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In the middle

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best, try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away — Jimmy Eat World

17°F.  8:59 a.m.  We were not late.  The sky spit some kind of frozen crap at the windshield and Quinn sucked a huge snuffly-sad breath in the rear seat.  “I want the itty-bitty song,” he bleated, lost in the morose tragedy of the injustice that is his little brother NOT going to school while he GOES to school.

Nate merrily detailed the whip cream he would consume at the coffee shop where we had a Listen To Your Mother meeting scheduled until Quinn whapped him one across the shoulder in whip cream-induced rage.  I fiddled with the radio nervously; pitching advertising makes me tense.  Icy roads make me tense.  I hate rejection and also car accidents.  Who doesn’t?  “No hitting, uh-uh, tell him sorry.”

“SORRY,” he barked in the least sorry voice possible and turned to the stare at the ice-fall, sobbing.  “It’s not fair, he gets to stay with you.  It’s not fair.”  It’s hard to be in the middle, not with the big kids, not a little kid.  I get it.  I’m in the middle too, Quinn, not out of toddler-world, done with babies.  Kids almost in school, not in a career.

“I want the itty-bitty song,” he whined, “it makes me feel better.”

I wracked my brain, the itty-bitty song?  “How does it go, Quinner?”

“You know.  Try your best; Little bitty in the middle.”  Ah, yes, one of my favorite, impromptu, I-can’t-take-the-whining-another-second, car dance party songs.  You have to be familiar with my bastardized lyrics.  I don’t care for the original.

It just takes some time
Little bit of in the middle, after a while  (Stacey’s version, not correct.)
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be alright, alright

“Are you in the middle?” I laughed, cranking the volume.

“I’m in the middle of mad.”

They’re good lyrics.  They make me feel better too.

Hey, you know they’re all the same
You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in
Live right now, yeah, just be yourself
It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else.

If I don’t teach  my children emotional regulation, or decent cooking skills, or religion, or even that “god DAMN it” is not appropriate in polite company, I am proud to have taught them one important thing: NEVER underestimate the power of a good dance party.

The business may sponsor our Spokane LTYM production.  Nate had whip cream. And Quinn?


He tried his best. The little bitty middle’s not so bad, especially when it comes with a coupon for ice cream.

11 Responses to In the middle
  1. Kirsten
    January 26, 2013 | 6:37 am

    Love this song. I listen to it often.

  2. Alison
    January 26, 2013 | 10:59 am

    I’d love to watch a vlog of you singing it :)
    Yay Quinn!
    (also, hate advertising pitches too, asking people for money is hard)

  3. Galit Breen
    January 26, 2013 | 12:43 pm

    Lovely, you. Just pure lovely.

    I think your lyrics are perfect, your message important and seriously GO QUINN!


  4. But Why Mommmy
    January 26, 2013 | 1:03 pm

    This used to be one of our dance party songs too. May need to add it back to our rotation. And yay for Quinn.

  5. Korinthia Klein
    January 26, 2013 | 3:21 pm

    We spent the last two weeks watching a friend’s children (which brought the total in our house up to five) and the first week of that adventure my husband was out of town. Right at the point where I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore my oldest recommended at dance party. She cranked up the music and turned on the disco ball and all was well with the world. Dance parties are essential to sanity.

  6. Lisa K
    January 26, 2013 | 11:54 pm

    I think recognizing that you are “in the middle of mad” and looking for a way to cheer up is pretty wise :) Sounds like good emotional regulation to me!!

    Also, I listened to that album on repeat pretty much constantly for my first two years of college… I think I just had a flashback. :)

  7. Lady Jennie
    January 27, 2013 | 8:21 am

    Never underestimate the power of a good dance party. You’re right, and yet I haven’t instilled this gem in my kids. Off to start now. But with what music?

    Oh, I’m so lame.

  8. tracy@sellabitmum
    January 27, 2013 | 7:24 pm

    You know songs- I love you for that. I don’t know any songs.

  9. Arnebya
    January 28, 2013 | 3:38 am

    The power of a well-placed dance party is magical. The ability to make up lyrics that suit your needs is even better.

  10. Issa
    January 28, 2013 | 4:06 pm

    Awwwww go Quinn!

    Yes. Dance parties make things better. This should be a standard childhood thing, like tying ones shoes and doing dishes.

  11. melanie
    February 1, 2013 | 8:28 pm

    you are so right. sometimes when nothing can fix it you have to crank up the music and just let yourself FEEL. I love this song.

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