This Christmas, Nora asked Santa for a cd player. He was kind enough to bring her a clunky, easy to use, hand-me-down cd-radio-tape player that my parents had. She asked if she could ask Santa for a tv too. I told her that she could ask, but that I would tell Santa that she wasn't allowed to have one. She seems satisfied, bordering on obsessed, with her newfound musical freedom.
I've always enjoyed music too. My dad, who was a Peaches manager before entering the ministry, used to play me a very eclectic assortment of records. (Most of which took up residency in my basement when my parents moved. I did not take his eighties pop, because it is a tortuous genre.) Since becoming a mom, I haven't really changed my taste in music. I have played my kids my own diverse mix from the angsty girl ballads of Lilith Fair's Sarah McLachlan to Lady Gaga's dance songs to The Killers' rock and roll. I have tried to expose my kids to a wide array, leading, of course, with Bob Dylan.
Now that Nora has her own cd player, she is developing her own tastes. Whenever she is going to listen to music, she almost always starts with the Rapunzel soundtrack. My dad burned it for her, and she likes to act out Rapunzel's day during "When Will My Life Begin?". After Rapunzel, though, anything seems to be fair game. Two of her favorite songs are "Good-bye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks and "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers.
If you are not familiar with these songs, they are not exactly Wiggles renditions. "Good-bye Earl" is about two best friends poisoning one's husband because he is abusive. "Mr. Brightside" is about a cheating girlfriend. One of the blaring refrains is "...he takes off her dress now..." And Nora sings it at the top of her lungs.
Unfortunately, "explicit lyrics" can be found in a lot of good songs too. My kids do not have pure ears when it comes to swearing. Just last year, when Nora was only four, she was helping Bubba cook. She informed him that he was using a "hell of a block of cheese". Gray has repeated "shit" after me while riding in the car. We try not to swear in front of our kids, but they hear it from us and from music.
Nora made a "wish list" of songs for her grandpa to download onto a cd. (Yes, I am so far behind my geneation that my father is more e-advanced than I!) She included a song by Pink called "Stupid Girls." She didn't know it, but I found it on youtube. What did my brilliant kid conclude about it? She said, "I wish she didn't use that word" (Ironically, Nora's not allowed to call things "stupid".) "But I like the song. It's like 'I'm not going to dress up and act weird just to get attention.'" I had to hold back tears of pride.
When it comes to movies and tv, I edit much more strictly. I'm not afraid Nora will cheat on her future boyfriend because she likes "Mr. Brightside" or that she'll try to poison some one. Songs might be repeated, but I think they are so with less thought and purpose. She can sing a song a million times and not even get all the words right. Instead, I worry that she'll try to act like the girls on tv. Far too many kid and tween girly shows portray females as dumb and cute. And, more appallingly, it's okay to be dumb if you're cute. Girls are allowed to have an attitude, and later, they make up for it by batting their eyes. I would much rather my daughter say "Oh shit, I'm in trouble" than bat her eyes to get out of it. But I still won't let her say "stupid"....
I guess I can live with my contradictions, but I can't live without good music!