I love her imagination

Laurel: “The trees are singing.”
Me: “What are they singing?”
Laurel: “A star song.”
Me: “How does it go?”
Laurel: (singing) “The stars are beautiful…”
Me: “That’s a nice song. Do trees like stars?”
Laurel: “Yes.”
Me: “Why?”
Laurel: “Because they’re yummy.”
Me: “What do stars taste like?”
Laurel: “Like windchimes.”

— Beth

Hey, Mr. DJ, Put a Record On

With two music lovers for parents (and an occasional music journalist for a mom), it was inevitable that Laurel would both be exposed to music early on, and that she would develop opinions about that music.

She already has definite likes and dislikes. Take, for example, my favorite music: heavy metal. She doesn’t like it. Anytime it’s on, she says, “I don’t like that song, Mommy.” She likes Devin’s favorite music (electronic/industrial, quiet folk and jazz) much more, or at least she complains about it less. In particular, she danced with Devin last week to VNV Nation’s “Kingdom,” and frequently requests a high-paced electronic dance song (from a graphic demo, I think) that they call “The F Song.”

When we’re in the car, Laurel frequently asks to hear “talking,” meaning NPR, but I’m nudging her toward hearing more music. The problem with music on the radio is that you can’t decide what you’re going to hear from moment to moment, aside from switching radio stations, and there’s a lot of terrible music on it. So there’s a lot of, “I don’t like that song, Mommy. I want to hear talking.”

But Laurel is warming up to some of it. There have been two big hits so far this year, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and Fun’s “We Are Young.” Perhaps through some combination of the fact that they’re really catchy and they’re on the radio constantly, Laurel has grown to love both of them (particularly the Gotye) and asks to hear them. And, because they’re on the radio every 10 seconds, they seem to come on as soon as she asks for them. With the Gotye, she always wants to know “when will the lady part come?” and with Fun, she requests that we go back to the chorus and hear it over and over. Then I get to explain to her how we can’t fast-forward or rewind songs playing on the radio.

Of course, partly she comes to love songs through hearing them again and again. I got her a music player for her birthday that I loaded with songs I thought she’d like, but the one she listens to the most is Vashti Bunyan’s “Diamond Day,” which she likes because I used it in a video I made of her playing at the park a couple of years ago. She calls it “the la la song” for some obvious reasons.

We’ve been showing her Muppets videos here and there. By far her favorite so far is “Mahna Mahna.” We even sang our own version.

Since she likes “talking” so much, I added a local R&B/hip-hop station to our radio presets, thinking that maybe she’d like rapping. And she seems to: we were listening the other day and, although I was tuning it out, Laurel said, “I like this song.” It turned out to be some Nicki Minaj speed-rapping. At least it was cleaned up for radio.

— Beth