Our latest game in the car is identifying the instrument playing on the radio. I know what people are thinking... Newsflash: Music Geek Forces Child to Become As Socially Inept as She Was Growing Up. But whether you believe me or not, the game honestly wasn't created or prompted by me, initially.

I listen to a variety of music in the car as we drive... alternative, classical, classic rock, you name it. But my commuter's favorite is NPR. I don't watch the news on television (too repetitive) and I don't read the paper (too time consuming - actually receiving the paper in my neighborhood requires a daily call to the Washington Post Circulation Office) so pretty much ninety pecent of my exposure to what's going on in the world is through NPR while I drive to work and back.

The Dormouse, however, isn't interested in enjoying thoughtful, in-depth news reporting and always asks for "music please" when she tromps her muddy shoes all over the back seat to enter the car. And then, whatever station I happen to be in the mood to tune it to, becomes a part of the game. "Momma, that is a guitar, playing." "That is a man singing." "Those are violins playing."

She's actually gotten pretty good at it. On the classical station, she can point out the piano, violins, cellos, basses, flutes, trumpets, and a variety of other instruments. She still has trouble with clarinet, oboe, and some of the brass instruments, but truth be told, they don't often play completely exposed solos in an orchestra, so it's hard to get a chance to hear them when not covered up by a whole lot of other folks.

This morning on the way to preschool, she was picking them out particularly well and identified the "tiny triangle instrument" playing in the background of the Litolff Piano Concerto that I didn't even notice until she pointed it out.

"Great job, honey," I said, "that's absolutely right!"

"Yep, momma... I'm always right when I can be."