I recently posted a bit of a rant about the sexual overtones of modern society, and one of the questions I heard in response was “What do you let your kids do then?”
The answer is, I think, pretty typical of any parent. My kids go swimming, play on a trampoline, get rides on the trails on my parents’ property, play video games, watch movies, read books and play board games just like everyone else. The only thing I do differently is I watch/play/read stuff first (when they see it at my house, I haven’t actually seen The Lego Movie linked to above) to make sure the media in question isn’t an extended commercial for Cialis (no pun intended).
They also have boatloads of toys, probably more than they can play with. Some of the old favorites from when I was a kid still capture their interest, though – water guns of course, but my old Transformers, He-Man characters, Nerf guns and other various stuff from “back when” gets almost as much playtime as the latest Ben Ten gadget or DS game.
Recently, I stumbled on a treasure trove of this “old stuff” that has all three kids enthralled – records.
Yes, those things, the black vinyl discs that spin around with a needle on them.
When I was growing up, my Fisher Price record player was one of my most prized possessions and with it I listened to Dr. Seuss stories, Disney stories, adventure stories, American legends, comic book fantasy, and sometimes silly/crazy music.
When my sisters, currently aged 18 and 19, were younger I bequeathed the player to them, and with it all the records I still had. It was a goodly number of them, and over the years we have continued to make references to some memorable moments from them, like when Bartholomew Cubbins dresses down the king for wanting oobleck.
In truth, these records were the soundtrack of my childhood. Even now, when I read Green Eggs and Ham to my children, I use the same rhythm and similar voices as Marvin Miller did on his recording of the story that I listened to. Seamus (middle name Michael) got the nickname “Seamus McMichael McMonkey McBean” as a child in honor of the character from The Sneetches who builds the star off/on contraptions. I can recite Peter and the Wolf in my sleep.
So you can imagine I was pretty thrilled when my sisters dug out the record player and the records and passed them on to my kids!
Kathryn gravitated immediately to the Dr. Seuss records. She had never heard Yertle the Turtle before, or Horton Hatches an Egg, so I was happy to hear them again with her.
The Boys were stoked for the Spider Man record. They didn’t imagine that such a thing existed – it tells a cool story, has comic panels to go with it, and has a rock band (The Webspinners, perfect!) play a few Spidey-inspired tunes on the way. I think they were more excited by all this than when they learned what chocolate is.
In one fell swoop, I found a way to A) increase my “cool dad” points B) keep the kids entertained for hours and C) increase the common pool of family knowledge. And all of that without sex to sell it – that’s a win!
If you’d like to share some of these oldies with your kids, too, here are some YouTube links.
Peter And The Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-YbuM_Fg0s
Spider Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XMwJcdN6Wk