YouTube music videos about trucks: the soundtrack of my life

Having children shakes up your life. Beyond the great identity-shifting that is new parenthood, a more gradual adjustment occurs in the scenery of life: the food we eat, the hours we keep, the music we listen to. As my children grow from newborn to infant to toddler and beyond, as they develop their own schedules and personalities and likes and dislikes, the changes in the details grow more pronounced. The days of cooking complicated meals and eating at 7:00 are gone; now it’s mac and cheese with steamed veggies at 5:30. The soundtrack of the day is no longer whatever Songza playlist strikes my fancy; it’s something decidedly more… juvenile. And despite my best efforts to maintain a semblance of adult cool,* I find myself taking on the hobbies and interests of my toddler, however unlikely.

Trucks

Parenting a truck-obsessed kid has taught me much about the world. For instance, I can now tell the difference between an excavator, a backhoe, a loader, and a backhoe loader. I am intimately acquainted with the attributes of a bulldozer. I know what a grader is and can point one out if we pass it on the road. (And I’m expected to.)

So – what happens at the intersection of childhood interests and kiddie music? This:

Twenty Trucks logo

If you’ve got a kid who loves trucks, if you’re okay with signing away your right to ever listen to any other kind of music again, and you’re prepared for an endless earworm, then by all means, check out these videos. You’re welcome. Also, I’m sorry.

I can’t remember how we first found the videos. Maybe it was magic. Maybe they found us. But once Bean had seen them, they could not be unseen. Or unheard.

Bean LOVES these things. As I’ve written before, we do limit his screen time, but sometimes I just need to let him space out for a bit so I can regain my sanity. The “twuck bidowoes” are a frequent request. He would watch them all day if he could. My husband is convinced there’s some kind of subliminal message embedded in the songs that makes toddlers want to watch them again and again, but seriously, what would that be? What is more attractive to Bean than the videos themselves? They are about TRUCKS!

If I’m being honest, part of the appeal of these videos is that they help me to disguise my lazy mum screen time shame. When Bean is spending too much time zoned out in front of shows, it’s obvious in his conversation and his play. “You know Mr. Gronkel?” Busytown Mysteries. “When you see a baby, say baby!” Go Diego Go.** But if he’s talking about crane trucks, or excavators, or dump trucks – well, clearly that’s just something he knows. You know, from books. And outside.

But it’s a double-edged sword. Because even though I’m not the one watching the videos, I can still hear them. And then I sing them. And I can’t stop. Even when we haven’t watched them in days and days, I will find myself humming them incessantly.

Doing the dishes, I sing softly: “Dump, dump, dump it! Dump it dump truck, oh dump it.”

Changing Monkey’s diaper, I whisper: “Garbage, refuse, trash or waste, for all these things he has a taste! There’s a garbage truck that works near you, at the job he loves to do!”

Driving to the grocery store, I croon: “Truck crane, lifting up his cargo, truck crane, reaching to the sky, truck crane, no one else can reach so high, high, high.”

I’ve been thinking about these videos a lot. Like, an unhealthy amount. I just have so many questions. Who is the person singing them? Is he really as excited about trucks as he sounds? Does he have another career, or is he purely a guy who sings about trucks? Did he always want to sing about trucks, or did he have dreams of a career as a mainstream pop artist? Is he a former heavy-duty mechanic forced to retire due to a work-related injury, who is channeling his knowledge into this creative outlet to help himself get over the psychological trauma of the aforementioned injury? What kind of dark sorcery has he employed to make these godforsaken songs so freaking catchy?

I can’t be the only one, right? The excavator song alone has more than 23 million views on YouTube. At least 22 million of those are not me.

The Twenty Trucks website’s testimonials page reads like my nightmares given a positive spin:

It is a staple in our car and played every time we turn the car on.

The entire family knows all the lyrics and sometimes I feel we sing them in our sleep!

He already knows two or three songs by heart, and he has only had the DVDs for a few days.

This set is literally the only thing he watches EVER for going on 5 months now.

He watches the videos as often as we let him & he listens to the CD EVERY day, sometimes several times/day! I can barely get his little truck t-shirt clean before he puts it on again!

Should I order the ultimate trucks package today? I mean, I probably should, right?

ultimate trucks package

 

*Who am I kidding? I’ve never been cool.

**Also known as animal-rescuing spawn of Satan, bane of my existence. Diego and his baby animal friends are soon to be on the Caillou track to “sorry kid, this one doesn’t work anymore.”

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The Cat in the Hat said what?

“Mummy, you’re a dirty hoe!”

“Excuse me?”

“Dirty hoe! The Cat in the Hat said dirty hoe!”

“Umm…”

“Dirty hoe in the garden.”

Back in the bright and shiny days of new parenthood, when we had just one little Bean and a thousand ideas about how to raise him right, we decided that he would not watch any tv. But after he turned one, we thought a show here and there would be okay. And now that he is two and there is a new little Monkey in the house, tv time has been creeping up. Bean has one volume (loud) and one speed (full), and Netflix has become an all-too-easy fix for those moments when I need to put the baby down for a nap, or make dinner, or go hide in my room.

Take the other day, for example. Monkey is working on his first two teeth and so he and I are not sleeping well. Bean has a cold and has been… emotional. And Daddy picked up some extra shifts at work so I was alone with the kidlets for an extended period of time. After the fourth outburst caused by my apparent inability to drive the dumptruck at the correct speed on its mission to pick up its load of pears, shoes and logs, I uttered those magical words that in our house can turn the darkest cloud into sunshine and rainbows:

“Would you like to watch a show?”

Minutes later, Bean was snuggled up on the couch, happy as can be, watching the Cat in the Hat movie. “I love you, Mummy.” I slunk away with guilt and relief to read through some recipes and plan the night’s dinner in peace. I’d never seen the movie, but it must be safe, right? It’s one of his favourite books to read, the movie isn’t overly long, and it didn’t appear to have any “scary guys” in it (Bean’s sole objection to any show).

Cut to the next day, when my sweet, sweet boy called me a dirty hoe and blamed it on the Cat in the Hat.

I am a chronic waffler on the hot-button issues of parenting – screen time, feeding, sleep, structure, you name it. I flit from extreme to extreme and struggle to find a middle ground that I can accept. I’ll read an article about the effects of screen time on the developing brain and start a new week refreshed and energetic, full of ideas for enriching sensory play and imaginative art projects. I make charts and track Bean’s screen time, and proudly pat myself on the back when we’ve met whatever goal I’ve set. But then I get tired. Or it rains. Or there’s something that I just really want to get done. And when Bean says in his persuasive toddler manner, “I watch a show?” I give in and it’s so easy and for a while we are all happy. But the more he gets, the more he wants, and as I try to keep the peace his screen time gradually begins to creep up again.

Maybe this swing from one extreme to the other is an indication of my own fickle nature, my inability to commit to any one way of doing things. Or maybe it’s just a natural ebb and flow, a way of keeping life balanced. The middle ground exists; but just like the midpoint on an evenly weighted teeter-totter, it’s tough to stay on that perfectly balanced sweet spot for long.

Either way, we won’t be watching Cat in the Hat again any time soon.