I vividly remember standing in Rainbow Records with my dad and asking him to buy me my very first tape. I handed him the one I desperately wanted. He looked at it. He looked at me. He asked, “Do you know what ‘virgin’ means?” I didn’t, and I knew that I wasn’t supposed to if I wanted to walk out of the store with that glorious Madonna music. So I said a simple, “No.” He shrugged and walked over to the counter to buy it for me. I was in heaven and it was the beginning of years spent dancing, singing and developing a real passion for music.
Fast forward twenty-some odd years and I have two little boys who adore music and have an amazing aptitude for it. We listen to music around the clock in our house—kids’ CDs, musical soundtracks, top 40 radio, you name it. At 4 years old, Big knows the words to more songs than my husband does.
Within a few lines Big can often identify the artist. It’s not uncommon to hear him shout, “Mom, it’s John Mayer!” or “Is this Maroon 5 or Daughtry?” The other day when I got home from work he came running up to me glowing, “Mommy, we heard Miley Cyrus today! She must have been on vacation because she hasn’t been on the radio in awhile.”
So the other day when we were at my parents’ house and within two notes he shouted, “I love this song!” it was no surprise that my mom gave her musically gifted grandson her CD to borrow. The song? Lady Antebellum’s “I Need You Now”.
As we listened to the CD in the car, my inquisitive little guy asked a perfectly logical question, “Mommy, what does ‘drunk’ mean?” I scrambled to answer quickly and calmly because I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. “Tired.”
It certainly seemed like a logical answer at the time. But now I find myself questioning my response. I probably should have considered the fact that I was talking to a sponge. Should I have been a bit more honest? Should I have just ignored him and changed the subject? Should I have been listening to Radio Disney (which, I have since learned has terrible AM reception and is rather sassy too)?
I haven’t come up with an answer, but I figure I better consider how I’ll handle this the next time it happens. I hate to stop listening to the radio because I love the way Big comments on the beats he hears and the guitar riffs he loves (Green Day is his favorite). There’s nothing better than looking in my review mirror and seeing his eyes light up as he discovers he loves a new song.
No, I haven’t figured out the answer…yet. So for now, each time I send Big off to school, I just cross my fingers that he doesn’t tell the teacher he’s too drunk to ride the tricycles.
They are little sponges and I think the way you answer (casually, uptight or too detailed) probably tells them more about the meaning than any definition you use. Perhaps you could emphasize the music and insert your own words with them to make it meaningful to them. What do you think?
I love that music is such a part of your life. When I was growing up mom listened to Frank Sinatra while puttering around the house and my dad filled our home with show tunes (esp. Rogers and Hammerstein) on the weekends. I, too, loved having music fill our lives. These days we enjoy Kenny Chesney and all the new digital Beatles’ music. We’ll have to get Big and Little joining in with us!
So true, you can’t under-estimate the power of non-verbal communication. There have definitely been many songs that Big has created his own words to — like Sandwich You Need to Say, by John Mayer — so it’s worth a shot!