Tag Archives: music

She Says… Feeling All the Feelings

I have seen a few viral videos recently of kids who “feel all the feelings” and break down sobbing at certain songs. This one makes me laugh because he’s aware that it’s not cool to cry like that, but he likes the way it feels. This one is hilarious because it’s like he’s so touched he can’t contain the tears. And he’s 10 months old. And this one cracks me up because she’s just seems SO SAD and the song has barely started.

They all strike a chord because Owen is EXACTLY the same way.

Pure, unadulterated, raw, unchecked emotion. All the time.

When he was around a year old I would sing to him all the time (ok, who are we kidding… I have sung to him all the time since before he was born and plan to continue long after he starts saying, “Stop singing, Mom. You’re so lame!”). But I rarely know the words to songs, so usually I just make them up about Owen. One of the few songs that I do know the words to is “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. It was our favorite song to sing on the changing table while I zipped him into his sweet little footie pajamas before bed. When I would get to the chorus that says, “when I’m feeling sad”, his brow would furrow, his lip would quiver, and he would CRY. Outright cry. Hard. So hard I would have to stop singing (usually from laughing so hard, but sometimes out of pity that the song was making him so darn sad). Benjamin and I swore we’d get it on video someday (and who knew it could have been a viral internet sensation!), but alas, it was one of those precious things that just stopped after a while. We picked a new song and that was that. Now it is just a memory I hope I never forget.

Fast forward to now. Our song repertoire has grown exponentially, most recently to include the favorites from “Frozen”. If you have a child under the age of 10 (or maybe even if you don’t!), I’m sure you know it. (And if you don’t, the music is AWESOME). You know the part in “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” where Anna sings, “Ok Bye” when Else won’t open the door? We were singing that together in the bathroom the other night while we filled the tub. I sang the “Ok Bye” line with a little musical theater flair, putting on my saddest face while I sang to Owen. All of a sudden his eyes filled with tears and they spilled out onto his cheeks while he took my face in his hands and said, “Don’t sing like that Mommy, it makes me SO SAD.”.

I was simultaneously super proud of my out-of-practice acting skills and overcome with how sweet and emotional my little boy is.

He absolutely takes after his father (who could be a viral video himself, crying at every single episode of “Parenthood” while hiding his face from me with a pillow). They both feel all the feelings so deeply. I could not love that about them more.

So now it has become a game. Every night at bathtime, Owen challenges me to sing those two words (“Ok Bye”) to him as sadly as I can to try to make him cry. If I come close, he’ll break character and tell me to stop singing because it’s making him too sad. Usually I can’t wipe the smile off of my face long enough to sing those two words without cracking up.

Feel all the feelings, kid. You’re in good company.


She Says… Role Model

Owen has a crush.


A crush on Benjamin’s friend and coworker, Mike.


Mike is a musician (when he’s not working with Benjamin on video production stuff). He plays a ton of instruments. Owen and I have taken a weekly music class since he was 8 or 9 months old, and he plays a ton of instruments too. Clearly, they are soulmates.


Since Mike lives in New York yet works with Benjamin a lot, he often spends the night at our house when they have an early shoot.

You should see the love in Owen’s eyes when he hears that Mike is in our house.


Last night, Owen and Mike had some quality time playing the sax together. It’s pretty much the sweetest thing. Owen was in heaven.

I adore how Owen looks up to Mike and pretty much worships the ground he walks on.

Want to see their duet?

She Says… No More Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed

This is Owen’s new favorite game.


The Rules:
– It is ONLY to be played while wearing pajamas and holding a particular stuffed monkey

– It is ONLY to be played while listening to Vanessa Trien’s version of “No More Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed” (on this CD).

– No matter how violently he throws himself against the couch or onto the floor, it’s still funny

– The song MUST be listened to at least 2 or 3 times in a row, with no interruptions


I’m not going to lie, I think it’s hilarious. Benjamin came in while we were playing and was all, “He’s going to hurt himself! He shouldn’t do that! Be careful!”. But I’m appreciating that this game requires relatively little from me, occupies Owen for at least a few minutes at a time, and completely tires him out. Win, win.

You know, except for the inevitable concussion.

Owen has made up several “games” to several different songs on this CD. We set up chairs like a car and do hand motions to the “Driving in the Car” song. He plays certain instruments with other songs. Who knew listening to a CD could be an entire morning’s worth of activities?


Kids have strong opinions. And they don’t hesitate to express them. Whether it’s crying or biting or yelling, they just haven’t developed their filter.

Owen is very advanced in his language skills. Usually, this is an enormous help to all of us. However, fabulous communication skills + strong opinions + no filter = awkward situations.

We recently started our once-a-week music class again for the fall season. We’ve done 3 seasons of class now, and Owen absolutely adores it. He knows the routine, the songs, the teacher. He pours over the music book and asks to listen to the current CD constantly. He learns the words to the songs and asks for them by name. Since we’ve done the class for almost a year with most of the same people, Owen is super duper comfortable. He is always a gregarious little social butterfly, but something about the comfort of this class seems to bring out his personality even more than usual. He runs in the door and doesn’t stop talking/singing/performing/being silly/dancing/saying hilarious things for the entire class. He’s the center of attention and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

This session, more than in the past, Owen has favorite songs and songs he really doesn’t like. Currently he doesn’t seem to like any that sound like lullabies or are too “pretty”. As soon as they come on the CD, he’ll say, “Don’t like ‘dat one, Mommy! Change it.”. When we’re listening at home, I roll with it and let him listen to what he wants to listen to. But in class it’s a different story.

Last week the teacher started singing a sweet, soft song and Owen turned to me and said, in a very loud voice, “I don’t LIKE dis one!”. I smiled and kept singing and tried to ignore him.

Maybe he thought I hadn’t heard him. Not to be ignored, he stood up from my lap, took my face in his hands, peered right into my eyes and yelled, “MOMMY! I DON’T LIKE DAT SONG!”. I busted out laughing, as did most of the other moms, and thankfully the teacher was laughing and smiling too. She nodded her head and we all kept singing through our laughter. She always tells us not to talk during class, that the best way we can teach our kids is by singing and using the music to show them the behavior we want them to emulate. So I kept smiling and tried to sing.

When appealing to me didn’t work, Owen did what he does best. He used his charming social skills to try to get what he wanted. He went around to every mom sitting in the circle and said, using his best manners, but in a VERY loud and clear voice: “I don’t LIKE dis song. Change it? Sing a different one? No like it.”. By the end of the song we were all dying laughing and he was standing there, triumphant and grinning.

The language skills are a liability when I don’t want him to repeat things, too. Remember the other night when he peed all over the floor of the bathroom at a restaurant? He was taking a walk around the restaurant with my father in law after dinner and started shouting “Pop! I peepeed all over da floor in ‘der!”.

I love 2 years old. Never a dull moment.

She Says… The D’Guitar & Ukevaylee

Owen has been “playing the guitar” for many months now. It’s always down on his level in my office and he loves to go in and strum for a few minutes at random. He’ll often sit and sing along too, these days. Always, ALWAYS “Twinkle Twinkle”. Pretty much just like this, but more in tune lately.

When he first got interested, he would call it the ‘tar. “Mommy play ‘tar? Daddy play ‘tar? Where ‘tar go?”. After a few weeks of repeating the word correctly, he got it down. But recently the word has morphed again. Now he has combined “the” and “guitar” to be “d’guitar”. Except he still puts the “the” in there too. So now it’s “the d’guitar”.

It cracks Benjamin and I up so much that we ask him to say it over and over again. “Owen, do you want to play this? What’s it called?” “A d’guitar! Yes! ALL play da d’guitar together!”.

“Oh, you mean the guitar?”. “Yup, a d’guitar.”.

Side note: Have you seen the movie Game Change? It’s just like how Sarah Palin kept saying “O’Biden” instead of Biden since her brain was thinking Obama + Biden.

Another funny instrument mispronunciation is youkahVAYlee instead of ukelele. Not sure where that one came from, since he can clearly say the “l” sound. He got a little ukelele for his birthday and watching him stroll around the house singing with it is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Here is an old video of him playing it with his Grammy after all of his friends left after his 2nd birthday party. (Please ignore the random chairs and post-party mess!)

I guess I can’t make too much fun of the kid. He says “staccato” and “Tchaikovsky” clear as a bell, so his music vocabulary is pretty solid! And, as with many other mispronunciations, I’m sure these will be gone in a matter of weeks. I will miss them when they go.

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.

She Says… Music to my Ears

I’ve been singing to Owen since before he was born and I’ve often wondered when he would start singing back. Music is a huge, huge part of our lives. Sometimes I wonder if I sing to him more than I talk to him. We sing lullabies at night, along to CD’s and the radio in the car, we make up songs about everything from diaper changing to making dinner to the ant we saw on the sidewalk. Recently he has started to say, “Sing it?” about everything. And what he means is, “Make up a song about it?”.

People listening in on our conversations would think I am crazy.

And maybe I am.

But in the last few weeks, Owen has started singing on his own, unprompted. I hear him working through songs as he puts himself to sleep, or quietly singing to himself in his carseat.

It melts me.

Into a puddle.

My favorite part of this new talent is his “singing voice”. It’s more like a really loud talking voice, so he pretty much just shouts song lyrics. Sometimes he gets the pitches to go up and down at the right places, and once in awhile he can match my pitch if I’m singing, but mostly I just encourage him  to shout it out. Even though he can say all of the words very clearly, he seems to turn song lyrics into gibberish, or to smoosh the words together unrecognizably when he’s singing — too many other things to think about, I guess!

Singing is ALWAYS accompanied by full-body swaying/dancing.


Here is a rendition he did this past weekend of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” into “Twinkle Twinkle” (he’s already realized they are the same tune and thinks they are one song now):

He’s gonna be a STAH!

She Says… ‘Tar

Owen has always had a penchant for all things musical. Remember his emotional piano playing? And his high-pitched singing in the bath? I’ve been singing to him since before he even had ears. These days singing is the #1 way to stop him mid-tantrum or turn his frown upside down. Also the way du jour of getting him to do something he doesn’t want to do (aka changing his diaper or getting in the carseat). Recently he has started singing along with little “doo doo doo”s and “bah bah”s. Complete with head bobbing, drumming, bouncing, spinning, and even putting his arms up over his head like a ‘rina (ballerina).

We’re currently doing a Music Together class on Mondays and it is easily the highlight of his week. He loves circle time, playing instruments (especially the drums), singing and moving with the music and being silly with the other kids. But what he loves most of all? When the teacher plays the ‘tar. Guitar, that is.

Back in high school I went through the requisite “I’m going to learn to play the guitar” phase that most do. I had a boyfriend who played a lot of guitar at the time and we went guitar shopping for an eternity before we found the one I was sure I was going to play all day, every day for the rest of my life. (A big thank you to my mother for supporting this fleeting passion and buying it for me, even if she knew it would probably end up in my attic someday). Alas, I never played enough to make callouses that lasted or to get very good. The perfectionist in me won out and I lost interest after awhile. Still, it came to college with me and I spent many a night listening to other people play it in my room. Since then, the guitar has been collecting dust in various spots around our house until Owen recently picked it up.

Now it is his favorite toy.

He’s inspired Benjamin and I to pick it up again ourselves. We’re pretty rusty, but hey, The Wheels on the Bus (someone’s favorite song… I won’t say whose) is only 2 chords! And Owen doesn’t seem to mind mistakes at all. He runs over and shouts, “‘Tar! ‘Tar! Hold it.”

And the latest phrase du jour, “Oh-tur”, which means Owen’s turn. He’s getting really good at the concept of taking turns, except it always seems to be Oh-tur…

I don’t know yet which instrument he will land on (drums? piano? singing? all of the above?), but I would put money on the fact that music is going to play a huge part in Owen’s life. We’re planting the seeds now.

Did you play an instrument growing up? Did you love it or did your parents have to force you to practice? Will you try to encourage your kids to take instrument lessons?

She Says… Virtuoso

What can I say? He’s an expressive guy.

I think we have a little tiny virtuoso on our hands.