Last week, our parenting blog colleagues at the Orlando Sentinel began a discussion about children and music. (One parent worried about her young daughter coming home singing the lyrics to a rap song. ) And at transPARENT, fellow blogger Matthew Strozier lamented that he had to give up his hope (at least for now) of introducing grown-up music to his two-year-old. His son loooves Raffi.
My three-year-old son did too. But then he discovered Avril Lavigne. And Alicia Keys. And Journey.
I thank the iPhone and the fact that I love to sing in the car on the 40-minute drive down to my parents’ house in Miami each weekend.
And in some cosmic sense, maybe the fact that my son was born to a mix CD my husband and I made for the special occasion has something to do with it. Officially, our son was born to Sade’s “By Your Side.” A few seconds earlier, and he would have been born to the Santana/Rob Smith 1999 hit “Smooth.” (How I remembered this amid a non-medicated birthing process is beyond me.)
You never know whether your kid is going to be a music aficionado. My advice? Expose him or her often and early. And, as much as possible, engage in the music. Sing and dance together. Be silly. Make it fun.
To this day, I still insist on dancing to the Go Diego Go! song before each episode. I can’t think of a time when my son – even in the worst of moods – didn’t want me to pick him up and twirl him around.
He also pulls out his Fisher Price piano every time he’s inspired: Usually when he sees former Journey frontman Steve Perry play the piano in the “Don’t Stop Believin’” video we downloaded from iTunes. My son quickly learned how to navigate my husband’s iPhone and likes to replay his favorite songs and videos over and over again.
As for other grown-up music, he learned on those trips down to Miami to request certain songs: There’s the CD that has some oldies like “Sugar” and “Buttercup.” And the Indigo Girls CD, which has, according to my son, the “Mommy and Daddy” song. (Our wedding DVD, which my son loves to watch, has as part of its soundtrack the IG song “Closer to Fine.”)
But, by far, my son’s favorite, No. 1 request, several months running, is “No One,” by Alicia Keys. In my household, it’s better known as “Special Music Song.” That’s the term my son coined the first time I played the song for him and told him: “I have a special song for you.”
Hot Wheels in hand, head bobbing to the beat, he does his best to sing the song. Just last week, as we were listening to the song on the way to school, he told me he wanted to sing it to his friends. A cute notion, but one I thought he’d soon forget.
As soon as he stepped into the classroom, he found his best friend and started:
“No one, No one, No wa-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-n, (mumble, mumble, mumble) feel for you,” he began. Then he skipped to his favorite part: “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, Oh (oh), Oh (oh), O-o-oh.”
Now that’s music to my ears.
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