Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever

One day when I was pregnant with Leif, AB got in my car to go somewhere. After getting back he decided we needed classical cds not only for our house, but for me to listen to in my car. He had gotten in my car and been greeted by something blaring from my cd player that was “not the type of music a baby should listen to”. I don’t remember what it was…

He did buy a set of 10 classical cds (and I surprised him by knowing a lot of the composers and the music – thank you nine years of piano lessons). But they never made it to my car. I remember telling him I loved my music and I was going to listen to whatever I wanted in there. (I might have even added that the talk shows he listened to were equally offensive… or at least I might have thought it at the time.) My reasoning is that music has been shown to increase math comprehension and it isn’t like the baby in my tummy could understand or probably even discern the words.

I grew up with music. My dad plays guitar and one of my favorite pictures of he and I is one of me sitting on his lap on the bed with the guitar in front of us. He and my mom were also just plain music fans. We weren’t a TV family early on, but there was always music on. I am still a big music fan of nearly all types. AB marveled the other day that my 2Gb iPod I got for Christmas is nearly at capacity already.

But now I am a mom. (Does that hang like dead weight in heavy air or what?) About Christmastime Leif started paying attention to and commenting on the music in my car. Of course at that time of year it was XM Radio’s Christmas music round the clock channels. So we sang Jingle Bells and all the favorites (wow was I surprised when he knew the words to Feliz Navidad… thank you daycare). Just the other night he brought me (again…) “The Twelve Days of Christmas” book… we always sing it. And truly, no one should know all twelve verses by heart in February.

We were driving home the other night and a song came on that I hadn’t heard in ages, Primus’, Big Brown Beaver. I reached over to crank it… loud was my intention. Then caught a glimpse of my lovely, innocent 2.5 year old in the back seat. Hesitation. I tried telling myself it was about an animal and therefore ok. I couldn’t even sell it to myself. But then I thought back to when I was a little kid. My favorite song ever was Ted Nugent’s, Cat Scratch Fever. Why? Because I liked cats.

Then there was my stepbrother when I was an early teen, and he was much younger. We were listening to Prince’s Darling Nicky. I remember Brett asking us who “Mr Bailey” was and why he was with a magazine. We sent him to his mom for that answer… I think she finally determined what he was asking (all the while his older brother and I sat giggling hearing him ask about “Mr Bailey with the magazine”) and I think my Prince cassette tape went missing shortly thereafter.

There is a lot of music out there I hope my kids never choose to listen to. My goal is to offer them exposure to lots of different other musical options and emphasize music as an art, and sorry, there is some music out there that is not art.

In one instance I want to shelter my kids from everything for as long as possible. But in another I think back to me as a kid and want to rely on their childhood innocence. But in the 21st century, is childhood innocence still applicable? But the real question becomes, do I really want my son going into daycare singing “Winona had herself a big brown beaver and she showed it off to all her friends”?

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