28 October 2009

Dance Party

In our continuing exploration of questionable parenting decisions made by my wife and I, today we will discuss how we are teaching our son to dance. Yes, in and of itself, this is not a bad thing. (And it gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner.") While love of music is an excellent thing to instill in a child, one might question our musical selections, which we have done nothing to filter. More on that in a moment.

Since he was a wee small baby, we've done our best to introduce music into the life of our son. We play him music all the time, including a mix CD a friend made for us, titled 'Songs a Baby Would Enjoy.' Not having a baby himself, we're not sure how he knew what would appeal to the ears of a baby, but he managed to nail it with an inspiring selection of mostly indie rock tunes (plus Loudon Wainwright III's "Daughter") that are all perfectly melodic and an excellent soundtrack for the daily existence of a wee person.

But in an effort to assist our son in getting his groove thang on, we have used as many buoyant, beat-heavy tracks as can be found in our music collection. The result being that we have exposed him to a wide array of adult-oriented tunes such as Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," Kanye West's "Gold Digger," Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," and Outkast's "Hey Ya." We have gotten him to make a gesture akin to the shaking of a Polaroid picture, yes, but at what price? Some of Andre 3000's lyrics are a bit . . . sensual, shall we say? Of course, he doesn't really understand what he hears, which is the main reason we've used to justify our actions.

In our defense, he does seem to understand the word "dance" and when we ask him to dance, he graciously obliges with a mile-wide grin, a shuffling of his feet, and an ebullient laugh. Although sometimes I feel as though we are treating like him a trained monkey. "Dance, monkey, dance!" Again, convincing our son to engage in behavior for our amusement more than anything else.

But I digress.

He is getting to be a pretty good little dancer. Though I would say he is not as rhythmic yet as that baby in the YouTube video, the one shaking it to Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)." Side note: how many parents are out there at this very moment, trying to get their own child to dance feverishly to some trendy, famous pop tune in the hopes of capturing the same type of magic on video tape and translating it into instant Internet notoriety?

Not that we are. That's not what I meant.

Recently, while driving with my son in his car seat in the back with my iPod set to shuffle, Tenacious D's "Tribute" started playing. I thought to myself, A kid could really dig this song. Visions of my son schooling the other kids in the neighborhood with his coolness and his knowledge of all things hipster were quickly shattered, though, when I realized (and how could I forget) that the D's lyrics are a veritable cornucopia of inventive profanity, that Rage and Jables are indeed notorious pottymouths (which is, sort of, half the point).

This incident reminded me that also, once, in the early months of our son's life, we watched the brilliant, hilarious Ricky Gervais stand-up special, Out of England, with the wee one laying on the couch beside us. Between peals of laughter, and wiping away the accompanying tears, we noted the very benefit of his lack of understanding. The inappropriate references in that routine would've raised a world of questions which neither one of us would be prepared to answer.

At some point, this will certainly change. We will have to be more selective about the material to which we expose him. That day is rapidly approaching. He is, in fact, already repeating certain things he hears, evidenced by the newest addition to his vocabulary, "ba pa," in reference to Dora the Explorer's magical backpack ("Yum, yum, yum, delicioso!").

Perhaps some day in the future, a band like the D will seem almost tame, quaint, no longer highly objectionable or inappropriate for our son's delicate ears, in comparison to some wild new form of dark, gothic, satanic death metal that he brings home. Or some form of polka. I shudder to think . . .

Until then, I suppose I need to investigate if Raffi still records music.

1 comment:

  1. I am very interested in you giving me a list of songs to make a mix! I am highly resistant to most baby-specific music.