For Your Entertainment

Posted by on May 29, 2010 | 1 comment

David and I are both musicians and singers, and had hoped our love of all music would pass down to our children.  It most assuredly did, in spades. 

I listened to lots of music while pregnant with each child, more for myself than their well-being.  I was an easily-stressed pregnant mama, and the CD “When it Falls” by Zero 7 was an instant blood pressure-reducer for me.  I sang “Somersault” to each of the boys as infants.  Even now they calm down when I either sing or play it for them.  There’s a simple magic in music, and it helps to soothe my savage beasties.  

All three boys have an innate love of music, and each has expressed his own musicality in a unique way. 

Kieran is my music baby.  He has been bopping along – in perfect rhythm, I might add – to music since he was two months old.  He can play the harmonica and the recorder, and is drawn to any microphone within reach (we have several).  At 17 1/2 months he is already singing daily, rotating a greatest hits of  “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the original Batman theme and the Spongebob Squarepants theme.  Spongebob is his favorite. 

I have the most amazing video of a 16-month-old Lennon dancing like a tiny frat boy to songs by The Faint and The Killers whilst wearing a Baby Gap pumpkin hat.  His favorite songs alternate between the theme from Thomas and Friends, “Hurry, Hurry, Here Comes The Fire Truck” and “What Do You Want From Me” by Adam Lambert.  He sings nonstop in the van, to the point I often wish he had a volume control so I could hear him better from way in the back seat.

Jack, too, adores music.  At the ripe old age of six months he was rocking out  in his high chair to the Ramones and hasn’t stopped.  More often than not, Jack likes it loud with a driving rhythm.  He’s the one after my own 80’s alternative-loving heart.  Jack loves Lady Gaga.  He adores Adam Lambert.  Yesterday in the van he made me play Kesha’s “Tik Tok” five times in a row before we moved on to the more soothing strains of They Might Be Giants.  He requests Depeche Mode and New Order on a regular basis, and I am certainly not going to deny him that. 

All three of my children stop dead in their tracks for various commercials from The Gap and Target and AT&T.  They are drawn to the phone spot featuring Cat Stevens.  I am concerned that someday they may insist we purchase a lawn mower based solely on the fact that they were seduced by a tune in the ad.

There are endless studies of how music helps children grow and learn, not to mention how it works wonders with children affected by autism.  We have surrounded the boys with music from birth in all forms – toys that sing and play songs, cds of tunes we can tolerate ad nauseum and musical instruments so they can exercise their inner jazzbos.  We have an awesome African drum they love to bang on and irritate our neighbors.  They play harmonicas and recorders and keyboards and guitars.  They sing into microphones, sometimes using actual words.  And yes, we let them watch shows that feature music. 

I’m not ashamed.  I’ll admit it.  We are a television-loving family.  I wish I could tell you that each show my children view is specifically jpre-screened and researched by me for educational content, but that would be a big fat lie.  In the early morning we pile onto the couch and watch Spongebob, all gleefully singing the song (baby leading the way).  When Spongebob is over, we all sing along with Dora.  The backpack song is another of Kieran’s favorites, and he will joyfully sing it out whenever he sees a backpack:  Target, The Container Store, the park… if you have a backpack, get ready for a serenade. 

Our favorite, though, hands-down, is Yo Gabba Gabba.  If you haven’t yet experienced the magic that is Yo Gabba Gabba, you’re missing out.  YGG was created for parents like us.  Not just parents of music-loving children, but parents who love music.  Real music, and not just tunes sung by talented backpacks or, heaven forbid, purple dinosaurs.  I get teary listening to my children sing songs by The Roots about loving their family.  Or making beats with Biz Markie.  Or learning to draw with Mark from Devo.  Or singing about loving all living things, parties in their tummy, sharing, brushing their teeth, not biting friends and caring for babies along with The Shins, The Aquabats, Solange, The Ting Tings, The Faint and more.  Not to mention the awesome songs sung by the main characters themselves, creatures straight out of the dance clubs of my youth (and the stage shows of The Aquabats).  The amazing minds behind Yo Gabba Gabba have tapped into magic, and we approve. (follow YGG on Facebook here)

As you’ve probably gathered reading this blog, my husband and I are endlessly entertained by our children.  We take great joy in everything they say and do (ok, almost everything), and there is nothing quite like hearing your children sing.  Songs they’ve heard, songs they’ve made up, songs you’ve taught them.  My children sing often, especially Jack.  Whether by autism or a miracle of genetics, Jack has a mind like a steel trap and doesn’t forget much, if anything.  This includes his favorite songs, which he sings for his own enjoyment.  He likes to share, too, when the spirit moves him. 

The spirit moved him recently while his daddy was napping on the couch.  Startled, David awoke to Jack’s face pressed right up to his, singing, “I’m here for your entertainment!!”

Oh honey, you have no idea.

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