My wife and I got in yet another argument.
(wait for it…)
Yeah. Like these arguments don’t happen all the time, right? This time it was about the kids and forcing things that we like, on them. Or, to be more specific, the stuff I allegedly “force” upon them. You know, all sorts of horrible, nasty, reprehensible things…
Or ice cream flavors.
I know, I know…I’m a terrible parent because my kids like the same music as me. Or the same ice cream. Even if it is pistachio. Shit, according to my loving and soft spoken wife, I must’ve engaged in some top secret, Eagle One to Eagle Two, covert ops style brainwashing techniques to get them to be more like me. Good grief.
This all started when my wife overheard our five year old daughter, Emma Grace singing along to a Ducky Boys song. (The Ducky Boys are an awesome punk-n-roll band out of the unequaled Boston music scene! Think, Springsteen meets The Clash, meets The Sex Pistols. Check em out at http://facebook.com/duckyboysboston or http://twitter.com/DuckyBoysBoston) Being that my wife’s favorite thing to listen to is apparently her own voice, as she’s always (say it with me, ALWAYS…) yakking on the phone, she immediately accused me of influencing what the kids listened to. I was kind of blindsided by the whole outburst, because I really had no clue it was suddenly such a deplorable act to plug one’s iPod in and listen to music. The following is an actual (kinda sorta) excerpt from that argument…er, I mean, conversation:
Wife: I can’t believe our five year old daughter knows the words to this stuff…
Me: Are you kidding? This is awesome music! Whaddya want me to do, throw on The Screechies, or whatever they’re called? Or, we could just turn everything off and listen to you talk on the phone nonstop till bedtime. (this was like 11 in the morning…)
Wife: (Glaring at me like Medusa, minus all the snakes and stuff) Ohhh, fa-huck you. And they’re called The Wiggles. And they’re more for kids than this. These guys just said “fuck” for fuck sakes!
Me: Uh, you just said it too, there…
Medusa: (eyes bugging out a bit and blinking a few times before she answers…) You know what the fuck I’m talking about, asshole.
Me: You just said it again. And you called me an asshole.
Wife: (exploding like an extremely high strung volcano) YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE!
Me: Why am I an asshole?
(This is right about the time that our little talks really go south…)
High Strung Volcano: REALLY??? LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW! UGH…ASSHOLE!
Me: Um. I really don’t know. Is it cause I called The Wiggles, The Screechies?
High Strung Volcano: WHA….WHY? HA! (doing that unstable person laugh) HA!! WHY! KEEP IT UP! KEEP IT UP!
She then goes storming off to some other area of the house to yell at whoever or whatever’s there, leaving me scratching my apparently asshole-like head, wondering just what exactly had happened. (Fun Fact: Our wedding song was the Ducky Boys version of the classic “Stand By Me.)
Not wanting to think I pressured Emma into liking anything just because I do, I go over to where she’s smashing her air guitar on an imaginary stage, and I ask her:
Me: Hey, sweetie…why do you like the Ducky Boys?
Emma: (being all serious, standing there holding her smashed up air guitar…) Daddy. They fuckin’ rawk. That’s why.
Me: Ok, honey. They totally do. Let’s just not say the “F” word, ok?
Emma: But Mommy says it all day. Every day. And really loud, too.
Me: I know, my little punker. We’ll save that for another blog though, ok? I don’t think I have enough space here to discuss your Mother’s swearing capabilities. Anyway, why do you like that music?
Emma: (smiling like an angel dropped straight from Heaven) Because it’s so good. It makes me happy and want to jump around and sing and pway gwitar. And you like it too! And you have impeccable taste in music, Daddy. (Ok. Made that last part up a bit.)
Me: So, I don’t force you to like it?
Emma: No, Daddy. I like it because I like it. You force me to eat burgers. I’m a vegtabletarian now.
Me: A what now? Whatever. Anyway, thanks, honey. Have fun mosh pitting with your little brother.
Emma: Three chords and the truth, Daddy. Three chords and the truth.
Ok. so I embellished just a teensy bit there, but the bottom line is that my kids like the same music I do because they get a feeling from it. Just like I did when I was a kid, and still do today. I’m sure part of it is them wanting to please me. But what’s so wrong with that? I’m proud of the fact my kids want to do stuff that pleases me. What parent wouldn’t be? Me, listening to music that I like in front of my kids, is not forcing them to like it too. Even at their young ages, they’re their own little individuals. If they like it, good. If they don’t, they have the tried and true ability to whine, complain, and throw things until I turn it off. I’m personally thrilled that my kids like the same music I do. (Which consists of punk, rock, country, and every sub genre thereof…except Norwegian Death Metal. Those guys scare me just a bit.) They all sing, dance, and try their little hands at playing instruments. Things that are both entertaining and educational. And they don’t need a bunch of creepy middle aged dudes in bright clothes, singing toddler songs to get them to do it either.
Disclaimer: Yes, I do monitor what I play in front of the kids, and what they listen to. I don’t subject them to lyrical content that is negative towards women, or any race, culture, or gender. I won’t play any overtly violent or sexed up songs in front of them either. However, I’m not easily offended if a band drops an “F” bomb here and there. Lord knows we all slip up and say it enough.
To this day, music is such an important part of my life. From listening to it, playing it, seeing it live, and supporting indie bands. I would never force anyone to like, or listen to anything they don’t want to, but if my kids happen to wind up with the same musical tastes as me, so be it. And I would be beyond proud.
Take the time to teach your kids about music. Open up those wonderful roads of creativity and let them take the wheel. Support local bands and musicians. Support school music programs. But most importantly, support your kids if they want to pick up an instrument, or play in a band.
And listen to the Ducky Boys. They fuckin’ rawk.