Carpool Karaoke—Toddler Edition

Grooving along to the music. Photo: Elsie Jordan

My drive to work has become a heck of a lot more fun these days.

Regardless of how much I desire to crawl back into bed on weekday mornings, the moment I turn on the car and pull out onto the road, my spirits are instantly lifted and I’m grinning ear to ear. And that is because my drives now include Carpool Karaoke–Toddler Edition.

What is this awesome game, you may ask?

I’ll set the stage for you. CKTE, as I will refer to it, involves going for a drive in the car with your young child (in the backseat) singing at the top of their lungs. And, because I have recently taken a stand against playing Cocomelon songs in the car (if you have a toddler, you certainly feel my pain), I now get a say in the music that we play. And I must say, it has been an absolute hoot hearing my little boy sing along to my playlist.

Admittedly, I know that I probably don’t have the best musical tastes—and my song catalogue hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. Growing up in the late ’90s and early 2000s, my go-to’s often include pop and R&B hits like “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “No Scrubs.” I’ve also been known to blast back to the ’80s and ’70s, every now and then, leaving me bopping along to the Footloose theme and ABBA. However, I often have to fight for control of the music when I’m in the car with my husband. And there have also been times where I have been outvoted by both my husband and my son, in the car, with my darling child uncaringly proclaiming “I want Daddy’s music,” which leaves me pouting.

However, on weekday mornings, when it’s just me and my little guy in the car, he is more than happy to listen to Mom’s choice in music. And it’s wonderful. I wish I could safely film it, because these are becoming some of my most favourite memories with him.

Just picture a two-year-old belting out “My Heart Will Go On,” swinging his little arms out for emotional emphasis, and try not to smile.

Now, this all began last summer. My son was beginning to really expand on his vocabulary and had begun singing along to simple song choruses that he would hear on the radio. One particular melody that caught his interest was Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” and, boy, does my child love to shake! I am grateful for the video I have of him enthusiastically singing and dancing along (as best he can in his car seat) with the biggest smirk on his face. It made us laugh so much that we didn’t mind his requests to have this song play continuously, over and over, non-stop, for weeks. Heck, it even worked as a magic stop button for tantrums for a while there.

Bless you, Taylor! You got us through some tough times.

These days, the repetitiveness is still there. And our CKTE sessions often sound the same, each morning, for weekly lengths. For example, last week it was Celine Dion and “Let It Go,” which made me certain of my son’s flair for the dramatic. I’m proud to say that he gets that from me, as I serenaded right along with him.

This week, our morning drives have begun each day with a disco request. “Disco music, please” is what I hear as I close my car door and turn on the ignition. I know what that means. It means Scroll through your playlist and get “Stayin’ Alive” going before we head out, Mom.

“Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, stayin’ alive” (if I’m being honest, that is the only part that we both really know of the song, and it has yet to lose its spark). We have a great time, and my little guy’s dance moves are on point.

I can only hope that the family road trip we have planned for this summer will result in some fantastic family singalongs and dance-offs.

Although, I’m sad to say that on our drive home yesterday evening, I learned that the old adage of musical groups inevitably breaking up appears to be true. My son and I have performed many an astounding duet on our daily drives, but just as I began to join in with him, doing my best Bee Gees impression, I was a little heartbroken when I was interrupted by “I don’t want Mommy to sing. Just me.”

I guess he’s pursuing a solo career now.

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