I couldn't have cared less about last weekend's Superbowl from an actual football perspective. And repurposed Wisconsin protest video and Ferris Bueller jokes aside, I wasn't particularly interested in any of the ads. But there was no way I was missing the halftime show. Sure, LMFAO has about as much appeal to me as pigskin or a Go Daddy commercial; I never have, and never will be, a "Party Rocker" who "Shuffles."
But can I still "Vogue"? Heck yeah. And I waited patiently through the whole first half for the chance to watch Madonna strut her 53-year-old glory across television's biggest stage. Madge is the unequivocal soundtrack of my young adulthood. "Holiday" and "Lucky Star" were the anthems of my senior year in high school---a turning point when I left Styx and everything Flashdance, including off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, officially behind. I made the transition to lace, quasi-lingerie, dangly earrings and big black hair ribbons quite adroitly; you could have easily called both my look (and musical taste) the summer after freshman year of college Desperately Seeking Sari. And just hearing the first note of "Like a Prayer" last Sunday brought back forever-pleasant memories of late-night clubbing in downtown Chicago with an ID that finally bore both my real name and birth date.
And I feel as though I've hit the musical-memory lane-motherlode this February. Bruce Springsteen is playing on the Grammy's this weekend. I feel a little guilty that I'm not really interested in hearing anything off his new album. My only hope is that he sings just one verse of "Thunder Road." I so wanted to grow up to be "Mary" of the "dress swaying" from the very first time I heard the song blaring from my older brother's record player. Roy Orbison may have been singing for the lonely. But The Boss? He was singing for 9-year-old me.
I am not sure there is a musical score to my life since I've become a parent, though. I vaguely remember "MMMBop" in the background with Son #1----VH1 was my best friend during 3 AM power-nursing sessions. And I'm pretty sure it was Avril Lavigne who dominated the airwaves driving back and forth to my newborn daughter's non-stop pediatrician appointments in the summer of 2002. But on the whole, whether I've been too busy, too distracted or too disinterested, I couldn't tell you much about popular music from the past fourteen years.
But it occurred to me that there's nothing keeping from me from a creating an original "parenthood" playlist. I could easily come up with an audio scrapbook that links favorite tunes from my glory days with important stages from my Mom-life. The first couple tracks could be labor and delivery oriented---think Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It", the Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated" or Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out." These would be followed up by tunes inspired from my kids' first years, possibly the Talking Heads' "Stay Up Late", Tom Petty's "Crawling Back to You" or NKOTB "Step by Step." Elementary school could be captured with, to state the obvious, The Jackson Five's "ABC." Or, if you'd seen me the day my youngest started kindergarten, Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud."
I could go on forever"and that's not necessarily a good thing. But if you have any suggestions to accompany the tumultuous tween and teen years, just let me know. Some days I feel like Green Day's "Good Riddance" sums it up perfectly.
And other days I'm all "Cat's in the Cradle." Because I'm not always ready for them to be "Growin' Up" (Springsteen, Greetings From Asbury Park, 1973).comments powered by Disqus
This post will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging. There is no question I completely enjoyed my break from the kids. But my biggest discovery this past weekend was that it was the kids, perhaps, who needed a break even more.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.
My 11th-grade and 8th-grade sons have heard "the chant" for years. You know which one I'm talking about -- the ESFY (U?) chant (I'm not sure what the parenting post rules are for writing two of the more forbidden four-letter words in the English language) that appears to have both Barry Alvarez and Chancellor Blank quite concerned.
There are many different criteria parents use when evaluating which pre-school programs will be right for their children. Some parents might be looking for an educational philosophy that stresses creativity and community. Others may desire an option that revolves around learning through play or is more academic in approach.
We spent hours poring over name books and checking for inappropriate initial combinations. We looked at meanings, variant spellings and popularity charts. And, as I am sure every parent does, we thought we'd hit the name jackpot with each of our kids. But there are always surprises.
A generation or two ago, the pediatrician was the guy (yes, they were mostly guys) who gave your kids shots and prescribed big bottles of antibiotics for every sniffle. Madison's Dipesh Navsaria is a different breed of pediatrician.
Gamehole Con will be the premier tabletop gaming convention in the region. And with Wisconsin being the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the nation's leader in gaming stores per capita, it kind of makes sense that the convention's organizers want the Dairy State to be known for more than just cheese, beer and bratwurst.
This year I will also try to ease up some of my previous costume concerns. Sure, the world is rife with inappropriate dress up choices for our kids; there is no parent out there that is keen on his or her child dressing like a pint-sized prostitute, even for one night.
This past Saturday, I took my youngest to hear Caldecott award-winning author/illustrator Kevin Henkes read from his latest work, The Year of Billy Miller, a short novel for the early elementary grades.
I was greeted at the door by Tom Moen, who has served as executive director of what he likes to call "Madison's best kept secret", for the past 39 of the center's 47 years. Located in the middle of the subsidized Truax Park apartment complex, EMCC, with its vast array of offerings for kids, seniors and everyone in between, is unquestionably the heart of the neighborhood.
Madison's Kashmira Sheth has written four award-winning novels for middle grade and teen readers, and a popular chapter book for six- to nine-year-olds, but right now her picture books are what she's excited to talk about.
A few summers back, my daughter, maybe 8 or 9 at the time, decided to take part in our swimming pool's annual water ballet show. I'm not really sure what initially piqued her interest in the somewhat under-the-radar, very much under-the-water sport of synchronized swimming.
We rarely included a stop at the Central Library as part of our regular outing. For those of you who've been in Madison for a while, I'm sure you'd agree that the old building was pretty run down. Not to mention, dark, cavernous and depressing. Libraries, at their best, should be portals to discovery, right?
My eleven-year-old daughter spent most of last weekend alone in her room, door shut. It wasn't a temper tantrum or an overwhelming need for tween privacy that led to her self-induced isolation, though. Instead, I didn't see her (except for meals) for two days because she was, in her words, "going through her closet."
Yes, the 2004 classic comedy Mean Girls is an absolutely delightful movie. But it's definitely not the smartest mother/daughter viewing as your child is about to enter her inaugural year of middle school.
Despite celebrating 30 years in business this year, Knowledge Unlimited Inc. remains relatively unknown in the community. Those concerned with closing the achievement gap in Madison's schools, however, may want to take note. This award-winning educational-materials producer, based in Middleton, is unique in emphasizing multiculturalism throughout its lines of educational posters, DVDs and children's books.