One of the greatest challenges of parenting is kiddie music.
It’s just so high pitched. And repetitive. And nonsensical.
But my kids love it. They perk up whenever it’s on, even if they’ve never heard the song before. It’s like they have some kind of built in radar for high pitched, asinine singing. Should that make me concerned?
The kids and I recently took a music class that came with a CD, which the instructor told us to listen to before the next class. The CD sat in the car all week, but because I am the kind of person who does my homework, I popped it in on our way to class. Check: homework done. But when we arrived, the instructor quizzed all of us, asking if we’d listened to the CD in its entirety, every day, all week. And he really went around the room asking each parent, “Did you listen to every song? Did you?”
I had a good reason for slacking. Sirius had just launched their Garth Brooks station, and it was limited time only. Who can resist that? I expected all the other parents to, like me, lower their gaze and mumble some lies about loving the CD. But no! This was their third or fourth music class! They had all the songs memorized and listened to them on repeat! And could we talk about the merits of this year’s CD versus last year’s?
But don’t worry. My children weren’t deprived. At their request, we listened to that CD for the next six weeks, until I went to bed with the melodies still spinning through my thoughts.
To mix it up, I recently checked out a copy of Disney’s “Tangled” CD from the library. Annabelle is in heaven. I’m thankful that Disney songs are much better than the typical kiddie songs, but there is still something about listening to a song for the 147th time that dulls my appreciation for it.
But Annabelle is super cute whenever the CD is playing. She dances and sings, and she is always roughly 10 words behind, but she doesn’t seem to notice. This makes me love her more.
Colin notices though.
“Good singing!” I tell Annabelle.
“Um,” Colin says, possibly because the song Annabelle is singing ended two minutes ago.
“Mommy’s singing is good,” Colin says because he hasn’t yet learned that I’m actually supposed to get the notes right when I sing. This makes me love him more.
When it was time to return the Rapunzel CD to the library, Andy suggested we buy it.
“But the reason we got it from the library is so that we could return it later,” I say.
“Why wouldn’t we want a copy?” he asks—spoken like a man who gets to escape to work for eight hours and only listens to the songs on repeat for a paltry four hours in the evenings.
Andy did suggest that we, ahem, acquire the songs another way. But that would be wrong: Piracy is not a victimless crime. I know this because the FBI spends all of their time translating it into 200 different languages and posting it on my Netflix DVDs.
We bought the CD. But you already knew that. Disney and Lego stock would plummet without us.
There are times when my kids get interested in adult songs. Colin liked John Denver’s “Country Roads” for a while, and Annabelle has latched on to Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Sometimes we’ll make play lists of adult kiddie songs, like “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Monster Mash” that capture the children’s attention, but nothing hangs on like those high-pitched voices and singing princesses.
I like when my children are happy and enjoying their own music, but there are days when I want a break from it. Sometimes, when I’m turning on the car and I know there’s a kiddie CD cued up, I punch the radio button before they notice. But then my kids do something really manipulative: They say, in their sweet little voices, “Mommy, can I please listen to my CD?” So we do. For the next six weeks.
Kirstin Odegaard runs the Benicia Tutoring Center. Read and comment on her writings at kirstinode.wordpress.com.