Before having a child, my husband and I would while away countless hours swilling cocktails, smoking cigarettes and discussing art, politics, rock and roll, philosophy, you name it.  There were declarations of solidarity and heated debates on any number of decidedly adult topics.  Now conversations tend toward far less challenging fare.  Frequency and consistency of toddler bowel movements is a go-to.  As is questioning merits of expensive, fancy-pants organic apple juice vs. the perfectly serviceable store brand (I mean, how much better can it really be?).  Take this recent example, which took place in our living room, as my husband folded laundry and I perused Wikipedia in search of information on some of our two-year- old’s most beloved television characters:

What is WITH these guys?

Me:  Hey, did you know there was a fifth Wiggle?

Him:  What the hell are you talking about?

M:  The Wiggles.  There used to be a fifth member.  I wonder what color shirt he wore?

H:  Huh?

M:  I bet it was pink.  Had to be pink.  Ooooh, and did you know that Jeff hated kids at first?

H:  Who?

M:  The purple one.  The narcoleptic.  That’s why he’s always falling asleep.  They wrote that bit in so he wouldn’t have to interact with the kids as much.

H:  Well that’s fair.  Most kids are gross.

M:  And sticky.

H:  So sticky.

M: And did you know Greg owned the fourth largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world?

H:  Which one is Greg?

M:  The yellow one.

H:  The one that died?

M:  You’re morbid!  He didn’t die, he retired due to….wait….(feverishly scans Wiki)…orthostatic intolerance.

H: (pretends to know what orthostatic intolerance means) Oh, I though he died.  Or got fired.  Or it was like a Menudo situation and they kick you out after a few years.

M:  Right, like a puppy that isn’t cute anymore so he has to go live on a farm.  I thought maybe he got kicked out for a coke habit or a leaked sex tape.  Or maybe he punched a hooker like the Sham-wow! guy.

H:  No dirt though?

M:  Nope.  Squeaky clean.  Thought for sure there would be SOMETHING elicit.  They are musicians after all.

H (musician):  Oh ha, ha!  Cute.

M:  I’m bored with this.  I wonder if I can find any dirt on Raffi….



Let’s face it folks, kids music is fucking horrible.  I’d like to say I have always been too cool for school in that regard, but I think my parents may assert that “Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits” still qualifies.  One could argue that technically that would still qualify as rock since it is Beatles covers, but I digress.  Things are on the upswing to be sure, thanks in no small part to shows like Yo Gabba Gabba that are a sly nod to hipster parents’ music library.  Artists like They Might Be Giants and Cake are also hopping on the kiddie music train, resulting in a widening selection of downright enjoyable fare.  But much to my chagrin, the irritating classics endure.  Not unlike cockroaches after a nuclear holocaust.  Don’t even get me started on Mickey Mouse – that shrieking eunuch voice is enough to make me puncture my own eardrums with a dull blue violet Crayola.  And riddle me this, Itsy Bitsy Spider; why should we reward you repetitive idiocy with a commemorative song?  If the rain repeatedly and mercilessly washes you out, why oh WHY would you go up the spout again?  Is this not the very definition of insanity?

So in an effort to provide appropriate children’s fare, I look to Pandora Internet Radio to help me craft the perfect kids’ station.  Starting with Yo Gabba Gabba as my base, a judiciously applied series of ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ has yielded a playlist that is bordering on tolerable.  It is still a work in progress, but here are just a few gems and turds encountered so far:

  • Harry Belafonte “Jump in the Line” – Not sure who invited you to the party, but sure glad you came!  Apparently Trinidadian calypso music is a great way to solicit a diaper-clad rump shake.  Thumbs up!
  • Kids Bop “Firework” – The dregs of the Top 40 sung by future show choir rejects and B-squad amusement park performers?  That’s a big pass.  Thumbs WAY down.
  • The Belle Stars “Iko Iko” – This one has to go simply because I can’t shake the Rainman connotation.  “Hot water burn baby!”  Pass.  Thumbs down.
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead “The Sound of Sunshine” – Hmm.  Not my cup of tea really, but it provokes  baby dance moves the likes of which I’ve never seen.  Thumbs up.
  • Goo Goo Dolls “Iris” – Wait, what the hell?  Pandora, I demand you explain yourself!  When I click what I like to call the “WHY GOD WHY?!” button, Pandora states the following:  this song was selected due to its sweeping melodies and heartbreaking lyrics.  Really?  Well, I guess the kid has to learn sometime.  He’ll be only the wiser for learning about love and loss and the tender age of two.  Remind me later to pen a thank you note.  Thumbs up!

3 different versions of the Hokey Pokey, a barrage of Elmo and Co., and a sprinkling of Raffi all passed without incident.  I managed to quell my hipster snobbery because the boy was enjoying himself (and they only give you six skips an hour).  Will keep you abreast of the progress as I continue on my search of happy, fun, child-friendly fare that doesn’t make me want to bludgeon myself to death with a Nerf bat.  For everyone’s sake, let’s hope we don’t encounter any more Mickey Mouse along the way.