As I sit here working, I’m contentedly bopping my head along to the music playing in the kitchen. All seems normal and good, until I fully listen and realize I’m getting my jam on to Yo Gabba Gabba’s Hold Still. And there’s not a kid in sight. (Don’t worry, they’re around here somewhere.)
Perhaps the more alarming aspect of this statement is that I’m completely fine with it. I’ve grown accustomed to children’s music. In fact, I even enjoy it for short stints. I am not embarrassed to admit this. (OK, not very embarrassed.)
But not everyone is so lucky to have my weak and impressionable flexible and accommodating nature, which allows me to cheerily sing along to The Laurie Berkner Band. I’m married to a music fanatic who loves a wide range of music from hip hop to folk rock to jazz to metal. His tastes are eclectic, but they do not include kid bop.
For example, on a recent jaunt, he switched the moppet mix that constantly streams in my car to random shuffle in the hopes of hearing some “normal” tunes on the drive.
First song, a rousing recording of kids singing Ain’t No Bugs On Me, which Connor immediately joined in on, making it impossible to skip.
Next came Sleigh Bells Ring (this one really got me giggling, as he is not too fond of holiday jingles even on December 25) and Ona happily shrieking at the first note. Trapped again.
But he patiently sat through both, and when the next children’s title popped up (which of course it did) he quickly skipped it before either child noticed and lucked out with a track from The Black Keys. But not before we both had a good laugh.
I suppose I get the aversion. Children’s music has been labeled as overly peppy, annoyingly catchy and totally devoid of any artistic merit. Which may be true from a grownup perspective but let’s face it, most kids (and many adults) love it. There must be a reason it resonates.
Perhaps it is the lively, upbeat (or lullaby-like soothing) nature of the songs. Or the topics, which are all the major themes of youngsters’ lives right now: loosing teeth, starting school, making friends, holidays, birthdays, bedtime, siblings, making mistakes, making choices, growing, food, playing, camping, sports, toys, games, dinosaurs, space, monsters, even puppy love.
The kids hear the words and realize they are not alone in all this. Others out there have the same interests and struggles and vivid imaginations. On the same vein, I am suddenly immersed in kid-important issues, making it easier for me to remember what’s going on in those beautiful brains and hearts.
Of course, there is also the valuable learning hidden between the notes. I try to appreciate education in any disguise. Even if they deny it when asked directly, most kids love practicing skills like counting, rhyming, memorization and alliteration.
And let’s be honest, on days when my brain is mush and it’s school carpool time, there’s a certain peace and satisfaction in putting on the kiddo’s favorites and letting us all take in some sweet life lessons and silly scenarios through the sounds of music. I can focus my mind on driving and not playing word games or looking for orange cars.
Maybe that’s why I love my kid bop. It’s yet another friend lending a helping hand in my parenting realm.
The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.