The ‘nostalgia’ category

Childhood Itself

August 11th, 2016

Record store

Phoebe in the record store near our house

I take my daughters to a music class for one-year olds called Kinderclass. If you’ve never been, you are really missing out, my friend. There’s nothing like a marching band of illiterate toddlers first thing in the morning. 

To be fair, my daughters have no idea what’s going on. They’re just psyched to have a whole new slew of electric outlets to molest once a week. I am confident that they are going to be hot lady general contractors one day. Probably not musicians, though.

The music class consists of 45-second activities to keep toddler attention spans humming along. We play with rattles, drums, cars, trucks, airplanes, stuffed animals, and plastic bananas (a cruel joke to my little banana-lovers). Between every activity we quickly wipe all the baby saliva off each “instrument” if we have little ones who like to put things in their mouth. Miss Katie will say “Does anyone need a wet wipe?” and then immediately hand them in my direction with a look that rides a fine line between pity and disdain.

We’ve been to about six classes so far, and the girls have not yet shown any interest in music nor indication that they get the music aspect of it. Their favorite part of the class is when we turn the lights off and all the “stars” come out. We’re supposed to grab our little one (L.O.s—what the mommy bloggers call kids, apparently) and cuddle them while gazing up at the neon blue LED light show.

My kids, though, get very energized by the calming effect of the dark room and the mellow classical music, and generally start rushing around the room, shrieking like tiny little wild stallions.

Like all children, though, they do love music. For Christmas last year, my mom gave us a record player, and we’ve been slowly collecting old records that remind me of being little in the ’70s—James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, CSN and also CSNY. These are records I grew up listening on a turntable, and it gives me intense pleasure to play them for my daughters in the same exact way.

Yes, the sound quality is terrible. Yes, you have to flip the record every handful of songs. Yes, they easily get scratched and then are annoying forever. But, all of those things are part of the experience of listening to records. You don’t just put a record on and let it drone into the background. You really have to listen to a record, and give it respect. You have to choose carefully, and commit to the whole thing—or at least one side.

By the time my daughters are old enough to have opinions about music, there will probably be a whole new genre going on that we can’t even imagine yet. Something very digitized, I bet. To them, these old 70s records will be embarrassing oldies.  To me, they are childhood itself.

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