Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Auntie Chronicles: Music to Soothe (?) the Young Savage

Parenting Advice for People Who Aren't Parents
I have 10 or so nieces and nephews. Only one of them is actually related to me. The rest just know me as Auntie Catfish. As a former live-in auntie and former elementary school teacher, I've acquired a lot of kid-centric knowledge. Some of my friends have said, you should write a book for people who have to deal with kids but don't know how (either new parents or the friends of new parents). I don't think anyone would actually want to read that book - but I do have some stuff to share (Ballzy - this is for you!). This particular post has nothing to do with green living, but future posts will, as the young parents I know are greatly concerned with having an earth to leave their kids.

But let's just cut to the chase, shall we. The real reason that many singletons don't want to hang out with their best friends who now have a two-year-old ...

Many of the world's young and childless are hesitant to be around their parentish friends because they think it will mean endless rounds of singing "Where's Jeff?" along with those annoying Wiggles while talking about poop. And yes, that has been known to happen. However, kids are not necessarily wired to want to listen to Elmo.

My nephew (the actual one, and the one with whom I lived when he was a baby) who I will call H, was exposed to lots of cool music from a young age. Yes, he did like the Wiggles. Among his all-time favorite songs , however, were also "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks, "Gigantic" by the Pixies, and almost anything by the White Stripes. My first graders had DEAD (Drop Everything And Dance) time, and we all jumped around to Jack and Meg playing "Seven Nation Army." By second grade, their song book included "Ring of Fire" and "Big Yellow Taxi."

So, next time you have to baby-sit for your friends' seven-month old, here's a track list of songs that aren't for kids, but that kids love:

Wind Up (for riling up your friends' kids right before your friends get home from their date, or for dancing around when someone's CRANKY)

  • Kids, by MGMT
  • The Bleeding Heart Show, by The New Pornographers
  • Gigantic, The Pixies
  • Buddy Holly, Weezer
  • Heroes and Villains, The Beach Boys
  • It's Oh So Quiet, Bjork
  • Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell
  • Sea Lion Woman, Feist
  • To Zion, Lauryn Hill
  • Lights, Journey
  • Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash

Wind Down (Time to calm down and take a nap)

  • Buckets of Rain, Bob Dylan (when I was little I thought Dylan actually was a children's artist because of this song)
  • White Winter Hymnal, Fleet Foxes
  • We Love our Children, Kanenhi:Io
  • Galileo, The Indigo Girls
  • We're Going to Be Friends, The White Stripes
  • Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
  • Send In the Clowns, Judy Collins
  • Falling Slowly, The Swell Season
  • The Rainbow Connection, Sarah McLachlan
  • Mad World, Donnie Darko soundtrack

A word about The White Stripes: Kids love 'em. I cannot stress this enough. Don't know what do when your friend says: "Can you watch my three-year-old while I run to Starbucks, or I'm going to go bat-crap crazy staying in the house all day?" - and being a nice person, you agree? Well, just bring Icky Thump with you, put it on the stereo, and dance around. My personal opinion is, kids can't get enough of Meg's thunderous drumming.

Have a non-kids song the kids in your life really like? Post it in the comments below.

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