Skip to main content

"Don't need money. Don't need fame."

"Don't need no credit card to ride this train."

In the afternoon, my kids like to dance to music on the CD player in Cole's room. It usually devolves into bouncing on the red yoga ball that lives in there...both kids love it. But Leda bounces up and down while clapping her hands now and Cole bends his knees in rhythm.

I try to expose them to not just kids music. It's usually something upbeat and "classic" in the sense of exposing them to great music from all over the 20th century in a variety of genres. Yesterday, I started off the festivities with some Huey Lewis and the News. The party quickly ground to a halt, however, when I made the mistake of leaving the CD drawer open. Cole climbed on in and couldn't help himself.

Naturally, once Leda joined the drawer-browsing, a battle erupted. I think their choices are somehow representative of their personalities. Leda wanted Rossini and was busy clapping to The Barber of Seville's grand heights...while Cole was mad I wouldn't help him take Green Day out of the drawer.

Dave Matthews Band is currently in the player as a leftover. Kelly and I also use music to get ready for bed. It makes getting pjs on a little easier in the same way that it helps to transition Cole's media time away from his cartoons and towards the PBS news. We love CDs that contain a nice mix of song moods and tempos because it can start off fun and end softly and quietly. Elvis, Buddy Holly, and The Beach Boys are particularly good for that reason.

It's interesting, too, that music has become a later in the day favorite because when Cole was very small we used to wake him up and get him changed in the morning to some special children's classical music that was sort of chirping birds and evoked a beautiful sunrise. Totally not him.

They always say kids take comfort in rituals, but the longer I parent the more I doubt that, technically. It may, de facto, appear that way, but the reality is that kids like being comforted by familiar things. Change and "the new," while exciting and stimulating, only really helps them learn if they can fall back on what they love to put things in context.