A Sniffle Over a Shuffle

Miles turned nine this month. Realizing I have a nine year old son seems completely impossible because, on most days, I feel like I graduated from high school just seven years ago. Surely that’s right?

In the weeks leading up to his birthday, Miles left notes on my pillow with numbered lists written on small, lined notebook paper. The first had at least 15 items on it, but each successive list had fewer and fewer options, though some were followed by the word “needed,” highlighted in green.

On the list were a compass, a lock box, $20, mechanical pencils, a new notebook, and a Nerf gun, to name a few. Little did Miles know I’d already chosen his main gift months ago. On the Facebook online garage sale group I belong to, a woman posted a used iPod Shuffle her son had outgrown. Twenty-five dollars. Sold.

Zachary thought Miles was still too young for an iPod, that he wasn’t interested in music. But I’m in the car with Miles more often and I noticed that he was asking me to turn the radio up as we drove, or if I glanced in the rear view mirror at the right moment, I’d catch him quietly singing along.

So I bought the lime-green iPod Shuffle and chose earbuds and an iTunes gift card from the store. We saved that gift for last, and when he opened it, Miles’ eyes grew huge as he realized what he was holding.

“An iPod?” he said. “I didn’t even put this on my list!”

He was still smiling in the morning when he woke, after the mp3 player had fully charged. We waited until Jonah went down for his nap (more like a non-nap) and then Miles and I sat down at my computer and started going through the music Zachary and I already owned.

Amazing how I fail to pay close attention to the songs I listen to – as I Googled song lyrics I realized that, oops, too many were not appropriate for my nine year old son. We won’t even get into some of the dirtier songs on my workout playlist – even some that don’t, at first, seem bad, on closer listening were full of references to drinking, drugs, sex or had too much cursing. Don’t worry – the kids don’t listen to my iPod, though if I did put it on, I have a kid-safe playlist for their innocent ears.

After Miles selected a list of songs from our library, I let him purchase his very first songs on his own with his gift card – Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” and One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.”

As the songs downloaded to my computer I had to wipe a tear from my eye. My boy, my first baby, the baby who made me a mother, was old enough to pick out his own bubbly pop ear worms. He’s gone from a child who would sit in my lap as I read him I’ll Love You Forever to a boy who reads Harry Potter on his own. He’s moved from Laurie Berkener to The Black Eyed Peas (for some reason, Miles and Grant were insistent that they get “I Gotta Feeling” first).

He’s nine, and he’s growing into a world that doesn’t always include me and Zachary. With his ear buds in he can tune us out and create a world in his head. What will the lyrics mean to him? Will he tell us? Will he sit on the bus next fall and discuss which singer is better than all the others?

My boy is nine.

This post was freely-written to participate in The Extraordinary Ordinary’s Just Write weekly exercise.



  1. Aww, how sweet. And by the way, I love your Workout Playlist!!!!

  2. Music is a huge issue around here–both good and bad. The kids love it, but oy vey–the lyrics! My girls especially love when they catch a few moments of Lady Gaga and the like . . . but they are so young (5 and 3) so I don’t let them listen. Now I feel like I’ve made them even more interested in that music. Ugh. It’s a hard thing . . . and those sounds are EVERYWHERE–stores, etc.

  3. Total side note, this is such a nice layout. As you know, I’m obsessed with layouts right now.


  1. […] oldest just turned nine (sob!) and he’s not a fan of frosting. I’m not sure how he can be my son, as I firmly […]

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