I think when I tried to rickroll my husband using our preschooler, I realized we might have a problem.
A couple of years ago, Isaac’s teachers at daycare asked me one day, half-embarrassed, half-amused, “Does Isaac know the song ‘Ice Ice Baby’? Because we’re pretty sure we heard him singing it to himself at naptime earlier this week.”
Awkward! That one wasn’t my fault. My husband had a goofy mix CD in his car that included that song, and unbeknown to either of us, the kid had picked up the words. (Not so coincidentally, this was approximately the same time that I became a lot more careful about my language while driving.)
Since then, he’s picked up lyrics here and there, sometimes unexpectedly and sometimes because we’ve played a song for him on purpose. Unexpectedly, he heard “Runaway Baby” when I bought the single after Bruno Mars’ performance on the Grammys and loved it so much he demanded to hear it on repeat so he could dance to it. (And still does.)
Purposefully, my husband has taught him: the chorus of “Bicycle” by Queen, “The Final Countdown” by Europe, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Barry Mann’s “Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp Bomp Bomp Bomp),” and others.
One morning a couple of weeks ago, I heard Isaac say “867” from the living room, and I thought he was just reading the numbers off of something. I figured I’d surprise him and sung out from the kitchen, “867-530-ni-eee-eye-ine!” But he surprised me, piping up with, “Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?”
I credited my husband on Facebook for pulling a fast one on me and said I was plotting my next move. A friend suggested rickrolling him, but since my husband could see the post, it was just a race at that point to see who could teach Isaac the song first. In our short drive to daycare that morning, I sang him the Rick Astley (and Internet) classic: “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.”
“Never going to give you up!” Isaac sang back to me.
Ooh, fixing the grammar in the lyric, too. Even better! The rickrolling was afoot.
That night after I got home from work, I asked Isaac if he had sung a new song for his dad yet. He said no. Dad looked confused for a minute, having forgotten the Facebook exchange from earlier, until Isaac started up with his corrected first line. Then he got it, and we all started laughing. Victory was mine! And all of ours, really.
If anybody accuses Isaac of being a little goofy, we won’t be able to argue that he doesn’t come by it naturally. Stuck with us as parents, he’s going to have a fair amount of silliness in his life.
We know the game and we're going to play it.