Baby Mix

In compiling my (as always) *thorough* inventory of the human race, I have been able to discern two categories of parent.

First is the parent whose identity seems to be completely encapsulated in their baby/child. EVERYTHING is geared towards their young. Weekend outings are limited to going exclusively to kids’ museums, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and baby birthday parties featuring clowns whose humor is likely lost on both adult and youth spectators. Mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and crustless peanut butter sandwiches are not only featured on the wee one’s plate but also on mom’s (what kind of wine would you pair with Goldfish crackers?). Facebook status updates that once chronicled one’s witty comments on the suckiness of their jobs or the awesomeness of their trip to Estonia now concern the baby’s barfing or getting together with other spawners to take the kids to the latest community-organized spend-a-thon Craft Fest.

Then there are parents who seem to retain some of their adulthood upon introducing a baby into the fold. This is the kind of parent I want to be because I can’t handle the prospect that Barney time slots could possibly become pertinent to mine and Bebe’s daily routines. In our home, there will be no separately prepared meals for the elders and the youth because monochromatic children’s food is downright depressing and insulting to all who feel the need to consume it.

Believe it or not, I really don’t have any aggression towards kids’ culture. When I worked at a fairly hoity-toity restaurant a few years back, I used to watch Caillou before I went in for my shift because I found that its slow pace relaxed me and made me realize that the whiners and snobs who I would be dealing with that evening were, like Caillou, probably miserable from their youth and deserving of the same patience that anyone would give freely to a cranky four-year-old.

The stimulus that I will provide Bebe will (hopefully) be fun, cool, and not insulting to my baby’s intelligence. In her recent post Shiny Happy People, Jessica from booshy got me thinking about what babies hear (both in utero and, err, out utero) and how what the parents dish out trumps almost all other stimuli that the baby will receive from now until the kid learns of the existence of Tiger Beat. So in providing the soundtrack for our baby’s life, I think we can do better than The Waffles, or Wuggles, or Wiggles, or whatever the name of that musical group is.

At the same time, even though “Jeremy” is technically about a child, I don’t think I’ll be piping that into the nursery just yet.

So what’s the happy medium?

I have a few suggestions:

Every time the baby hears this song, I will remind him that his ultra-cool mom and dad have even been to Iceland. It will doubtlessly be annoying for the baby but it will hopefully remind him that his parents were cool way back when.

“Mommy, what’s ‘November Rain’”? I can field that question.

Me neither.

The ultimate shiny, happy medium. It kind of makes me sad that, despite the fact that REM hasn’t been too awesome since I was in 7th grade, Bebe will be born into a world where they don’t really exist anymore.

Now, the burning question: what would you put on your baby’s playlist? What should the kiddies be hearing?

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20 comments

  1. Hopefully our sprout will gear enough to make him a decent member of the human population…The Waggles…Wiggles…whatever…not included.

    1. I know, I can’t justify encouraging Bebe towards that kind of stuff when there’s SO MUCH awesome music out there for him to hear. The Wiggles doesn’t seem like it has any real weight behind it. The song parodies on Sesame Street, on the other hand, actually allude to life beyond that of a five-year-old.

  2. This is awesome! I will have to think more about the Bebe playlist! Maybe “Friday I’m in Love”? Such a happy song! Also probably a lot of the Beatles. My mom taught Martin and I “She’s Got a Ticket to Ride” and “Baby You Can Drive My Car” when we were toddlers, and I’ve pretty much never been able to thank her enough for it. My mom is awesome!

    1. LOL I agree! Although we will also play the Rolling Stones alongside the Beatles so Bebe will be able to choose a side on that debate early on.

  3. Don’t over think it. They will always find their own path. The most important thing you can do is provide an environment that allows them to develop as an independent, creative individual. Give them a safe platform from which they can experiment and a loving place to return to when life knocks them down. Relax and enjoy it. It will over before you know it.

  4. meagan manning · · Reply

    i am SO not that type A mom. the trick is trying to maintain your cool young person-ness even though you have to turn on barney every day at a certain time because that’s the only thing that works. and my kid won’t eat ANYTHING i put effort into making. ANYTHING!!!!! if it takes more than microwaving or it isn’t originally frozen, it will not be eaten! so – you are awesome, and you and ben will be outstanding cool parents. just tune out the dumb shows, get a candle so your house doesn’t smell like target dinosaur chicken nuggets, go on dates at least once a month, and keep some wine handy. :)

    1. I gotta just say it: I love you, Meagan :)

  5. meagan manning · · Reply

    PS joe manning LOVES bob marley because we have sung it to him since we found out about him :)

  6. When I was pregnant it was lots of Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner and Israel K… Somewhere over the Rainbow interspersed with lots of early Beatles. Nowadays it would probably be lots of Jack Johnson. Your baby experience can be whatever you want it to be – after the first few months. (which will likely be a blur despite your best intentions) My advice is to figure out what is most important to you and your husband (you need to be on the same page) and go from there. For us it was our sleep – may sound basic or silly, but everything else flows from there.

    1. Oooooh Jack Johnson…nice choice. I remember a sprinkling of Kenny Loggins throughout my own 80s childhood. And now the new Footloose is coming out. Funny how nostalgia runs on such a tight generational schedule.

  7. I refuse to do kid music. Refuse. Because I have a feeling being forced to listen to it is a recipe for wanting to kill myself, and that can’t be good for the twins, now can it? Mostly kidding…mostly.

    I actually already have a lullabye mix made because I gave it to some friends when they had a baby girl. It includes:
    1. “You Can Close Your Eyes” James Taylor and Carole King
    2. “My Little Girl” Jack Johnson
    3. “Moon River” Patty Griffin version
    4. “Golden Slumbers” Ben Folds version
    5. “If You Can’t Sleep” She & Him
    6. “Harvest Moon” Neil Young (always reminds me of my own childhood and my Dad)
    7. “Hold You in my Arms” Ray Lamontagne
    8. “Heartbeats” Jose Gonzales
    9. “Blackbird” Sarah McLachlan version
    10.”Come Away with Me” Norah Jones
    11.”Home” David LaMotte
    12.”The Way You Look Tonight” Harry Connick Jr. version
    13.”I Adore You” Melpo Mene
    14.”My Funny Valentine” Over the Rhine
    15.”When the Stars Go Blue” Ryan Adams
    16.”Amazing Grace” Sufjan Stevens
    17.”Quelqu’un m’a dit” Carla Bruni
    18.”Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)” Billy Joel

    1. My thoughts exactly! Listening to some of this stuff puts the child’s welfare in danger! :D

      Love your list. I will have to check out some of the tunes I’m not familiar with (#5, #8, #17).

  8. My son listened to Zeppelin in utero. He also heard a lot of swearing, ’cause I have a mouth like a trucker. We actually liked the old school Sesame Street songs, even Dad. And then there is the classic “Itsy Bitsy Spider” sung by Little Richard. Oh! And arias. We put new lyrics to famous arias.

  9. By age three, my favorite albums were Frank Zappa’s “We’re Only in It for the Money” and The Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away/Happy Jack”. I can only assume this is because my parents opted out of “kid culture”. I plan to do likewise– we’ll just continue to listen to stuff we like, and I’m sure the youngling will sort out his or her favorite bits from that, after a while. This can have its down-side– I distinctly remember singing along with “What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body” at pre-K age– but it still beats the heck out of franchise childrens’ edutainment. At age 4, I also had a thing for Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor… and I’m still quite fond of Bach.

  10. I’m glad I found your blog after you read one of my posts. I think we all bring our own music to parenthood and we all watch as our kids then create their own songs from our melodies.

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed your post, too :D

      And I fully agree. Watching my little one develop his/her own interests is one of the things I’m most looking forward to when I finally meet the little guy. (And in all honesty, if (s)he is really inspired by the Wiggles, I won’t be too upset.)

  11. They tend to tell you in no uncertain terms what they like! And suddenly, because they like it and you love them so much, you like it too (like the color pink). Parents have a bit of influence, but not as much as they think. Once “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” got introduced to our four-year-old, it was the ONLY song she would listen to. They are little extremists!

    1. Hey, extremism I can take. I tend to realize I like songs and then listen to them on constant repeat until the tape piddles out (I have Ace of Base, circa 1994ish in mind here; had to replace it TWICE).

      I heart your blog big time. The combination of liquor of stuffed animals is the stuff my dreams are made of :) Thanks for stopping by.

  12. [...] post Odd Thoughts on Having a Kid and I was reminded of a post I wrote way back called Baby Mix where I freaked out over Kiddie Culture and my soon-to-be induction into the world of The Wiggles. [...]

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