Interpretive dance + the Beatles = peace

My kids love each other. I know they do. This doesn’t mean they always play nice, though — most of their hours together are peppered with bickering and conflict and disagreement, and just about every five minute someone comes to me in tears over the wrong that was perpetrated against them.

It’s very exhausting.

It’s also very normal, I think. (Or maybe I’m delusional and other people’s kids get along every minute of every day?) I do what I can to diffuse situations, solicit apologies, and help them get along, but it’s not always successful. Many days I’m at my wit’s end, and when I can’t stand it any longer I send everyone to their rooms.

But then there are times like last night. After dinner, they showered, one by one, coming downstairs shiny and clean and dressed in fuzzy pajamas. After I approved their hygiene, they drifted down to our cluttery unfinished basement, where, I was told, Mitzi has been running a Dance Academy. They are preparing for a big recital in May (I was informed) and they needed to practice. Within minutes, the familiar chords of various Beatles songs drifted to the kitchen, where I was doing the dishes.

And for minutes — many, many minutes — there was no fighting. There were encouraging words and applause (yes, I was eavesdropping) as the CD spun through “Let it Be” and “Hey, Jude.” Bedtime loomed, but I just couldn’t break up the party, especially when I peeked and saw Joanna’s interpretive dance to “Blackbird.”

Of course, shortly after that, someone tripped someone else and wailing and yelling ensued. Back to normal. Time for bed.

But, ah, those blissful moments of peace! As infrequent as they are, it gives me hope that someday my quartet will be in harmony, helped, in part, to that slightly more famous quartet, whose words and music have helped bring mine together.

The magic of the Beatles lives on.

Fire up your holiday spirit!

You might be tired of this medley by a capella group, Straight No Chaser (who originally performed together at Indiana University back in the ’90s).  Too bad.  Here it is again.  It’s a fun song sure to get even the Grinchiest of grouches in the holiday spirit!

Definitely check out the band’s web site, if only to read the unlikely success story this group of ten guys had a decade after they stopped singing together in college. Maybe it’ll inspire you to dust off that trumpet from marching band?  

Happy Friday!

Music Wars

As hard as it is to believe, one day my kids will no longer think I am cool.

I know.  Can’t imagine it.  Me, not cool?  How could that ever be?

But it’ll come.  I have three daughters, after all.  There is bound to be a lot of eye rolling and head shaking in the future.

It happens to even the hippest mom when her children reach adolescence.  Our clothes are all wrong — too dorky or too embarrassing (in our attempts to be trendy).  Too much makeup, not enough.  Too ignorant of technology (how the heck does texting work?), too friendly with the computer (honey, be my Facebook friend!).

Okay, to be honest, I’m not remotely cool.   When I shop for clothes I have to rely on pre-selected outfits modeled by manikins to know what goes together.  My little sister keeps me current on trends and pop culture, shaming me gently (and not so gently) into staying informed.  Do it for the kids, she says.

But music?  Okay, I’m no fan of a lot of new artists, mostly because, though it’s hard to admit it — it sounds so Mom, after all — so much of it all sounds the same to me.  And for the last seven years I’ve been wrapped in my cocoon of four pregnancies, babies, and preschoolers.  Most of that time was spent listening to the Wiggles, Laurie Berkner, Dane Zane, and Ralph Covert, among others.  Who had time for Billboard?

But I like what I like, and what I like I think is pretty cool.  Dave Matthews Band, Matchbox Twenty, John Meyer…okay, so I’m a little stuck in the 90s in a lot of ways.  Still, I can’t picture my kids begging me to turn off my oldies so they can listen to Miley Cyrus.

Growing up, my parents listened to a wide range of music from my grandpa’s guitar genius, to 50s rock and roll, to 70s singer/songwriters.  I don’t remember (they may disagree) disliking any of it.  To this day, I sing the Everly Brothers’ “Dream” to my kids at bedtime.  Though my local station is no CBS-FM out of New York, it’s not bad.  My iPod has Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and Elvis alongside Dido and Christina Aguilera.  I’m pretty open in deciding what’s cool.

My parents were the ones who probably begged us to change the radio station when 1980 rolled around.  They shook their heads when MTV premiered.  They indulged our peculiar obsession with Duran Duran, Madonna, Rick Springfield, without ever joining in.  Perhaps it is we who embarrassed them.   In fact, I’m sure we did.  At the very least they rolled their eyes at what they considered our poor taste.

Every generation has its music wars with the generation who came before.   To the newest fans, perhaps Bob Marley and Neil Young and Aerosmith are all oldies.  But not cool?  Who could ever say that?

I hope that as my kids are exposed to lots of different artists and styles they remain as open to new sounds as they are right now.  Last month I made a mix CD for Mitzi’s first grade dance party.  I included kid favorites from Noggin’s Jack’s Big Music Show, a few from High School Musical, but also snuck in Dee-Lite and Madonna.

The kids don’t yet know that those are the oldies but goodies.  They just like to dance.  Rock on.