Three adults sit around a kitchen table questioning who wrote the song “Life is a Highway.” There is one vote for Tom Petty, another for Joe Crocker, and the last for Bon Jovi. Wrong. With a little help from the Internet, I now know it was one-hit-wonder Tom Cochran. While Cochran may be known in many parts of the world as a humanitarian, who brings attention to issues such as famine and Parkinson’s Disease, in our house he provides the soundtrack to tanker trucks. Yes, that’s right, we watch a YouTube video with a slideshow of tanker trucks set to Cochran’s greatest hit.
Before raising my son, I had no idea that videos of trucks existed on YouTube, but I am now a connoisseur of garbage truck, tanker truck, fire truck, and excavator videos. “No, I want the other fire trucks, ” actually means something to me now because we watch these videos more than I watch anything else on television. Why someone is standing on the sidewalk recording garbage collection still boggles my mind, but I thank those people for providing this footage on the Internet for my toddler to appreciate. These videos have saved a few meal times, both at home and restaurants, and are useful for toddler distraction in the car.
We have a number of books featuring various trucks as well. Our two newest favorites are Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Trucks Go, but we have some other classics that we rotate through (this one and this one) regularly. In fact, he is sleeping with Curious George and the Firefighters and I am a Garbage Truck next to his pillow. When reading this lift-the-flap book one night, I asked N which truck was mommy’s favorite and he said, “the ambulance… it helps people.” So while these monster machines may be appealing due to their size, noises, and mechanics, I was happy to hear that he is appreciating their function in society.
We have also had some amazing in person experiences with the Philadelphia waste management and fire department men and women. While stopped at a traffic light last week, a fire truck pulled up next to us. N was staring wide-eyed out his window as the firemen waved at him. He was frozen in awe, so when he didn’t return their waves, they escalated to honking and then N was absolutely ecstatic. “I drive the fire truck, mommy,” he often states, not asks. “Maybe when you are older,” I reassure, as he wouldn’t be the first in his family. We have also seen the fire department at a number of events in our neighborhood, including a Christmas celebration with Santa and a fire education workshop for tots. Afterwards he told everyone we met, “I touched a fireman,” referring to the fireman allowing the kids to inspect his fire protection equipment. We say goodnight everyday in our bedtime prayer to our favorite vehicle-of-the-moment, which these days are the excavators, but the garbage trucks and fire trucks reigned for many months.
Yes Tom Cochran, in our house life is a highway. Sometimes we are cruising and sometimes we are parked. We have your inspirational lyrics to remind us of all the amazing roads we have yet to explore and enough books and YouTube videos to keep us viewing all night long.