank God it’s only on YouTube). Lol. But yes, I may not be the biggest Bourdain fan either, but he gets the point across and then some. I wish they didn’t play FBB so much. Their few songs get nauseating after the 5943rd day of hearing them.


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