So one of the topics I was pondering on my drive to work the other day was the music in the car. And in our house. And in my life in general. And I was thinking of all those years I passionately sought out new bands, new sounds, new music to be the ‘soundtrack’ of my life at that particular moment. The patient husband and I both have very eclectic and broad tastes in music and have compiled over the years quite a random collection of tunes in formats both antediluvian (LPs… on vinyl!!) and more modern (CDs, mp3s and play lists “in the cloud”. Before we actually became parents, we vowed we’d never cave to the insipid “kids music” one hears in malls, on certain purple dinosaur tv shows or on kid-specific CDs. By God, our kids were going to listen to our music and like it. (Our one fear was that they would then rebel against our ‘cool music’ in their teenage years and listen to bad pop just to annoy us!).
In utero, #1Son got really excited and banged around when Metallica or other loud rock was on, which I found endlessly amusing! When he was born, I wasn’t really going to blast his tender new eardrums with volume 11 headbanging jams, no matter how much I felt like cranking up that AC/DC classic. So … what music to play for and around a kid? Some mellow classical or jazz did the trick (nothing too noodly or baroque). We figured out the trick was simple melodies, so #1Son spent many afternoons happily cradled on dad’s chest to the twangy tunes of old-style Lefty Frizzell. We also enjoyed Woody Guthrie, Tom T. Hall and Ella Jenkins. We gave a nod to the genre of kids’ music (but still tried to keep the ‘hip’ factor) via Elizabeth Mitchell, the classic They Might Be Giants, and new favorites of ours, The Wee Hairy Beasties. Mr. Eric (local creator of “Pete the Cat”) was also in rotation, especially since we got to see him live. Another of #1Son’s favorites was Wayne Hancock’s “Tulsa!” (over and over…); and we also played him more rock and taught him the \m/ “Metal” hand sign right along with signing “I love you”.
As #1Son got older, and as we added a sister to the equation, our repertoire has expanded. DangerGirl has added her own tastes to the mix. “Five Little Speckled Frogs” and “Twinkle Twinkle” share the stage with tracks by “John Record” (our son’s name for Frank Sinatra), reggae, the Aquabats, and ska (very popular with little girls due to the high “bounce up and down” factor!). And while we haven’t avoided all ‘kids’ music or the purple dinosaur (cringe) all together, we are proud to say that both our children were gleefully yelling along with the Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat” and “Surfer Bird” on our road trip last summer. What is your favorite music to share with your kids?
About the Author:
DecaturMamaofTwo is a Gemini, a reader, a linguist, and a recently-inspired runner. She is mama to two kids (almost six, and two) and married to a very patient man. Some of her favorites include reading, laughing, eating chocolate and a-hah moments. Her secret vice is reading trashy romances. Currently she is teaching high school French.