Sunday, January 11, 2009
Carol Brady: Queen of mod mamas.
So, Jeni had an idea to introduce Lyda to some wholesome retro TV shows.
It started with some YouTube clips from the Brady Bunch. The "Silver Platters" episode. The Peter's-voice-change episode. Mostly clips of the kids singing. Innocent enough. Then, it turns out that Jeni has the Brady Bunch album from when she was a kid. Instantly our living room was transformed into a theater where Lyda and Willa still dance around and lip-synch to hits like Sunshine Day and Time to Change. Auditory assault, but very cute.
The next week Lyda announces to us and to her daycare buddies that her "new" favorite singing group is the Brady Bunch. She was met with blank stares from her friends. Poor kid. I had that parental wave of dread when you first realize that your child could possibly -- just possibly -- be...well... a smidge nerdy. But hey, I'll gladly take the nerdy Brady clan over Hannah Montana any day.
Thankfully (or so I thought), we hit a mini jackpot. The library has a couple of seasons worth of The Brady Bunch on DVD. Of course Lyda is hooked. She so wants to be Cindy, and thinks Bobby is the funniest kid ever. She even dreams about being one of the Bradys.
Now this cute passing fancy has turned into obsession. I knew we were on a slippery slope when Lyda asked, "When do I get to meet the Brady Bunch?" This is not an unreasonable request coming from a girl who has met all her favorite sports mascots and many of her musical heroes and hung out backstage with the Hiccups;).
We tried to explain to Lyda as gently as possible that Cindy is now pushing 50 and probably looks a little different. That didn't seem to compute in her four-year-old brain, or maybe she just didn't care. She pressed on, "OK, but when can I meet them?"
Then her eyes grew wide and she blurted, "I know!! Maybe you can get them to play at Jiggle Jam!"
By now Lyda understands that the Brady Bunch is just a TV family from the past -- actors playing roles and now those actors are older than her dad. Or dead, as in Robert Reed's case (who passed in 1992). He's even included in bedtime prayers when she talks about the angels in heaven who are looking after her -- Aunt Stephanie, Grandpa Bill, and Mike Brady.
But here's something that Jeni's "Brady Bunch venture" didn't portend. Out of nowhere Lyda says to Jeni, "Mom, let's go shopping for some clothes and you can buy some skirts." Fair enough. So they go shopping and Jeni tries on a skirt and Lyda says to her, "It looks great! Can you wear that when you pick me up from school?"
By this point in the journey, Jeni is starting to get a complex. Is she not living up to the standard of the other moms? But what can we expect from a kid whose parents work from home in their pajamas (or sweat pants and faded t-shirts)?
So, last night comes the kicker. As I'm helping Lyda into bed she said, "Dad, when I grow up to be a mom, I'm going to wear skirts and dresses and lots of cool jewelry and high heel shoes."
"Around the house?" I ask.
"Well, mostly when I go out, but, yes, around the house. I'm going to have lots of clothes and lots of shoes just like..." you guessed it... "Carol Brady."
Poor Jeni. One-upped by the queen of mod. How can women compete with a mom like her? As if the bar isn't set high enough already.
So do you think we should introduce Lyda to fellow super-moms Jane Jetson, Marion Cunningham, Shirley Partridge, and June Cleaver? Or, should we just contain the damage and stop at Carol Brady?