So… Monki is 6 months old. About 9 months ago, I wrote about having a short time where my likes could totally overwrite hers, and that as she grew, she’d start to develop her own tastes and preferences.
I just didn’t expect it to start so soon.
Case in point is music. Before she was born, I made playlist of music I liked which I thought she might like, too. Granted, it’s more than 500 songs long and has been in constant revision since the beginning, but it was an attempt. It was in rotation before she was born and after, anytime there was silence, I would throw on this playlist, even just as background.
Now, my own musical tastes run counter to mainstream to be sure, and can, at times, be considered depressing. Even among hipsters, who all like the same unknown things, my tastes are odd. Several years ago, I was in England with some friends and we were all about to go out when someone said that a certain other person (the name escapes me now) would be at the party and that I should meet them. When I asked why, I was told “because they like Marillion, too.” Even my dear friend Gail, when we were chatting about Monki a few weeks ago, extolled me not to “play Harry Chapin or Fish.” Needless to say, they are all on the playlist. As are Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello, David Bowie and Billy Joel – among others.
So now we get to reality. From the time she was about 3 months old, we’d play the Muppets “Mahna Mahna” for her repeatedly. Sometimes 8 or 10 times at a go and she loved it. It started with us singing it to her and them we moved to YouTube clips. But after a while, there’s only so much you can take so I started listening to other music and videos while she was in the room. At the same time, I read one of those “life hack” things about baby care that said you should have a song you can sing to your child when they are fussy and they’ll associate the song with calming down. The song I picked? American Pie by Don McLean. Why? I knew all the words and it was fairly long so she would have time to calm down if agitated about something.
It worked. If she’s crying, all I have to do is sing “Bye, bye, miss American pie…” in my horrible singing voice and she stops. So I added the video to our rotation. Then, contrary to Gail’s advice, I added two more songs I knew by heart, “Taxi” and “W*O*L*D” by Chapin, to the singing list and those went okay. Then I tried to add “Cats in the Cradle” and something happened – It didn’t work. Turns out our little Monki was starting to get her own ideas about what she liked and what she didn’t (and no comments about her good taste!).
Then, when I was in Portugal, Rasa said Monki had enjoyed watching “Let it Go” from Frozen. Interesting. Maybe Disney was the way to go, so I found a Disney song playlist on YouTube and started it up. Very little reaction, some outright crying, and then “Let it Go” came on and a big grin spread across her face and her legs started kicking. She was happy and dancing. So that entered into our video rotation.
So far so good. She liked some kids’ music and some music we liked so that was okay. Then one day I put on “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars. Now, I’m not a big fan of the song necessarily, but I was watching a fan made video where they had edited together some 60 or so classic dance films. Monki started screaming with laughter. She loved it. She was transfixed. So I thought maybe she’s loving the old style dance scenes (I’d shown her some Singin’ in the Rain previously) but I wanted to check. So I put on the original music video of the song. Same reaction. Same reaction when she heard the opening of “Let it Go,” too.
So I created a YouTube playlist of Monki’s Music (that’s it below) for us to put on whenever she gets fussy and needs her tunes. I’m sure over time there will be songs added and removed as she begins to like and dislike other things – feel free to pop in from time to time and see what she’s listening to, or better yet, suggest some songs she might like. So far, her tastes are a bit all over the map, but that’s okay, so are mine. I know when I was a kid, say around 4 or 5, I would sing “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen and now, I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard the song. I also know I have a love for show tunes and folk music (hello, Kingston Trio) from growing up and being influenced by my parents. My own love of David Bowie came from a 70s variety TV show and my Harry Chapin fascination (beyond the hits) came from a “how to write song lyrics” book in 1984. Other people in my life have influenced my musical tastes and I’m sure the same will happen to her.
So yeah. I knew this day would come. Just didn’t think it would hit before her first birthday.
Besides… I still have TV and movies and books and comics I can share with her. And just maybe she’ll let her old man have a moment or two here and there where we can listen to some of my songs and she’ll still sing along.