My kid is seriously getting into music. She joined the choir, and she discovered iTunes.
We are thrilled about both things. Seeing her in that group of little kids, all singing away, is great. However, as much as I'd like to think I've birthed the next Adele, my kid can't sing. She is tone deaf. Her pitch has Ceased to Be, if it ever lived at all.
Still, it's all good. We wear earmuffs to church and smile and nod.
Now, about the iTunes thing: my husband and I are huge music lovers. We used to go to concerts all the time, in the era Before Kid. Back in the day, I'd throw on my ripped jeans and safety pins and go and see Iggy Pop, or the Ramones, or David Bowie. For Hub, the band of choice was always E-Street. Bruuuuuuuuuuce!
So, I'm happy to listen to real, adult music with my child. She loves Beyonce, and Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga, so our music tastes don't quite mesh, but again: it's all good.
The problem comes when I actually listened to the lyrics of some of the songs out there. In fact, some of the bubble gummiest, poppiest songs are all about drinking and going to parties way after hours and having a menage a trois while you're at it. I'm looking at you, Ke$ha.
Now, I'm not a hater, hatin on Ke$ha. Obviously it's working for her. However, it's a tough choice to make: Allow kid to listen to that song or Don't allow. My daughter, after all, is only in second grade!
So, should I tell her, There's no way you're going to listen to that noise? or do I let her listen to only the clean versions? And what, exactly, is the clean version of a song called "Promiscuous?"
The choice should seem simple: protect my kid at all costs. Here's the thing though. When I was in seventh grade, my parents listened to nothing but classical music. (That's not quite true, we did have that one Simon and Garfunkel album from Mom's beatnik phase.)
As a result, I listened to nothing but classical music. And, one day, in Music class, the cool music teacher handed out crossword puzzles all about rock musicians and songs by Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd....
I didn't know the answer to a single clue. Not one. I turned in a blank paper. And I've never forgotten that.
So, I'd like her to be able to listen to music, the kind her friends all seem to have on their iPods. I've insisted on a few rules: Stick with the clean versions, stay away from songs that glorify abusive behavior, and approach everything with a sensible point of view.
My daughter asked me, after I had to ban a certain song from her playlist, "Mommy, why do so many songs have bad words in them?"
"I don't know, sweetie," I replied. "I just don't know."