Pressure

Dear Kids,

I never realized how inappropriate most music is for kids, not until I had kids and wanted to give them music to which to listen. I’m surprised at how many of my favorites songs contain swears and references to subjects that are way over your toddler heads, so I’m in the process of making a list of the songs from my music collection that would be appropriate for you. For example, I think Bing Crosby’s “Swinging on a Star” and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” would both be good. Not every song will be so old-fashioned (or so charming). I hope to put together a good mix of styles. And the list will grow as we go, not only because my collection is always increasing, but because you’re growing, too.

Of course, one of Marshall’s favorite songs right now is Billy Joel’s “Pressure,” and it is totally inappropriate for his age group. What it has going for it, though, is that it’s catchy and it has a one-word, oft-repeated hook. When that song is playing, we run around and around the piano and around the coffee table, and then into the dining room and around the dining-room table, and whenever Billy gets to the chorus, we shout “Preshah!” Running around like this is Marshall’s idea of dancing. And if I get tired and sit on the couch, he grabs my hand and says, “Mommy dance!” He’s so insistent. So I get up and dance around and around again. Livia likes to play, too. Her “Preshah!” sounds more like “DAH-da!,” but she gives it her all, and she giggles like mad as I chase her around the piano.

I have seen several blog posts recently about choosing music for children. The parents writing these posts are more concerned with the artistic value of the songs, and their kids are typically older than you, but the feeling of anxiety is the same. We parents all want to introduce our children to good music. And if our kids should grow up to like bad music, why, then we will be to blame, right? So we feel like we must choose carefully. Who would have thought that something as simple as a love of music could lead to so much…pressure!

I guess if I always used appropriateness as my only guide in picking music, I would never have played “Pressure” for you that first time, and we would have missed out on one of our best games. You kids can’t possibly understand the lyrics of the song right now, but you don’t need to get the lyrics to get the music. Understanding will come later. For now, we just need music, because music is fun. Thanks for reminding me.

I’ll keep making my list, simply because we still need a collection of songs for your iPod. I’ll avoid the songs with lyrics that are scary or offensive, but otherwise I’m not going to worry too much. I’m just going to give you the music that I love and hope that you love it, too. The pressure is off, and “Pressure” is on!

Love,

Mom

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