Disclaimer: This comes straight from one of my “bad mommy files” in which I store those not so bright parenting moments. Please excuse my language and lack of common sense.
We are a musical family. You walk into our living room to see a menagerie of instruments like a piano and multiple guitars. You will see a cleared floor in the middle of the room that is perfect for our random dance parties and serious dance practice. And, you will see our sound system that is controlled by every mobile device in the house. We subscribe to multiple music services, both free and paid, so it functions like the ultimate juke box. Albeit, this can get a bit confusing – particularly when you are in the middle of “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” and suddenly “My Sharona” breaks through. (My son has a particular love of that song.) Now, what you won’t see in our living room is a TV.
We don’t really censor music. That’s right – you heard me. Generally it doesn’t present an issue. Much of the music we listen to does not contain explicit language. But, sometimes. even our usual selection of alternative rock can place us in a bind. Once, my son was going to a rock ‘n’ roll party. When my husband called to RSVP, they asked what our son’s favorite song was for a party playlist. Right away our son said “California on my mind by Wild Light.” My husband repeated that, got off the phone and I said, “you do realize that like every line in that song pretty much includes the F word right?” Ya, it didn’t even cross his mind. But, in this case the boy’s parents took no offense at all.
Flash forward to the fateful day that my then 4 year old stood in the middle of a homeschool function and shouted “mother f*cker” plain as day. I think I momentarily turned green. I stammered out some kind of shocked apology saying, “I have no idea how she even heard that!” To which my, tell the truth to a fault, autistic son stated, “mom it’s in that Starships song you let the girls dance too.”
You see me and the girls have this thing going. We call it random dance parties. As homeschoolers – a few times a day – we let off steam by dancing about and yes – hip hop and pop tend to be high on the playlists. Much as I love Mumford and Sons, I just don’t feel like breaking a sweat dancing to “I will wait.” I do pull the clean versions when I can – some of our favorites, like Thrift Shop, have no clean versions that we can find. Others like Ciara’s I’m Out does but the song get disjointed and choppy. Some danceable songs like T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) have a decent clean version that are relatively guilt free. And then there are some like Scream and Shout and Starships that have clean versions in which you can fill in the blanks pretty easily.
So, with my first two – they must have a built in filter and just know – don’t say that word – and they don’t. With my youngest – she picks up on it quickly and loves to repeat it all. Another incident happened on a homeschool field trip. We were carpooling and a gaggle of kids were sitting in the back of a van – one iPod – two ear buds between them. My youngest had an ear bud for maybe two seconds before it was taken by an older kid. She belted out in perfect harmony, “Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby Let me know…” not gonna finish it. Point is, I don’t play that song during random dance parties. She is like a musical sponge. BTW, I was the only mom present who realized exactly what our children were listening to back there.
So, kindly friends have offered a few different solutions to this problem. One individual told me to only use praise music for our dance parties. Yeah, that went over like a bomb. Others told me to use the Kid’s Bop versions of the songs. Granted, they drive me crazy but in some cases, that advice was helpful. So, this morning when the girls begged me to again play Starships, which is one of their all time favorite dance songs, I pulled up the Kid’s Bop version. Now, my problem line, “We’re higher than a motherf*cker” sings, “We’re Kid’s Bop and we’re taking over.” Yes, taking over my dance parties. *sigh*