I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

I’ve been torn lately. My daughter isn’t a mimic (yet?) and so doesn’t run around repeating any of the terrible things we say. I like to think it’s because we don’t call each other (or any one else) names except of the occasional douchecanoe reserved for the days when the world is against us. Fortunately we’re in this together because I can’t imagine taking kindly to being called a douchecanoe myself.

She must not hear (or care about) words at school that we’d rather she not bring home. There seems to be a surprising lack of name calling. On the other hand, RR’s penchant for playing alone, on a hill, with a piece of grass, for an hour might contribute to her lack of verbal venom. She does mimic all sort of things we had no idea were were saying, like “that’s deyiteful, mama!” As background noise, we must be pretty pleasant folks.

Enter her love for music. I’m a good DJ, you all. I am not spinning NWA (are they still a thing?). She hears plenty of Singing in the Rain, folk music, and instrumental band pieces. She also hears her fair share of clean-mouthed pop. In fact, it never occurred to me to actually listen to the lyrics because they just seem to wash over her. But you can’t help but hear the lyrics in Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. Which is her favorite song. Surely you are wondering how it got that way in the first place and that story is neither here nor there. The fact is, she began asking for it by name after only one viewing. And frankly, since I didn’t think she could differentiate the lyrics, I was unconcerned.

But then she mimicked. Not the words, but the dancing. She watches Macklemore with an intensity that would scare off Norman Bates. She tries to copy his every move (albeit a few beats late). She lights up with joy. But if she’s copying his dancing, what ELSE will she be copying? I’m pretty sure no one is going to be okay with her saying “I’m gonna rock that mothafucker” in reference to her stained ladybug shirt. No, make that VERY sure.

Back to Singing in the Rain, kid.

10 Responses

  1. Ha! I remember the first time our son used “damnit” correctly. He was building LEGOs, and they fell over, and he said “DAMNIT.” He was three. We were proud, and also horrified. That was when we cleaned up our language.

    We kept it clean for a few years while the kids were too young to know better than to watch what they were saying. Now that they are 7 and 9, we listen to K’naan (whom our daughter requests, and who says “fuck” and “nigga”). We’ve talked to them about bad words, tell them we use them sometimes, and tell them that we know when it is appropriate and when it is not to say them. They, on the other hand, are still to young to make that distinction, so they should not be using these words yet. They seem okay with that. Now what they’re doing when we’re not around? Who knows.

    • My greatest fear is that she’ll lean over and whisper to some impresionable friend a line of lyrics that, when repeated, will kill that child’s parents straight away. And then we’ll have an orphan on our hands.

  2. I made the mistake of listening to whatever I wanted, thinking that I was exposing her to good music and not paying attention to lyrics. My better half started questioning exactly how loudly I was playing Modest Mouse with some questionable lyrics and insisting I turn it down. Then one day, she came to us with her ipod, complaining that the Vampire Weekend album her father loaded on there was ‘not appropriate’. After realizing it was good music, she approached us with a deal – if she ignored the inappropriate language, could she please listen to it? Her new favorite song that she discovered is Lily Allen’s “F**k You”, which is undeniably catchy. So help me if she turns any of her friends onto it (probably a given) I am so pretending I know nothing about it and I’m going to say it’s in my itunes because she put it there.
    And that is how we deal with that. We all just agree to look the other way.

    • I like the plausible deniability approach paired with Andrea’s not old enough to exercise good judgment tactic. We’ll go far, friends, far indeed.

  3. Ummmm did I ever tell you about the time we were listening to FUN’s “we are young” with thing one in the car? We had no idea she could follow along with the lyrics (she usually sings along in harmony but gets all the lyrics completely wrong) so imagine our surprise when the chorus came and we hear, loud and clear as day from the back seat:

    “So if by the time the bar closes, and you feel like falling DOWN, I’ll carry you home tonight”

    We were mortified and also I’m not sure I have ever laughed that hard ever. Song was banished then and there.

  4. The song that struck the bean to the core of his soul is “let’s have a kiki.” to the SOUL. We watched the video maybe four times, months ago, and he still will run into the kitchen to yell, wanna have a kiki! Lock the doors! I even got him to agree to come into a party the other day by explaining that this WAS a kiki. But as much as I’d love to see if he’ll do the dance, that same problematic word presents itself….

  5. Just had this conversation with my wife ten minutes ago LOL…my son said dammit tonight when he was playing super Mario because there were no green mushrooms.
    ..he is 4….I told her he could have said worse and we just laughed it off…but his favorite song is moves like jagger…yeah, not such good words there either… 🙂

  6. Bug is exceedingly fond of (in addition to RUS – which always makes me think of ROUS) old-school Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Those dudes are surprisingly salacious. At least I think people know what song he’s singing off-key when he starts in on “And when I get home to you… you’re gonna give me everyTHIIIIIIING”.

  7. I think I was two, or maybe three, when I particularly enjoyed singing “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. So there’s that. (And remind me sometime and I’ll tell you the story about the shovel.) My friend said that she realized she needed to edit her ipod a little before putting it on shuffle when she heard her four-year-old (maybe three? I don’t remember) wandering around the house singing about “a little bag of cocaine, a little bag of cocaine”.

  8. I spent a summer teaching art to young kids the year Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” was THE summer song. Lots of conversations with six year olds about booty shaking: culturally appropriate expression of joy v. likely to get Ms. M. fired from her job. And discussion of why we were not allowed to say “let the mother burn” in the classroom. I also had a student move seamlessly from a demonstration of whatever specific form of traditional Chinese dancing she was learning to “dancing like Brittney Spears,” which included some really impressive floor work.

    So after one round of “Hot in Herre” we are now listening to “Deportee” on the 70s folk and political soul that I made for the child.

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