My oldest son loved the adulation he received when his elementary school band totally rocked "Blitzkrieg Bop" at the 5th grade talent show. He was relishing in pre-pubescent punk; I thought he'd found his bliss. But early last year, at the beginning of 8th grade, my budding Ramone told me he was ready to quit bass guitar lessons. A bit surprised, I asked him why. He told me that while he liked the camaraderie of being in a band, and really liked going shopping at the St. Vincent DePaul resale shop for gig-worthy attire, he just wasn't that into music.
Not into music? What the heck did that mean? I could understand not being into classical music, and preferring Top 40. Or vice versa. But not being into music at all? And then it dawned on me. As much as I hate to admit it"-I'd prefer to be seen as at least mildly cultured-- I just wasn't that into music either.
As a kid I loved going to see musicals, but I never once came home and listened to the score. Piano lessons lasted all of six months for me, which was probably five months longer than they should have. I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert twice during high school. I wish I could say it was because the "Thunder Road" lyrics had touched my soul. But to be honest, the real reason I went was the secret hope The Boss would pull me on stage just like he did Courtney Cox in the "Dancing in the Dark" video. I'm not sure why I didn't realize this could never happen from the 32nd row.
Even in college, when friends were cultivating an interest in The Smiths and The Jesus & Mary Chain, I was content to "Walk Like an Egyptian" across the sticky floor of a frat party. I wanted to look like Susanna Hoffs"but never particularly wanted to play guitar like her.
I rarely sang lullabies to my kids when they were babies; I've never liked the sound of my singing voice and was afraid neither would they. We never owned much Raffi or Laurie Berkner, or Ralph's World . We left a pre-school music class after just one session because I was unable to keep my 18-month-old from getting up from the "singing circle" to turn off the teacher's CD player.
I wish my son hadn't given up bass. And I recognize I might have been part of the problem. If I had to do it all over again, I'd stick it out in the toddler music class. Or at least wait until the teacher kicked us out instead of quitting. I'd make a point of singing "Hush Little Baby" a few more times.
And I'd definitely take him to more all-family appropriate live music events like the one coming up on Saturday, October 23 at the High Noon Saloon (http://www.high-noon.com/). On that day, Canopy Center Healing and Family Support Services is hosting its first, and hopefully annual fundraiser, "Band Together For Kids" featuring the Wisconsin Disco Superstars, VO5.
This is the Canopy Center's opportunity to raise awareness of and funds for their programming which provides vital counseling to over 4,000 parents and their at-risk children each year in Dane County. Canopy operates the Parent Stressline and the Oasis group treatment program for families who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. With "Band Together" Madison-area families have the chance to shake their collective booties in hopes of ending the cycle of family violence.
Perhaps my son and I do have an excuse to once again to visit our favorite resale shop. But this time we'll check out white polyester ala Saturday Night Fever, funky leisure suits and glittery bell-bottoms instead of punk attire.
Maybe at the event I can convince him to sit in on a cover of Chic's "Good Times" "it has a pretty awesome bass line. And maybe, just maybe, he will pull me up on stage. Because even if we aren't as into music as I'd like us to be, we are into it enough to "disco for a difference" in the lives of kids.comments powered by Disqus
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.