Changing Music

By Beck

I lost my mp3 player recently – where could it have gone? I really don’t know – and it’s surprising to me how much I’ve missed it. I only use it once a day, while I’m falling asleep at night, and I certainly don’t listen for very long – even without babies, I still fall asleep quickly, maybe from the residual exhaustion of having had three babies in five years, the tired I’ll carry in my bones until the day I die. But wow, I’ve been missing it, the chance to listen for even a few minutes to music that I like, and not just children’s music or stuff that’s g-rated enough to play around my kids.

We don’t play our music much around the kids, something we decided on years before we had actual human children. Not only does the music being played have to be g-rated, it also has to reflect the right attitudes – and suddenly I’m getting a little bit more of an insight into why I might collapse exhausted into bed at nine each night. Wow, that kind of vigilance sounds TIRING…. anyhow. Some nights, I load up my mp3 player with all sorts of songs that I would never, ever play around my kids, and then there it is, the language of the life that I set deliberately behind me. There she is, the girl I was only a decade ago.

A baby – not MY Baby, but a real one, a little one – comes into my oldest child’s class once a week. Her class measures the baby, plays games with her to see how she’s changed, and tonight my mom (who teaches The Girl’s class) brought me pictures from the most recent session. And there she is, my own child, laughing at something with a classmate, her hair thrown back, this moment caught. There she is, this suddenly startlingly almost-adult looking child, this person who moves in her own world for much of the day and returns home with her own private thoughts that will soon find a soundtrack of her own choosing.

The class’s baby, I am told, is getting bigger each week, and is almost sitting up now. Her mother sits against the wall and is only vaguely in the photographs. This story is not about her.

Beck writes at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

20 Responses to Changing Music
  1. Courtney
    November 13, 2008 | 8:11 am

    Amazingly all the things that we shield our kids from change us as well. Sometimes it is for the better and sometimes it is a stressful change that is hard for us to adjust to. I think my kids no matter what have changed me for the better and it is so great to know.

  2. Nowheymama
    November 13, 2008 | 9:25 am

    Scott and I have just recently started to introduce K. to the music of our parents, the first “grown-up” music we both listened to: early Elvis, early Beach Boys, early Beatles. Scott and I remember having those songs on records and cassette tapes given to us by our parents, and now they’re on K’s MP3 player. It’s fun.

  3. Rhonda
    November 13, 2008 | 9:37 am

    Thanks for reminding me that, as Moms, our own lives deserve a soundtrack too.

  4. Chantal
    November 13, 2008 | 11:27 am

    I don’t know why exactly but the end of this post made me want to cry!!! Actually I did tear up. 🙁

  5. Jamie
    November 13, 2008 | 11:54 am

    One minute they are the baby, the next minute they are pointing excitedly at wee ones just a month or two younger than they and chirping “baby!” Then you blink and they are tall and lanky and growing into young adults. How in the world does it happen?

    Before you know it, Beck, you won’t need to reserve your music for the hours after little heads are resting on pillows. Because they’ll be playing their own grown-up music… in the car… that they are driving. (EEK!) Okay, now I’m going to need to borrow your missing MP3 player to get to sleep tonight. 😉

  6. t.allen-mercado
    November 13, 2008 | 12:46 pm

    Interesting. Being artists, it never occurred to us to change up our art or music. We added child-friendly elements, but as an extra not instead of.

    I often read stories of parents who reference their former selves or lives and it intrigues me. It is one of the pluses, I guess, of becoming a parent so young-it all kind of acquiesced. I do miss my former abs though.

    Great thought provoking post.

  7. Heather
    November 13, 2008 | 1:13 pm

    My husband has not changed his music for the kids. Of course he is most often alone in the car so he doesn’t need to censor it. I don’t really mind censoring my music, and sometimes I don’t (radio) and wonder what the kids think of some of those songs.

    Just this morning there was a song on talking about suicide and my son sang along with it. I didn’t like that so much.

    The class ‘baby’ project sounds wonderful. They definitely aren’t babies long.

  8. chelle
    November 13, 2008 | 2:30 pm

    egads you lost your mp3 player!??!? I would be heartbroken. I do not listen long or even everyday but I need that connection to my youth, my carefree, vulgar days!

    Neat baby project at school!

    Look under the bed! ha ha ha

  9. Kelly
    November 13, 2008 | 3:19 pm

    The best we can hope for is that the soundtrack of our lives will be the base for theirs.

    Which is why my kids listen to a lot of the B-52s and U2.

    (Kidding. I’m kidding. We’re all about Laurie Berkner, whom I love, and Veggie Tales at our house.)

  10. Subspace.beacon
    November 13, 2008 | 5:17 pm

    We tune our tv’s satellite receiver to the CBC classical music station ALL DAY LONG. I love the white noise of music, and I need to make sure that I’m not having to explain Gwen Stefani music to my 6 year old. “So that’s right dude, meet me at the bleachers. No principals, no student-teachers.” Stoopid Hollaback girl. Meanwhile I play Ani Difranco on my ipod while I do the dishes.

  11. Heidi
    November 13, 2008 | 5:37 pm

    What I also find so amazing is that we, as kids, had no idea our parents had these secrets, per se.

  12. Veronica
    November 13, 2008 | 5:48 pm

    I lost my iPod a few days ago and blamed the kids, but it turned out to be me, all me. I found it tangled in the covers at the foot of my bed.

  13. Omaha Mama
    November 13, 2008 | 9:21 pm

    Fun project! Sounds like the grow and know your name puppy (yack) that my B has insisted that Santa bring her this year (per the letter she wrote him in AUGUST). Only the baby sounds way more fun to measure and watch grow, though I think my kids will have to settle for the battery-operated dogs.

    The real story here though, the kid-growing-up part. I’ve been feeling it this week, as I watch my kid navigating the social territory of being left out and even a little rejected (He doesn’t want to be my friend!). They grow so fast, that’s for sure.

  14. Becky
    November 13, 2008 | 10:07 pm

    What a fantastic project for those children, to watch a real baby growing before their very eyes. I love that idea. They may learn to appreciate the little things at a young age. What gift! Your mother is a gifted teacher … obviously!

  15. Madge
    November 14, 2008 | 12:06 am

    We are all on the edge of our children’s lives, as much as we are consumed by them.

  16. Jennifer
    November 14, 2008 | 12:23 am

    oh, gosh. you use words well.

  17. Angeline
    November 14, 2008 | 5:35 am

    this is your talent, Beck. How an the lost of an mp3 could end up being a parenting post that is so deep… thank you for the reminder…sometimes, as kids grow, parents ‘had to’ retreat a few steps back…..

  18. Woman in a window
    November 14, 2008 | 10:43 pm

    uuuuuhhh, don’t do that. Don’t say the truth. Dude, live in denial. The story is TOTALLY about us! (brilliant!)

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