Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Finally have a good Sound Track if not Sound Mind

Anyone who has known me in my childhood or adolescence knows I have the definitive record for the worst music collection from that era for all time. Granted, it was the 70's so there was lots of badness to cherry pick from, but my passionate devotion to poorly chosen tunes began with being exposed to the Eagles by our terribly hip babysitter. She showed me the cover of "One of These Nights" and played the music.

I got nightmares of giant flying cow skulls coming to trap me in my room. I blame her for my subsequent reactive decisions to purchase three seasons of the Kids from Fame's Greatest Hits.

Now most of us have nightmare moments, messy elements of our lives that we hope not to impose or create for our children. Human nature remaining perpetually flawed, I have discovered when we seek to employ countermeasures, we usually exacerbate matters.

Given the many different ages with the choice of music in the car, I get requests for Pokemon or the latest Kids Bop CD from McDonalds, for Disney show tunes and for simple control of the radio to find something good. To eliminate music as proof of the pecking order in our car, I opted to play "None of the above" and put on classical music.

To occasionally allow for a break from Bach, Beethoven and Saint-Sans, I brought tunes that I hoped everyone would like, music I deemed retro enough not to give points to the olders for controlling the sound, and cool enough not to sabotage my children's social future or present. Foreigner, Boston, Styx, the Eagles, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Cheryl Crow and Faith Hill seemed like a decent enough mix to meet the diversity needs of my kiddos while keeping me from listening to commercials for Viagra or IVF or the political lobbying ads that permeate every hour when you live around DC.

Because toddlers spend more time in the car than the olders, they heard the songs more. My four year old daughter fell in love with the Eagles. Every time we got in the car, she'd beg for a particular song,"There's a New Kid in Town." The first time I heard her croon along with Glen Frey and Joe Walsh, I fell in love. Subsequently, I indulged her request, enjoying the small choir singing "You look in her eyes, the music begins to play..." as her sister would occasionally chime in as well.

Sometimes, she'd ask for it a second time. Again, I'd been charmed and thus saw no danger to the situation, but like peanut butter that becomes the only meal and the blue dress and red socks that become the only outfit, the song became the ONLY song. I understand the psychology behind this choice (unlike the peanut butter or the blue and red thing). Her father told her how we used to sing this one to her as a baby and to her older brother because his name was John, "Johny come lately, there's a new kid in town..."

Suddenly, the very measure I'd used to eliminate pecking order WAS indicating the alpha in the car, and it was my four year old. I tried saying "No." but when you have nine children, is this where you want to engage in battle on a daily basis? She knew I didn't have the steel to nut this one out and she was right. "Who needs it?" I told myself and on went the Eagles. She'd get tired of it... eventually.

My other children were sympathetic at first to my not wanting grief in the car, but they did try removing the CD from the car. "WHERE IS MY JOHNNY SONG? I WANT MY JOHNNY SONG?" until she crashed asleep brought the Eagles greatest hits back to the car pronto. So my oldest daughter tried craft. "This is another Eagles Song. It's a good Halloween song." She considered this for a moment and asked, "Can it be about me?"

"If you want." my daughter responded with the perfect indifference of an adolescent.

We played it. The daughter liked it. She sang along and asked for seconds. Everyone was momentarily charmed and the cycle started again, only now we had a rotation. I'm still not going to fight over the music, but this means we will have to feed this musical narcissist until she tires of it.

Next year, she goes to pre-school. I don't see any trouble for her, but I will have to explain why she croons "Witchy Woman" and glows, "It's my song."

1 comment:

MightyMom said...


and my hubby cringed when "Eight Days a Week" was our oldest's FAVORITE song........


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