This is the Soundtrack of our Lives

I must admit we dodged a bullet in a sense. Lyla does not enjoy traditional kids music on a grand scale. When she was first born I was quite nervous about having to listen to kids music forever, so what did I do? I sought out kids styled adult music. By this I mean the Rock-a-bye Baby series and other “artists” like the Tiny Tots players, performing all your favourite Zeppelin, Motley Crue, U2, Radiohead, Nirvana, Metallica, GNR etc…the only problem was that Lyla did not particularly enjoy it.

Truth be told, once the initial novelty wore off we realized that had we had to listen to that ad nausea it could have been damaging to everyone involved. It is almost as irritating as nails on chalkboard simply because you know what the actual songs sound like and you realize how badly they are depriving your child of that experience. Oh ya, it is also completely devoid of life and energy. I am guessing that you can tell I am not really one for shielding my daughter from much provided it is not ridiculously violent, racist or anything else that is particularly scarring. I’d rather expose her to it so she does not think she is pulling a fast one by sneaking stuff by us as she grows up. I am hopeful she will see it for what it is. Music, period.

As a musician I was personally offended that A) it cost more than the ACTUAL CD, and B) I could have made it with the baby instruments that Lyla owns and charged people ridiculous amounts of money. Did I ever miss that boat. Unfortunately for The Tiny Tots Players Lyla was far more interested in actual music. In fact she moves and grooves to it, constantly. Whenever Sweet Child of Mine comes on in our house (and given that I think Appetite for Destruction is one of the best 5 albums EVER made, it comes on a lot...if that makes me a bad parent, so be it) Lyla has now taken to singing along with Axl, adding beautiful harmonies and even moving her little shoulders and bum in a pseudo snake dance circa 1989. The gyrations are absolutely priceless.

Tonight’s playlist really stuck with me however as she went crazy over the Training Montage song from the Rocky IV soundtrack, and clearly so did I. I mean I can envision Rocky running up that mountain in the dead of a Russian winter wearing a tiny leather jacket and boots. Upon reaching the summit he raises his hands and screams, “Drago!” which of course I did as well. Lyla was very impressed and began dancing around on the couch as I repeatedly shouted “Drago” screaming and raising her arms right along with me. The fact that Lyla was so into it was very telling for a number of reasons: first off, we can very soon have a father-daughter Rocky/Over The Top/any other lame Sylvester Stallone action movie (minus the Rambo series for obvious reasons) marathon. Secondly, I may be able to convince my wife to let me name our next child Drago as the name seems to really entertain Lyla. The first is clearly more likely to happen than the second, and I am glad because of course after the moment was over, the idea of saddling a kid with the FIRST name Drago seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

What’s my point? Well, it’s just that personally I believe the more you involve your children in your everyday life the better they will be. Now I am not a child psychologist or anything like that, but I do know that this level of involvement has helped her adapt to the transition to the next phase of her life. It makes my heart melt to arrive at daycare to pick her up and see her and her little playmates dancing to Van Halen…maybe we’ll get to skip the next Britney and Jonas brothers! Probably not, but we can always hope.

Now if you will excuse me, Young Days by Noah’s Arkweld is on and I have a little girl to dance with before bedtime. Actually she is already dancing and I need to catch up as usual.

Jason Darby is a sports blogger, musician and most significantly the proud father of a beautiful 1-year-old daughter. He currently works in the academic publishing industry and is working on a book about the Maple Leafs and the pilot for a sitcom currently titled “The Shop”. He spends much of his spare time watching the Detroit Tigers with his little girl. Come back often to read his musings on raising a child from a father’s perspective.

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