She Says… I’m With the DJ

We have a budding DJ in the house.

Owen is obsessed with what he calls “kid music”.* He can distinguish “kid music” from “wadio” in less than 2 seconds, and when the latter is on, he yells out “KID MOOVIC, PLEASE MOMMY!”. He asks nicely because he’s already learned the hard way that that’s the only way he’s going to get what he wants. And when he asks nicely, I try to oblige. When practical.

He knows the name of almost every song on the Music Together CD’s that come as part of the Mommy & Me music classes we do together. Every session of the class comes with 2 copies of the same CD, one for home and one for the car, so you’re never far away from your favorite “kid moovic”. Thankfully Music Together songs are FAR, FAR better than the nasal, shouting kids songs I remember from my youth. But they are still not my favorite thing to listen to. Especially when he wants to hear the same song over and over and over again.

Repetition is learning. So I try to allow it.

But damn. It gets annoying.

So the new “game” Owen likes to play is to ask to listen to his Music Together CD (in the car, in the living room, wherever). Except as soon as I start a song, he says, “‘Nother one song, please!”. He’ll name each song, and then ask for the next one.

Sometimes I oblige, and other times I tell him we have to listen through all of the songs. But he gets such joy out of changing the songs, and it’s really not a battle I need to fight (most days… some days it really might put me in the loony bin, so on those days I put my foot down). So instead of being his personal music-changer, I taught him which buttons on the remote to press to play the next song. He will happily sit on the couch or dance around the living room advancing the songs and calling out the names. It’s a little tricky when he gets to the end of the CD and can’t get it started again, but it gives me about 10 minutes of solid playtime where I can actually get up and leave the room.

I thought to myself: He needs a little cd player that only has a “next”, “previous”, “on” and “off” button with all of his songs on it. That would be awesome.

Enter: the Fisher Price Kid Tough Music Player. It’s exactly that. (No, no one is paying me to talk about this. I wish they were! I’m actually so excited about this toy that I’m writing about it all on my own. I get a few cents through Amazon if you order one from that link, but that’s it).

It’s expensive. But it got good reviews on Amazon and it seems really tough/well-built. And hey, if it will keep Owen occupied in the back seat of the car (you know, distracted and NOT PUKING) and keep the repetitive Music Together songs off of my radio for hours on end? I’ll take it. We’re driving about 4 hours (each way) for vacation next week and I’m not sure my brain can handle “The Hello Song” the whole way there and back. So we’re going to give this a shot.

Do your kids have their own music players? At what age did they start using them? Do they use headphones? Are you a slave to the kid’s music do your kids like “your” music?

*Kid music. One of those things I was sure I would NEVER succumb to, before I had a tot myself (ahem, see this post). My kids, I thought smugly to myself, would LOVE the radio. I would teach them to appreciate REAL music from the day they were born. No “Wheels on the Bus” in my car! Yeah. Right. I have since… adjusted my expectations. Or, you know, eaten my words.

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8 responses to “She Says… I’m With the DJ

  1. I had something like that when I was little! It looked like a mini boom box and had a microphone and I dragged it around forever. I completely forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

    I do notice that Raffi bounces more to kid music than the radio. I haven’t exactly gotten any music cds yet though. Whoops!

  2. You’re a sweet mama :) We haven’t exposed Clara to any kids’ music, so she hasn’t had an opportunity to develop a preference!

  3. 1. I was totally with you on the no kids songs in my car. Luckily for me, though, Eli really likes “adult music.” Thank, God. Of course, he loves kid music, too, but Mommy doesn’t deal well with that in the car.
    2. I play guitar, so Eli hears me playing “adult music” all the time. My favorite part about this is that sometimes when we sing songs before bedtime, he requests the songs I play rather than a kid song. Love it.
    3. Eli got a cd player for his birthday. It definitely has too many buttons, but it works. We couldn’t find a toddler/kid one, so we just bought a cheap regular boom box. I figure he’ll grow into it… if he doesn’t break it. :)

  4. After further reflection, I should add a few things to my comment.
    1. I’ve actually thought about letting Clara watch cartoons or listen to kids’ music or something before our summer vacay just so we could use it as a tool for the car (I was thinking it wouldn’t be that effective if she saw/heard it for the first time in the car as it would if something was her favorite show/song prior to the trip). Haven’t done it and probably won’t, but I did think about it!
    2. I do think that some kids’ shows/songs have educational value and don’t want to imply otherwise. I think Clara is a little behind on language mostly because she hasn’t been around other kids, but possibly also because she hasn’t seen any shows that are created with the intention of teaching kids colors/etc.

  5. My few comments:

    1. We gave Miss A one of our old iPhones. We put some age-appropriate learning games on it, and her music, and it has no service plan and is in airplane mode. We monitored it closely at first to make sure she was not getting a lot of screen time with the games. But now we have an established habit and she self-limits and we keep an eye on it. But, she’s been an expert at operating the music player on it since she was two. She knows to slide to unlock the screen, the image to press for the music player, and how to choose songs and play them. She clearly understands she is not to touch our phones without our permission. We have a little speaker thing the phone sits into and she uses that as her ‘boom box’.

    2. Some recommendations for Kid Music that I like:
    - “Songs I Heard” by Harry Connick Jr. The album is not ‘kid music’ per se but it is all songs aimed at kids from musicals like Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Annie, etc. And it is all done in a great New Orleans jazz style.

    - “Sing With Fred” by Fred Penner. I found this by accident looking for a version of Sing A Rainbow that I didn’t hate. The album is overall pretty good with a couple of standout songs like Sandwiches. I’ve never heard this Sandwiches song before but it is the most awesome silly pirate shanty you ever heard. This album is definitely Kid Music, but I found I enjoy it well enough.

    - “Here Comes Science” by They Might Be Giants, or any of the “Here Come(s)” albums. These are aimed at kids but very clever and education and about as awesome as you’d expect from TMGB. The albums come with videos, too.

  6. I also think it’s so interesting Owen is picking up on the Kid Music/Not Kid Music thing. Miss A really doesn’t distinguish. She does distinguish between “nighttime music” and “daytime music” and can tell you which one a new song would be.

    We play music for her when she’s going to bed. It was a big win for us. My mom did it for me and I remember how it helped alleviate the boredom of laying in bed quietly waiting to fall asleep (with the side benefit of helping me to fall asleep faster because I actually was staying relatively still/quiet). So she has a nighttime music playlist of lullabies, soft folk, selected classical and modern instrumental, etc. Sometimes I get ‘reprimanded’ for playing Bach’s Cello Suites during the day. heh

  7. Too funny. My kids gave me a lot of backseat music requests – still do. We had a lot of Music Together CDs and had our favorites in that. Also big hits on the “kid music” front were “Snacktime” by Barenaked Ladies and “Meltdown” by Justin Roberts.

    Now, ahem, we get a lot of requests from my Glee playlist. Rebecca has a number of favorites, including “Defying Gravity” and “Marry You.” Daniel seems to favor, of all things, “Not the Boy Next Door.” Hrm.

  8. Try some musical theatre with Owen! Ethan LOVES it and it gives me a respite from (vomit) The Wiggles. Owen sounds so much like Ethan – all music, all the time, constantly wanting a “new song, please,” as is Ethan’s mantra from the backseat – and musical theatre is such a love of mine (as it is for you, too, I believe!), so this was a nice compromise. I’m currently directing a production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown so I’ve been listening to the 1999 revival cast recording, and Ethan has become obsessed. And it’s great – he and I can both sing along, he’s learning some great and appropriate music (he knows ALL the lyrics and it’s hilarious!), and I don’t feel like throwing myself out of a speeding vehicle! Good luck with the drive! :)

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