Deb Kelly’s Deb Choice

You know it’s the kid, right?

You give me a choice, I’m talking ’bout the kid.

We could really use a snowplow around here today.
We could really use a snowplow around here today.

Somewheres around January, Beloved Little Boy started talking about snow plows. He was already pretty passionate about other kinds of truck, especially garbage trucks, and buses too, so it was only a matter of time before he got wind of snow plows.

Problem is, the word snow plow, in 19-month-old speak, sounds very very close to the word Grandpa.

Snow Plow: na pow!!!

Grandpa: an paw!!!

He had just gotten home from a visit with first one grandpa and then the other. During that time Grandpa had sounded like “am pang” so he was refining it a lot. He had also been inside a Lutheran church for the first time and decided that all those Jesuses strewn about were someone’s grandpa too. So there was a LOT of discussion of who was a grandpa. He would point to a homeless man outside the post office and say, “an pow!” What about the mailman, was he “an paw?” The stout woman at the grocery store: “An paw!”

Then there was a mighty snowstorm–that happens a lot in January in Wisconsin. We were in the car driving painfully slowly to preschool because so help me God, if they are open, we are going. Naturally we were singing Wheels on the Bus. I hate the person who created this song the way I hate green peppers and oil spills in protected wildernesses. I sing it about one thousand times per day. As usual, that day I paused at the end of each verse and BLB would holler out the next verse. “Driver!” (The driver on the bus goes move on back.) “Window!” (up and down) “Wiper!” (back and forth) and so forth. After we had exhausted the usual subjects a big snow plow passed in the other direction and BLB said “Snow Plow!”

Weird, but okay. The Snow Plow on the bus goes, um… “Push and dump!” There’s an accompanying hand motion, obviously.

Two months go by. Now the snow plow is a regular guest on the bus. We get to him after kitty and turtle and Owen, a friend from preschool, who says “hello pal!” (on the bus, in real life he just says hi). The snow plow on the bus goes push and dump, push and dump, push and dump, all through the town.

Then yesterday BLB tells me he wants to call Grandpa and Grandma. We call them. BLB makes the usual chit chat (tractor? Blue tractor?) and we say bye bye. Then BLB spends the next half hour asking me if Grandpa has a bus. What the hell is this kid talking about? Grandpa comes in his purple car, I say. “Grandpa on the bus?” he asks one million times. His voice gets more and more frantic. Soon there is a bit of bus-related screaming. Unless you have had a toddler you may not realize how BADLY they need to be both understood and affirmed about their new verbal skills.

“Hm, well,” I say, the picture of patience and parental understanding. “Maybe sometimes Grandpa rides a bus but mostly he drives his car, his purple car.”

BLB shakes his head woefully at me. Finally he levels me a despising glare and says, “push and dump.” The ‘you idiot’ part of the sentence is just implied.

As you’ve surely figured out by now, snow plows don’t ride buses. Only a crazy person would think that a snow plow would fit on a bus. GRANDPAS ride buses. And, thanks to two months of repetition, they go “push and dump.” With an accompanying hand motion.

Sorry, Grandpa.



Comment if want to share a toddler story of your own, or share a bit a moment of parenting zen with me and our soon-to-pop mama Deb Dana!

15 Replies to “Deb Kelly’s Deb Choice”

  1. I’m very familiar with the extended remix version of Wheels on the Bus. Our bus has an a octopus (“I’m an invertebrate with 8 arms”), a volcano (“boom boom boom”), and a polar bear (“rawr rawr rawr”). It’s a treacherous ride to school.

  2. This CRACKED ME UP. I’m not sure parenting zen actually exists (it’s a myth, like the snow plow on the bus). Maybe that’s my only wisdom.

    1. Thanks Amy. And yes. Parenting zen, I theorize, is what happens before you have kids and after they move out. What is in between is something else entirely.

  3. Oh, the Wheels on the Bus. I have a long and involved experience with this song as well, but none as hilarious as yours!! You always make me laugh, Kelly, and this is a good thing on a Wednesday morning.

  4. OMG, I laughed till tears came! Am paw across the table thought I had finally gone over the deep end. This one is getting printed out and saved! It is SO much a perfect description of a toddler’s communication travails with mom that anyone who has ever talked to a little kid can identify! ( And I’m sure you are so right about the “implied”, too. G is just too sweet to actually say it now .)

  5. Ha ha! I got a good chuckle out of this post. I detest some of the toddler songs we’re forced to sing with the hot passion of a thousand suns. lol. But they love them so we’re just…screwed.

    1. Screwed is the word. On one hand, I do not really want to sing the Wheels on the Bus ever again, ever. On the other hand, boy does it help avert a trip to tantrum town. Worth it? Definitely.

  6. Is this what I have to look forward too? Because we have not hit the Wheels on the Bus phase yet (which as of right now I am loathing) but we do have some very interesting things that live on Old McDonalad’s farm. Also, what does a turtle do on a bus? I’m just asking should it ever come up at our house!

  7. Hilarious. This is SO funny. We, too, sang Wheels on the Bus until I was fairly certain I’d do serious bodily harm to whoever wrote it.

    Then my son learned “The Song That Doesn’t End” and I discovered that Parenting had deeper rings of torment than I ever anticipated…

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