The girls just had a winter break and we hosted a five-girl slumber party. The main events were wrangling over which movie to watch and the contents of the music videos they were going to create.
Mind you, we don’t watch regular TV very often and I don’t let them watch music videos. But the music… aah the music. Despite my best efforts, Lady Gaga is creeping in the edges, along with the naughty version of CeeLo Green’s “Forget You!” and Shakira with her truth-telling hips. I’m counteracting wildly with musicals, Adele, the Beatles, Alvin and the Chipmunks (somehow, when they do Bad Romance, the lyrics seem more appropriate for a 10-year-old).
It’s working for now — imagine my relief when all five were happy to watch Milo and Otis, a movie about a puppy and a kitten. But more and more these girls are wanting to slink and shimmy. In just one year, I’ve watched B go from a girl who plays involved games with her stuffed animals to a tight-jeaned girl singing heartbreak songs while also playing involved games with her stuffed animals.
We are a family that drastically restricted media. Our intent was to give the girls a childhood away from the overly-sexy and violent consumer world until their common sense were better able to navigate what’s out there. So no, they don’t understand the lyrics and emotions of the songs their friends are bringing them, but they innocently like the general idea, the feeling. Which turns the mirror back on me: I’ve turned into such a fuddy-duddy.
My first reaction to when Bad Romance (“I want your vertical stick”) entered our lives was not to shriek with laughter, which is what it deserves, but the shock and indignation of a grandmother: “IS this really necessary?”
Next reaction: The music is fun. I’m perfectly happy to shimmy around to it. So I have to remember that Lady Gaga is a young woman out to shock.
And so was I. So was I. Very interested in the slinky, daring, siren call of my own generation. Like many, I threw myself out there, made some very risky decisions that I would do anything to spare my children, and also had very, very cool adventures. Despite my best intentions, I’ve ended up squarely in the middle of the road, considering what the spectrum was, and after this decade of living in a children’s world, my mind and heart appear to have turned to mush.
Actually, it is more like exhaustion. What is just beginning to be so exciting to them no longer holds any interest. I’m not sure I even saw it fading from my mind. But when I think about it, that edgy boldness holds treasure, but often it’s just as vacant as the BeeGees.
So right now, as a mom in her 50s, I’m still interested in the innocence that young children live in. Call it mush if you like, but I think if you look beyond stuffed animals, there’s a lot of depth at the core. It offers calmness, sweet laughter, nature, a certain steadiness. So just like my mother and grandmother before me, gardens, walks, books, a few good friends; all are hypnotically calling to me for deeper exploration.
Yikes! How totally BORING!!! I remember my pre-teen misery as my grandmother and mother planned yet one more trip to a botanical garden. Two generations in vastly different places. My birds are start to stick their beaks out of the cultural nest. They’ll go, and I’ll stretch for them by remembering. Only for them. But while their siren call is growing louder, I’m noticing that I still have my own to follow.