I’m not a big fan of kid music – sure, I can hum along to the “Sesame Street” theme and I know all the words to “Wheels on the Bus”, but to be fair, it’s not my deal. I remember more than once, going through an assessment of one kind or another (we’ve done so many the paperwork takes up literally half our basement) and having the kids lose points for not being familiar with some song that kids are supposed to know. Sure, I felt a sense of guilt – just as I did about a million other things (it’s the nature of parenting, isn’t it?), but to be fair, my kids didn’t know a majority of these songs because I didn’t play them. Now, it isn’t that they didn’t have any exposure – we took our fair share of ECFE classes and cranked out the bus song, along with Mary and her crazy lamb, & even the days of the week number from the preschool they’ve all attended. But, on the way home from said class, we were more likely listening to the Indigo Girls than we were to Big Bird.
Here’s what I love – music has a way of reaching through the generations and connecting us all to memories and moments, no matter what your
age. I remember so vividly going to the movie “Grease” with a whole bunch of extended family, and then immediately heading to “Musicland” to buy the album. It’s something I’ll never forget – not that it was life changing or anything, but it was a terrific memory of singing the songs together and eating ice cream at Grandpa & Grandma’s farm, and just having a fun summer day. (Likely, that was also the day I convinced my cousin, Davey, to jump out of the Chicken Coop window where he promptly broke his arm. But I digress).
When Elliott was just a tiny baby, my friend Christine had just given me a “John Denver’s greatest hits” DVD. It wasn’t long before I realized that when Baby E’s tummy hurt, and he would cry and cry, nothing calmed him faster than some gentle swaying and a little “Rocky Mountain High”.
Through the years, all the kids have developed their own sense of music tastes. I’m not proud of the fact that I love Barry Manilow as much as the Beatles, but it is what it is. Let’s just say that they’ve had exposure to just about every bad 80’s song imaginable, with a healthy dose of 70’s thrown in as well. But they have heard it all, and now have their own preferences and sense of style. It morphs and changes – sometimes by the day, but I love that they all enjoy listening to music, and that it is a way for us to “connect” and make our own memories.
Elliott is for some reason madly in love with “All I Want” from our friends Toad the Wet Sprocket at the moment. Kind of getting tired of it, but it just makes him smile. I should also add that he has very creative names – never the actual name – for all the songs he loves. His other current fav is Sarah Barielles “King of Anything” which he and Henry refer to as the coffee song – I think just because the word coffee is mentioned in the first line. What I love most is that E is passionate about a song that talks about a person with control issues. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?
I should have known that Henry would be our future trouble maker when he turned 5, and announced that his favorite song was Joan Jett’s “Bad
Reputation”. Sure, he’s an easy going, mellow dude, but once Taio Cruz or Katy Perry appear on one of his 3 “Henry’s Dance Mix” compilations, he’s a crazy man!
Ada likes any kind of make-out music – Ambrosia, the Baby’s, etc. Yep, she’s 5. If I didn’t like the songs so much myself, I’d be more worried, but hey, might as well enjoy the moment, right?
The trio and I have had a lot of time together this summer. It’s been fun to be out and about and enjoying the summer in ways we’ve never been able to before. This is all new for us – this “togetherness” thing, and I have to say, that while I’m often exhausted and some days are more interesting than others, for the most part, we’re all enjoying our summer. Sometimes we head to the library, and belt out Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” (can you guess Henry’s favorite lyrics? If it has something to do with being a drag, you are correct). Other days, Elliott might persuade us to sing along to “Wide Open Spaces” as he is a particularly big fan of girl power songs. But no matter what musical mood we’re in, we’re all taking turns sharing some of our favorites with each other and enjoying the moment.
Last weekend, we bought the movie “Grease” and played it for our Family Movie Night. Amidst the popcorn and root beer, 3 new fans were born. It wasn’t an amazingly good time – but it’s something I’ll always remember sharing with my kids. We learned some new songs, did a little dancing in our jams (ok, Henry did), and then had some ice cream on the deck before bedtime. I can’t say for sure that they will remember it when they are adults, but let’s just say I found an amazing drawing of what looked a lot like Greased Lightning with the initials HK on it the very next day. The more things change, the more they stay the same . . .
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