06 November 2014

School of Rock

When you’re a parent, you learn time is not on your side. On a regular basis, in a variety of situations, you find yourself thinking, This, like all things, will end. For me, lately, it is driving the Doozer to school. Someday he won’t need me to drive him anywhere. Or won’t want me to drive him anywhere. Which will be worse. So for now, I’ll enjoy it.

And spend that time talking about Legos. Top five Lego Movie Lego sets. And Hobbit Lego sets that he doesn’t own, based on a movie he’s never seen. But they are online and in the Lego catalogue, so obviously he must know all about the backstory of those Lego sets, so I find myself recounting entire plotlines from Peter Jackson epics.

Ad nauseum.

But then we listen to music. This is our time to rock out. It’s one of the things that always takes me back to being a kid myself. Riding in the car with my dad, listening to the oldies station. He knew every word to every song and I know I’ll never forget those times with him.

And now the Doozer and I have our own music in the car tradition. Recently, he requested, nay demanded, to hear more rock-and-roll songs. You know, the ones with the drums and air guitar. Not sure how it started, what song he heard that prompted the request (might’ve been a Green Day tune), but who am I to deny such a request. I will create a playlist of rock songs.

(And yes, no matter what type of guitar we hear, it is always an air guitar. Also, the kid plays a pretty mean one himself.)

He already loved the Foo Fighters and Jack White and Pearl Jam. (Yes, you are correct, I am absolutely doing a fantastic job as a parent. And then some.) But of course I will take this valuable opportunity to further his education and shape his young mind. I am more than happy to be the Lester Bangs to his William Miller.

We’ve never gone in for the kiddie rock, with very few exceptions (Elizabeth Mitchell’s family sing-a-long version of “Three Little Birds” is lovely and one of our favorites). Our kids are going to like what we like. It gets harder the more they comprehend, the better their awareness becomes. And their ability to repeat things. Finding songs without inappropriate lyrics we don’t want him repeating in his first grade classroom can be a challenge. But this is one parenting challenge that we are comfortable with facing. And conquering.

Of course, there are still questions.

“Why does that guy scream like that?” he asks.

That guy is Julian Casablancas.

“It’s a type of singing,” I reply. “The guy from Pearl Jam does that sometimes.”

“Not like this guy,” he says. He seems equally impressed and baffled by the shrieking lyrics of The Strokes’ “Juicebox.”

I mean, really, what 6-year-old sings along to “Fell In Love With a Girl” at top volume? Or Weezer? Or the Stiff Little Fingers? (Thank you, High Fidelity.) The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The MC5. The Darkness. (Of course, it’s easier to hit that falsetto when you’re his age.)

He is particularly impressed with Lenny Kravitz’s shredding skills. So, every morning, we’re taking it all the way back to 1993 in that car as he bounces gleefully, plays his air guitar, and sings along to “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” with a giant grin across his face.

And he’s right. That Lenny Kravitz is pretty damn good at air guitar.

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