Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: Teen *Idle*

We're terrible role models for our daughter. 

With nearly zero ability to reference current pop culture and no older siblings to show her the way, I'm afraid Samantha may suffer from a complete lack of knowledge of the language of her peers.  She's still in the stage where she doesn't care what clothing I put on her in the morning.  The only songs she knows are Twinkle Twinkle and ABC.  The only things she watches on TV are Arthur, Backyardigans, Curious George...  Music?  Clueless.  I listen to the news on the radio mostly, sprinkled in with random 80s new wave classics.  Steve listens to classic punk rock and ska.  Timeless?  Absolutely.  But for our generations only.

Friday night I got to re-live a teen dream and see one of my post-punk pop, costume-clad, alternateen idols perform in concert in Philadelphia.  Adam Ant.  Ask anyone under the age of 37 if they've ever heard of him, and they likely will look at you blankly, waiting for explanation of this person with a strange name.  Seriously, I've tried it several times over the last few weeks!  And as I started to get more and more depressed, I stopped telling people who I was going to Philly to see.  Save that for my high school and college friends.  And while it was worth the 30-year wait to see him (omg, he was soooo good, if not a bit winded between songs...he's super old now...), sadly, that's a prime example of the limitations of my own frame of reference for music. 

And that will not help Samantha to fit in with her peers in the least. 

To (ahem) toot my own horn, however, I have spent a lot of time lately listening to pop stations on the radio, just enough time to familiarize myself and to make my ears bleed.  And I can actually tell the difference between Justin Timberlake and Rihanna (both of whom I feel both horrified and elated to say I actually like).  I'm trying, I really am!  But I don't expose her to it nearly enough (even with a cutesy Hello Kitty radio tuned in to said pop station perched on a shelf in her room, within reach), and Samantha really couldn't care less anyway (the radio is largely left untouched, and the reception in her room sucks).  We are also big addicts fans of television, including a healthy dose of reality talent-show-type TV (American Idol, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.).  And, again, Samantha really couldn't care less, not to mention, Mommy & Daddy TV comes on after she's in bed.  Sometimes she asks if she can stay up late, and I am quick to threaten her with the ultimatum, if you want to stay up late, you have to watch Mommy's and Daddy's shows...  Works every time, and she's off to dreamland in her bed in minutes.

How do I make her care?  How do I help pave the way for her to become accepted by her peers, to enjoy the kinds of things other kids in the mainstream of life like? 

Wait...she's only 6...  But that being said, I know of plenty of 6 year olds who enjoy listening to and singing pop music, demand to wear particular clothes, watch shows like American Idol on TV, have mad childhood crushes on handsome (or, in the case of my 6-year-old-self, not necessarily handsome, just older) boys/men.  cough cough...Justin Bieber, anyone? 

Okay, so maybe I'm not so hard-pressed to push the issue after all.  Alterna-mom and Alterna-dad may still be turning out Alterna-kid eventually, just because it's the natural order of things.  But for my wee little one to announce that she's into an old geezer's music, like Adam Ant, over a modern girl's assimilation into present-day, social acceptablity, might be too isolating for a girl like her.  I don't know.  We'll have to see when we get there.  And in the meantime, I'd be happy to have her even express interest in the old geezer stuff!  Something! please! anything!!!

I bought my first Donna Summer album at age 8.  Followed shortly thereafter by Shawn Cassidy and Donny & Marie.  I'm reasonably certain my exposure to pop culture began with my schoolmates and TV.  But how are the younger kids being exposed these days (unless their mothers are secretly dancing around to the Biebster...)?  How do I teach her these things of which I know nothing?

Here are some videos for those of you over the age of 37 who did not spend the 80s listening to Bryan Adams, Phil Collins or Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam...  Enjoy!



18 comments:

miradoro1 said...

So that's what you were listening to? Could have been worse, I suppose!
Mom

Lisa said...

LOVE IT - I absolutley know who Adam Ant is and could even recite a song or two! My girls are stuck in princess & barbie land music wise. We have a couple of CDs that were given to us as party favors that have some favorites of the pre-k set but mostly they listen to Disney song/story CDs where I only have to be tortured for 3 songs before it changes to an audio book. Cate is in trouble too - she is much more likely to hear New Order than Justin.

Michelle said...

I have had this, pretty much, exact conversation w/Joe over the last few years. To say that at age 9 we are still having this discussion probably doesn't help you any! I feel like we're in the same boat - she has no older siblings and we don't have the TV on very often at our house (except 'our' shows after the kids are in bed.) The only time we listen to music is when we're driving somewhere. She does know Call Me Maybe (thanks to my sister). But otherwise? No real pop references. I know 9 yr olds, and as you said, it ever starts much younger...who have ipods or whatever and CDs and itunes and their own whole collection of music that they 'love' and listen to all the time, but that's not our family. If/when I do put music on in the house it is usually the music on demand 80s and 90s and my old 90s CD LOL Sorry I'm not much help, just wanted to you to know you're not alone and Kayla is 3 yrs older than Sammi!

Cathleen said...

I wouldn't say that we're experts, but for some reason (older cousins?) Lilly keeps up somewhat with what's popular. Even though I have no clue - we listen to Mary Poppins and Sound of Music and Annie in the car, she loves Broadway, movies, etc. But: when we got an ipod recently I needed to sprinkle some stuff Lilly know or should know/like (since she does kind of get exposed to a lot of that from school), so I found playlists of top 10, top 20, etc popular music and downloaded it for her to listen to, and she already usually knows a lof of the music. Sometimes though we have to uncheck songs with explicit lyrics -learned that the hard way! As far as shows, (yes Lilly - and I - love Fresh Beat to your horror), she does actually like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc, and that's how we get our insight into what's cool as well. And our entire family (including Jon and Lilly, excluding 5 month old Ben) read lots of magazines especially when we travel, so Lilly has gotten good at picking out celebrities/cute boys (Bieber, Zac Efron, etc) from there. Pre-Ben, we could easily travel on a 2 hour flight with just a People and Us Weekly for Lilly to look at. :) Not saying it's good... but that's how we keep up.

Becca said...

Oh, right!! An iPod (or other MP3 player)!!! Great idea, Cathleen! I should definitely do that for Samantha. Let *her* be in control of the music! That's why I posted this - to get some great ideas!!

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Pop culture is overrated, IMO. I'm raising an atypical typical 12 year old who loves Alfie Boe and G4 who loves Dr. Who. I'm more concerned with moving My little one with Down syndrome out of things that are babyish. I'm part of my typical birth board for Violette and try to keep up with them so I know when Dora is uncool and Barbie is cool. She is a wizard on the iPad, though, and knows all the cool apps...that has to count for something.

Anna said...

Just wanted to inform you that little G loves Adam Ant. She came out of thur woodwork to play her air drums and air guitar. Since we as a family aren't absorbed in pop culture I am fine withy daughter doing her own thing too.

Kristi said...

I have to agree with Yo Mamma mamma too..and that im more worried about moving her out of things that are babyish..She is in the same boat...she has no idea about music or tv shows either..and could care less..unless its a kid show

e.Beth said...

she'll find things that she likes eventually. my nieces are sponges for pop culture- its justin bieber and one direction now, but it started with High School Musical, which I bought for them. they also have been in day care since they were babies, so they were always around other, often older kids. Disney Channel is the king of tween pop culture. If you want to her learn it, just turn it on one day. but its TERRIBLE. so i think you're better off!

Kacey Bode said...

This post made me laugh. Ella does have some opinions about her clothes already, but along the lines of "I wear skirt today" or "I wear pink today." She LOVES music. She has a Hello Kitty radio too and hers has a CD player on it. She has some obnoxious Party Music CD. It is current? songs sang by children, like Beiber and Miley Cyrus songs and she loves it and can sing them all. In the car we listen to country music and she can sing it all. The downfall if you will is that she can belt out some inappropriate songs at akward times...we were at Special Olympics Young Athletes a couple of months ago and one of the leaders was asking for song suggestions, Ella raises her hand, gets called on and starts singing "I'm sexy and I know it." LOL. As far as TV goes we are still in the innocent shows, Max and Ruby, Cailou, Doc McStuffins, Bubble Guppies etc, and I like that. They at least teach her something : )

Jess said...

I totally get your frustrations. I have the same ones.

Ciena is turning 11 in ONE MONTH. It's crazy! And she is FINALLY interested in her barbies that she has had for two years! But, when given the option of a large variety of toys, she goes for things that are below her actual age.

For the most part I am trying to let go and realize where she is mentally and not just where is physically.

Having an ipod for Sammi is a good idea, but it's not something we are comfortable for Ciena to have. Her grandma actually sent her home with one this summer! Our thing is, first things first. First, she must learn to take care of the toys she has. We find ripped books and broken barbies still. So after we are through this stage, then we will talk about getting her a boombox - which I received when I was her age actually.

My husband and I are careful about what technology our kids have at their disposal. Call us crazy!

ckbrylliant said...

I'll probably be in the minority here, but I don't really see this as a 'problem' necessarily. I get it and I see your point with the whole fitting in but if it does not bother her, well, then.....As my husband would say 'can't you just leave well enough alone'. Not trying to be negative or down play your feelings just pointing out that there are some of us who find this to be a small blessing as we hope to prevent our 'typical' kids from falling prey to being like everyone else.

What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.

gwen said...

My 6 year old has zero exposure to popular music, and not on purpose either. I don't listen to it and therefore she isn't exposed. I listen to Tom Petty and Weezer with a little mix of classical radio. Be proud your kid can be different. If anything I hope my 3 year old with DS doesn't become obsessed with the latest pop culture addictions. Have you seen the latest version of Vampire Bratz dolls? Bratzillas

Anonymous said...

You can count on my little one to hold down the uncool corner of the world. Her uncool parents could care LESS about the in thing.

Crittle said...

Piping in for the 36-year-olds who remember Adam Ant!

Donna S said...

I just came across your blog today and I'm looking forward to reading more about your beautiful girl. I just wanted to comment here as a basis for comparison- I'm the mom of two typically developing 6 year olds, and my goal is to keep them as far away from pop culture as I can for as long as I can. This doesn't mean I'm keeping them sheltered at all, or that I'm forcing them to do age inappropriate things. I just don't think Justin Bieber is age appropriate for a 6 year old, though there is plenty of awesome, rockin' music that is. The DC area is absolutely overflowing with it too! I feel like kids will get exposed to pop culture along the way, in school or during other activities. I realize my experience may be different than yours, but I hate to see my kids' peers pushed into the tween/teen stuff too soon. FWIW, my Ipod is loaded with kid rock music AND Adam Ant :)

Rachel Douglas said...

Just turn on Radio Disney for a couple of hours and you will know every pop song her age might know. Then you can check it off your list and get back to Adam Ant.

Melissa said...

I'm *slightly* concerned about this too. Claire doesn't really watch TV beyond Signing Time and football(!!)...I guess she'll figure out what she likes eventually!