Monday, April 30, 2012

On a Scale of Cool-to-Parents

We just are so inherently cool.

No, not really. I wish.

I love music, cool or uncool, especially music with singing. Whatever mood I’m in, I sing along, wholeheartedly and with abandon. (Possibly this is why S. was embarrassed when I sang “Gray Squirrel” on the overnight???)

And my moods run the gamut—I sing Broadway musicals, I sing Erasure (my version of bubblegum pop), I sing Beethoven’s Wig with the kids, I sing folk songs like crazy. I’ll sing all the parts of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Oh, yes, it can be done.

Lately, I’ve really been into spirituals. As I told a friend, when kids constantly bring “surprises” into your life, sometimes a good round of “The Great Amen” or “Come Unto Me” really hits the spot.

This all began when Big A. and I met in college. And then there was much grunge music.

I guess you could say I had a lot of anger in college and all the flannel-wearing, screaming kids in Seattle came along at just the right time. Plus, since Big A. and my college roommate really ARE way cool, we had access to enough obscure angry, screaming bands to make sure we never ran out of music for moshing. We were cool, collectively. Well, musically, at least.

Little A. has now decided he likes “loud” songs. Big A. blames me. I don’t know what he’s talking about—I’m not the one who put Shriekback’s “Nemesis” on a mix and played it in the car with the kids.

And that’s the rub…are we cool? Or are we parents? Can we be musically cool parents?

Everyone’s probably seen the adorable video of the three kids singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I love it. Way cool! But I admit to chickening out when the song comes on in our car. Big A. and I will be singing along happily, the kids grooving, and then,
Mama, I just k—
“Look, kids! A digger putting dirt in a truck!”
Put a gu—
“Ooo—did you see that colorful bird?”
Pulled my trigg—
“No, it’s there. Just look over there.”

I don’t, do not, firmly DO NOT believe in sheltering kids from art of any kind, so this is a bit out of character for  me. When S. was two years old and asked what happened to Nemo’s mom, I took a deep breath and said, “The big fish ate her.” She was cool with that. I did it—I am a brave, cool mom. Sometimes.

Sometimes I’m a chicken mom. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that, to my innocent kids, none of it means much more than “Bismillah” or “scaramouche” do—or “parthenogenesis” for that matter. But the way they’re growing these days, I’m just waiting for one of them to explain parthenogenesis to me.

In the end, where do we fall on the scale of Cool-to-Parents right now? Well, I’m doing my cool-mom-chicken-mom dance. “Nemesis” is fine, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is fun with distractions, but no Pearl Jam or Violent Femmes or Too Much Joy or Dead Milkmen…yet. As Jimmy Buffet sings, “And some of the things I’ve seen, Maybe [they] won’t have to see.”

And maybe we’ll influence their taste for the good. Maybe they’ll discover, all on their own, that if you’re trying THAT hard to describe a girl without being disrespectful then you probably ARE disrespecting her, that “loving” and “f**king” are not synonyms, and that no one should listen to anyone who suggests that a girl “do the Helen Keller.”

Okay, I am so totally uncool.

On the bright side, Little A. really liked “Enter Sandman” when it came on the “oldies” station the other night—that’ll have to hold them for now.

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