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Slices of Life: The lost decade

We play a name-that-tune game in the car while listening to the radio. Whoever is first to blurt the title of a song and the name of the group or artist singing it wins.

Jill PertlerLast weekend, I encountered a melody unfamiliar to me. When I fessed up to this, my husband said: "It's a song from the '90s."

He thought he was giving me a hint. Little did he know a hint would do me no good. I was beyond rescue and redemption.

The 1990s — ha! I know practically nothing from the decade. Not songs. Not pop culture. Not TV shows. Not movies (unless they were Disney). It's like I slept through the 1990s, except just the opposite was true.

The 1990s are a blur for me — a decade-long haze people might experience after indulging in excessive amounts of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

I wish. My haze was nothing like that. Although I guess sex did play a significant a part in it. You can't have babies without it.

And babies filled the bulk of my 1990s. I spent most of the decade in a sticky, sleep-deprived stupor caused by pregnancy and infants and, thankfully, only one colossal case of the colic.

Funny I hadn't realized it before, but when I did the math, I spent close to 90 percent of the 1990s either pregnant, nursing, changing diapers or all of the above.

I spent most of 1991 pregnant; '92, breastfeeding; '93, changing diapers; '94, pregnant — again; '95, nursing again; '96, changing diapers again; '97, pregnant again, again; '98, nursing; '99, still changing diapers.

And after all this, we still had one more baby to birth. He came in 2001.

All this was interspersed by reading board books, stacking blocks and watching "Toy Story" (or Pooh) videos over and over and over again.

By the end of it all, I was barely alive. Or at least barely awake.

And let's just say when the new millennium hit, I was in no shape to party like it was 1999. Heck, I just wanted a good night's sleep. Maybe two.

Instead, I threw on an oversized color-block sweater over my turtleneck, stepped into my stonewashed "mom" jeans and tossed in another load of laundry while balancing a baby on my hip. I was oblivious to the trends of the world around me. Fashion could wait until later. As could music.

I completely missed out on grunge — both the fashion and music facets. Didn't even know it existed until I did a Google. After reading about it on Wiki I don't think I missed much.

The Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys took a backseat to my own girl and boys. Priorities.

I lived the 1990s, but missed them as well. I do, however, have many wonderful memories from the decade — they're just not from pop culture, but from poop culture.

Instead of paying attention to fashion, I was changing diapers and clothing babies. Instead of going to the movie theater, I was filming VHS tapes of my children and memorizing "Toy Story." Instead of paying attention to Billboard's top 10 hits, I was singing along with "Sesame Street."

The 1990s will go down in my memory banks as one of the fondest decades of all times. It was a time when I had the miraculous privilege of growing babies! I was rocking them. I was feeding them. I was teaching them about love and life.

And they, in turn, were teaching me — about love, life, here, there, the overratedness of sleep, the transitory nature of trends, childhood and other life lessons — to infinity and beyond.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.