It’s Not All Mary Poppins

MotherTalk reviews: That Baby stuff

Packages are always very exciting.

“What’s in there, Mary? You gots a present?”

“Not a present, exactly. Some people sent me this” … I hold up a DVD… “and this…” a CD… “so that we can listen to them, and tell them what we think of it.”

“It’s music??

Music is good around here. We listen to music a lot, and we do not keep it to kidstuff. The kids are as likely to be groovin’ to Etta James as to Raffi, and though they’ve heard a fair amount of Haydn and Mozart here, the air in Mary’s house has never been polluted by the Wiggles. Blues, jazz, classical, folk, classic rock, alternative, even the occasional country and what my husband calls “head-banger” music. Depends on Mary’s mood, depends on the children.

Music is a tremendous mood-setter. If you want them calming down for a nap, you’ll choose chamber music over rowdy blues. You have a little energy to burn on a rainy day? Crank those blues and let the babies bop to Stevie Ray!

So, TWO music disks in ONE package? Someone DID send us a present!

Now, we have a slight problem. Mary does not own a television. Well, okay, technically I do. One. It has a 14-inch screen, and it’s in the attic. I watch it perhaps twice a year; the daycare tots never do.

Mary, however, does own a laptop!

And this is what happened when the DVD was on: children clustered around a screen, pointing and talking. Now, had I placed it so there was a larger open space in front of the screen, perhaps we’d have seen more movin’ and groovin’, I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, the DVD was the scene of much pointing and talking rather than bouncing and bopping.

Which is just fine, because the talk was some entertaining.

“Hey! There is George!” Nigel identifies his tow-headed older brother in one of the six-year-olds on the screen.
“And that is my MOMMY!” Malli offers, as an 8-year-old girl dances to “Brass in Pocket”.
“Lookit! Lookit, is ME!” Blond-haired, grey-eyed Anna is thrilled to see herself on the screen — in the form of a very cute little black boy just about her age.

Though this is very cute, I confess I prefer the effect of the CD on them. Deprived of the visuals, they don’t cluster and point, they dance. They whirl, they jump, they shriek with laughter. Much better.

There isn’t a song on the disks they don’t like. Me, I’m not fond of “Anything is Possible”. Far too preachy-earnest for my tastes, but the tots, they don’t care.

My favourite is probably the first: the “Happiness Runs/Circle Game” medley, in part because I like Joni Mitchell, and in part because I did enjoy the visuals on the DVD.

I found “Brass in Pocket” a little disconcerting at first, particularly the DVD version. I remember when this song was Top-40, and to my mind, it’s about sex. “Gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs…” And to see little children of 6 or 7 years olds mouthing those words was a bit unsettling. I didn’t like the way the first little girl danced, either.

After I watched it a couple of times, though, I changed my mind. The words, when sung through the minds and mouths of small children, are in fact perfectly all right for small children. They won’t be hearing any innuendo there: after all, kids do use their arms and legs … and smiles and laughter and play and teasing and mischief and whatever it takes … to get “some attention, attention, attention, give it to me!” What kid doesn’t want attention? Seen from that perspective, it’s a cute track.

I’m not raving about the disks. They’re nice. They have an interesting, eclectic mix of songs by a disparate range of writers. Would I have bought them myself, had they not been provided for the purposes of review?

Likely not. But then, I am cheap poor cheap. However, if you’re interested, enter the coupon code “MotherTalk” when purchasing and save 20% on your entire order! From now until May 18th, all orders using the coupon code “MotherTalk” will be entered in a drawing to win a new iPod nano. So there’s that.

May 7, 2008 Posted by | music | 5 Comments