Who Taught You to Live Like That?

When is the right time to expose your child to the Dead Kennedys? Is the Forgotten Rebels’ Surfin’ on Heroin an appropriate lullaby? These are not abstract questions, but something I wondered while driving in the car with the six-day-old Tristan with the iPod on shuffle. He's already been surround by music during his few days on this world. We had the laptop in the delivery room and he came into the world listening to Metric, coincedentally arriving to Combat Baby.

Yesterday he sat in my arms while I was watching Robot Chicken and he seemed vaguely attentive as the Trix rabbit sold coke to the rest of the breakfast cereal mascots in a great parody of Blow. He’s not just getting pop culture moments, but meta references – not that they mean anything to him now. But I figure it will seep in at some point. I knew all The Beatles music when I was in high school, but not because I had listened to it, but because my parents had for years before. So I hope you like Sloan, kiddo.

Is that so bad? I don’t have any desire to hear in what manner the wheels on the bus rotate, or how many humps Alice the Camel (or Fergie for the that matter) has. That isn’t entirely true of course, as I will happily sing to Tristan, but I don’t feel the need to only play that kind of music around him.

So is there pop culture for babies? Is it those songs? Books that you read to them? I suppose I will find out soon. So far it’s just been stealth marketing. To date, Tristan has two outfits with Winnie the Pooh on them and an offer for Winnie the Pooh books that come with a Tigger clock – all from Disney. He also has Clifford the Big Red Dog on a quilt and Sesame Street characters on his Pampers. Who are they indoctrinating, him or me?


  1. I think deciding what one can expose his or her child to is one of the most difficult choices a parent can make. I don't have kids myself, but I do have nieces and nephews. And it can be difficult to decide what to watch around them. Okay, obviously I am not going to be watching Fight Club around them, but what about other movies? Even movies rated PG can sometimes contain material one might not want the youngest one to watch.

  2. Carrie GalsworthyOctober 10, 2006

    We don't have many baby-themed music or videos in the house (unless given as a gift). Nick has listened to and watched everything we do and it was amusing when he first discovered that he could laugh that he would do so every time Bush came on the tv. Reggae music usually calms him down (who am I to complain if Matisyahu knocks him out every time?). But who knows what he's learning is normal noise (one friend (probably more) is shocked by how much and what we let him see). Enjoy the time that Tristan is not influenced by commercials and friends.

  3. Awesome that your little baby is already listening to the Dead Kennedys!!!! Actually there's a bunch of great kids songs(which I happen to love) that are completely irreverent and fun, mostly stuff about psycho monsters and eating chocolate and the like.

  4. You know... I thought there was NO WAY I was going to listen to those songs. And then I took my (now 2-year-old) daughter to a mommy group where they sang songs, and there's something addictive about it. And despite our daughter listening heavily to Bowie, Elliott Smith, and Arcade Fire, she TRULY responded to "I saw a little birdie going hop hop hop" and The Grand Old Duke of York. And you'll find when it's hard to get her to sleep that singing Hush Little Baby works much better than "Heroes." Unfortunately. That said, she loves The Flaming Lips and The Pipettes now, so I'd try those ones on the little man. :)

  5. I saw the Wiggles back when they were still the Cockroaches at a seedy bar in Sydney's west many years ago. Somehow kiddy culture has been tainted for me for good. I think it's pretty insidious, so you may end up surrounded by it whether you seek it or not ;)

    That's a really cute photo, also.

  6. Well, C is for cookie, so that's good enough for me...

  7. You're never too young to hear, "Kill the Poor"! Check out Jump Little Children, they are a mellow band and my friends little people seem to like them.