Well, at least that’s the way I imagine it if I had a national presence on the mommy blog scene. But I digress. My six-year-old has been a music fan since even before Day One. Pregnant, if I blasted the music in my car he would kick. Personally, I hate kids music (especially kids singing cover versions of “real” songs). So, I’ve never played it. That’s why I have things like fabulous video footage of Jacob as a two-year-old singing Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman” in the bath tub. He sang his first Elvis song at three. When he started guitar at age five, his teacher asked him went page by page through the music book trying to find a kids song that Jacob could identify. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat?” Nope. “Three Blind Mice?” Nyet. I had to sheepishly inform his instructor that his was a futile effort. Hence, last year, Jacob performed Ozzy Osbourne’s “Iron Man” on the electric guitar for the kindergarten talent show. ‘Wild Thing” is his signature song.
That prenatal kicking was always a reaction to Guns n’Roses. Which may explain the following bedtime request from the other night…
Jacob: Sing songs.
Me: Sing songs?!?!?! (he hasn’t requested I sing songs to him for well over a year)
Jacob: No. Wait. Don’t sing songs. Play music. Can you download “Welcome to the Jungle?” It’s by Guns n’ Roses. It’s heavy metal.
In addition to his heavy metal repetoire, he’s recently added in rap. This was initially my fault for playing the Rhianna/Eminem song “Love the Way You Lie” in unedited version when I thought he was asleep in the car. I listened, singing along, having seen that he was limp in his car seat with his eyes closed. But, sucker! I fell for it hard. The song ends and Jacob says “they said “fuck” in your song” with a huge smile on his face. Busted.
That was that for a while until his babysitter played “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys for him recently. He reported that it has the word “fuck” in it, but she let him listen to it anyways (turns out it’s actually not in the song). He then requested I download the song so we could listen to it in the car. A big fan of the song, I figured why not. So I did and we did. After listening to it a few times in a row at full volume and with the bass cranked, he asked that I turn it down to talk. “They’re saying the “f” word, but they don’t mean it in the bad way,” he explained. “What do you mean,” I asked. He explained that “Well, they’re saying the “f” word but it’s because it goes with the song.” “Like the style?” I said. “Yeah, it’s like the style. It’s rap. So they’re saying the word but they don’t mean it in that way, it’s just that it goes with the music they’re singing. But it’s still kind of stupid to say it.”
It was then I decided that I would let him listen to carefully curated songs with swear words in them, even though he’s a little guy. Back on the playlist? “Love the Way You Lie.” He doesn’t understand what they’re talking about in the song, he just really loves the way it sounds as music. And he doesn’t even blink anymore at the “f” word, nor has he started using it. Now, will I play this music when he has friends in the car, or his younger brother? Of course not. Is gangsta rap in his immediate future? Nope. PG-13 movies and TV shows? Not even a chance. But do I love that he gets and appreciates this music, and we can listen to it together? Fuck yeah I do.