Happy Ides of March! Hark, Beware toga'd Senators. Five days alone with a toddler teaches one many things. It might be a great setting for composing a zen koan or something. Except there can't be any meditation because there's never any silence. But I have learned some valuable information about my daughter that I didn't really get before. For instance, her top five albums--not including kid music like Winnie the Pooh and Sesame St. (both of which she adores)--are: 5. The Who > Who's Next 4. Grandaddy > The Sophtware Slump 3. The Shins > Chutes Too Narrow (but Oh, Inverted World gets high marks too) 2. Bruce Springsteen > Darkness at the Edge of Town 1. The Arcade Fire > Funeral How, you might ask, would I know that these are her favs? That's not a hard call with a toddler. It goes like this: Grt's running around the house at top speed, coloring, throwing Play-doh hither and thither, tossing her beanbag cat down the stairs, or singing to herself at the top of her lungs. I put on a CD or (if I'm feeling lucky) a vinyl album. She stops her mania and listens. This is the first indicator of toddler enjoyment, though not necessarily a reliable one. Anything new usually gets this amount of attention. For a while, I thought she really liked Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, but then I realized it was just the cash register sounds at the beginning of "Money" that she wanted to hear. When we're listening to Grandaddy or Sigur Ros, she usually just stands stark-still for the majority of the album. It's Children-of-the-Corn weird when it happens, let me tell you. Step two is dancing. This also may not be a reliable measure of her enjoyment, because she dances to many things--including B's cell phone ring. But if her attention is captured enough to bounce around, spin, shake her head with her arms down at her side Peanuts style (no kidding--she actually does the Peanut's dance), then it means that she likes it with more than a passing "like." If she asks for it, then we know she really likes it. She usually only asks for kids music. But lately she's been asking for "Gruce Speenstring" and "Boss." She especially likes "The Promised Land"--enough that she says "more, daddy" every time it ends. But the real kicker--the way you know it's a favorite--is the "mommy-daddy-Tigger-dance-Greta-too-now." This means she wants everyone to stop what they're doing, grab her stuffed Tigger, and join hands to dance in a circle in front of the stereo. It's a fun, though often times dangerous, celebration of music. I've only tripped and fallen once and I had the presence of mind to let go of the other hands. Tigger usually gets tackled and kicked vigorously during the dance. This is how we know she just can't contain her excitement any longer. Poor Tigger. (She'll say this afterwards too, sometimes, which cracks me up.) Arcade Fire's "Rebellion (Lies)" once got a full ten minute dance-spin-kick Tigger reaction (we had it on repeat). I think that's the all time best--though "Baba O'Reilly" got about a three-repeat cycle today. It might have been more, but we were listening to vinyl and I got tired of trying to move the little arm over and over again. The power of music. Crazy.


Blogger zena said...

hey b,

it's been a lot of fun to hear about your week with gert. and since seeing her so recently i can picture clearly all that you describe.


3/15/2006 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i appreciate this a lot as well.

3/16/2006 3:21 AM  
Blogger Andy Whitman said...

Great stories.

My oldest daughter was a huge Tonio K. fan as a toddler. She used to request a CD called "Romeo Unchained" every time we got in the car, and would sing along at the top of her little lungs. And there was always something delightful about hearing ...

It's a jungle out there
It used to be a garden
But the times got tough
Now all those innocent hearts have hardened

... from someone in a carseat.

3/17/2006 8:31 AM  

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