One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

If You're Happy and You Know It

I'm still on about the Shrek soundtrack. Our car lately has been the scene of wild mood shifts as I accommodate first Annika's request to hear the melancholy "Hallelujah," followed by Frankie's bouncy favorite, "I'm on My Way." And then back again. Every time Anni hears the final strains of "Hallelujah," she gives a deep and satisfied sigh. I said, "Wow. Anni. That sure is a beautiful song." She said, "Yes, it is. And very sad." So finally it hit me what it is about this song that so appeals to her. It's sad. We have a fairly large collection of children's music, plus adult music that I've deemed "good kid's music," and have therefore stored in the playroom. But what I have denied her is exposure to some good, cry-your-eyes-out, light-a-candle, heave-a-sigh sad songs. It makes sense, though. Who wants to dress their preschooler in black turtlenecks and inspire Morrissey-level fits of depression at an age when putting shoes on their hands, and then having the shoes debate the merits of ballet versus tango is just another afternoon's activity? And, yet, even when you're not depressed, there's something deeply satisfying about hearing a half-whispered, tortured ode to sadness. Who doesn't remember the first time they heard a really super-sad song, and then had to listen to that song 58 times in a row in your room with all the lights out? For me it was Elvis Costello's "I Want You" from the appropriately mordantly titled Blood and Chocolate. All those teen hormones running rampant, and there I was sobbing along to a song and wondering when, oh when, I would find someone who would really get these deep, deep, deep feelings of mine. I guess I just wasn't anticipating that Anni would need or want that type of catharsis at age 4. But then later that evening I told Annika that it was too late to go over to Sabrina's house. She melted into tears; her face had "tragedy" written all over it. And because she is also just learning the important skill of putting her emotions into words, she was wailing, "But I am so sad about that! I am really really really sad." I managed to keep a straight face, because nothing pisses that girl off more than me finding amusement in her extravagant misfortune, and offered a few sympathetic words. Struggling to make it even more clear how really sad she felt, she said, "I wish I could be in that Hallelujah song right now." So, yes, I guess I need to find a few more moods to offer up in our musical experiences. Although I think I'll skip the rage music. Steroids and thrash metal before full frontal lobe development? I don't think so.


Anonymous Andrea said...

The problem is that they're so adorable when they're sad. It's not that they're funny; it's just so damned cute that I too find it nearly impossible not to laugh.

6/09/2005 6:33 AM  
Blogger liz said...

I think that they are hilarious when their hearts are broken over something ridiculous. "No, you cannot sleep with a bowl of cherries." "But I WAAAAAAANNNNNNTTTT to!"

6/09/2005 1:00 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

LOL! I was so misunderstood to the EXACT SAME Elvis Costello song! Oh, we were so really, really, really deep.

Anni's got excellent taste for her preschool angst!

6/09/2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger PPB said...

I think you've hit on something real here. It's actually what bugs me about kids music. It's all so perky. Perky is good, but a steady diet?

6/09/2005 8:38 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Somehow, at a very young age, Older Daughter got hooked by Billie Holiday's "Good Morning Heartache". I mean I think she was 4. She sang it over and over and over. It was ironic, because at the age of 19 I was dumped and dove headlong into that song.
Anyway, she loved the sadness of the song.

6/10/2005 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl, Justice's mom said...

Justice must be into the same emotional discovery phase it seems. He cracked me up (which irked him greatly) when I obviously didn't react "appropriately" to his distress regarding the denial of his beloved fruit chews and boldly informed me "You just don't get it momma! I'm reeealllly saaaaaaaad now." God help us when they're teenagers!

Enjoy Anni's appreciation of real music. Justice's favorites are still tied to Thomas the Tank Engine...maddeningly chipper, out of key wailing British children brainwashing my sweet 3 1/2 year old into believing trains rule the world...{{sigh}} I'm desperately awaiting the passing of this particular phase!

6/11/2005 10:16 AM  

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