The Soundtrack of Childhood

The Soundtrack of Childhood

Not much of a thought tonight because the Bean has come down with a very sad stomach ache. The kind which makes what comes out of her very surprising and upsetting. The kind that requires two baths. I’ve been singing songs and rocking her then laying down with her and listening to her night night music. And I started wondering at how the soundtrack of childhood has changed and how hopefully it hasn’t, at least at heart.

I know some are all jazzed when their kids like modest mouse or the Ramones. I think it’s really neat that my friend’s boy loves Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Yes, that is cool. I was pretty pleased when the Bean heard me listening to the Cocteau Twins, said it sounded like fairy music and could she have some for when she went to sleep. And I remember when she was about two and her favorite song was “Everyday is Halloween,” mostly I think because she loved the mmmbop bop bop and the word Halloween and because it made her parents laugh. I didn’t really know any lullabies so she got Science Fiction Double Feature, and Over at the Frankenstein Place from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.She still asks for them when she needs some singing.

But, the Bean also has a selection of Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner and Wendy Gelsanliter with a liberal dose of They Might be Giants. Those were acquired with her foremost in mind and it was a nice bonus that we could listen to them too. Because when she was *very wee* and didn’t like the car we had to listen to the Wiggles or what I could rip from the Baby Einstein DVDs(yes I bought the koolaid and I got a shower out of it too). So when her tastes developed a little and she started wiggling to some music on Noggin that didn’t make me want to put knitting needles in my ears, hey bonus!

I remember when she was a baby and I was finally able to listen to music. I had a bunch of new age Celtic that was soothing for both of us and was pretty decent. Then I tried to add in the soundtrack from my own childhood, Simon and Garfunkel. I had made a mix CD of just about everything because I knew/know the words to nearly every single S&G song there is. The PPD had lifted just enough that I looked forward to singing along again. But it was wrong,wrong utterly wrong. Even knowing all the words and letting my voice out again, it was jarring how completely incorrect that music was for my time with Bean. I listened once through, maybe made it twice but I don’t think so and realized, however much I loved them, the songs were much too sad to be our soundtrack. I pulled out Shonen Knife’s Rock Animals and strapped her in the snuggli to dance around a bit and make both of us laugh. I suspected this meant something then and I know it does now.

Tonight, lying next to her in bed with her snuggled into me and a Linus clutched in her pretty hand listening to one of the CDs I put together for her I was grateful that the music of her childhood and the music of our life together is so happy, so sweet and wonderfully good to hear. It makes me a little sad that my own childhood soundtrack was so sorrowful, but then I suspect that is what helped bring about such a difference when I had to find the music that would weave through her memories.

Here’s the most angsty song she likes right now

Childhood sounds so much better now.

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One comment

  1. Rob Wolf

    I’m sorry Bean wasn’t feeling well, but I loved this post about the music of her childhood. Ree was the same way…I tried to do the whole “Disney songs” and traditional kid’s music thing with her and she was lukewarm about it at best. Then I played “The Bobs” for her and some “They Might Be Giants” and “Oingo Boingo” and she was all over it. The music of her childhood is very, very different than the music of my childhood, but I think that’s a good thing. She’s not being pandered to or fed flavorless mush (musically) just because she’s a kid.
    As she gets older her musical tastes have continued to evolve, so now she’s all about Fischerspooner and Scissor Sisters and she insists that the only possible music you can have playing on a foggy winter morning is Coltrane. *laugh*
    She knows that it’s important to have a soundtrack for major life events and transitions. Music is a big part of her childhood, and it’s really cool music that’s mostly happy.
    It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. 😉

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