Friday, August 17, 2012


I have tried, with varying degrees of success, to get James (and now Anna) interested in the same music as me. I'm not sure if this stems from altruism, a desire to share with the kids what I love, or if it's purely selfish: if they like what I like, then I can listen to what I like without a backdrop of whining. What's been remarkable about this is how James' tastes are so well-defined, even at such a young age. He knows what he likes and what he doesn't like. He likes "loud loud loud rock 'n roll" more than any lullaby or ballad, which isn't all that surprising considering his frenetic personality. His idea of rock 'n roll, however, is wildly unpredictable. For example, see my attempt to get him to appreciate arguably the greatest rock 'n roll album of all time:

Fortunately, we have found some common ground. For a while, James was digging on The Beatles, especially "Hey Jude". We've danced around the house to Andrew Bird and Beirut. At times, he also requested (repeatedly) "Ring the Bells" by his eponymous rock group, James (a song I regularly play and sing to him before bed):

He also enjoyed "No Cars Go" by the Arcade Fire:

This one was interesting because it sparked a conversation about why anyone would want to be in a place where there were no cars. James was incredulous, telling me, "I really like cars, you know."

Our perennial favorite, without a doubt, has been Regina Spektor. James' favorite song this month is "Ne Me Quitte Pas" from her newest album:

This is a great, fun tune. At one point, I had played for him her earlier song, another great, "Hotel Song":

The lyrics to this one, however, prompted a most difficult question from my 3 year-old: "Daddy, what's cocaine?" Oops.

Lately the kids have both been into the Laurie Berkner Band, a group lead by (you guessed) it Laurie Berkner that sings fun and goofy kids' songs. I like the albums and sing along with the songs, but, as James likes to say, "it's not my favorite." This morning on the way to drop the kids off at their "schooly", I was looking for something a bit more excited. Last week, I had picked up the most recent release from my favorite Canadian post-punk art-rock outfit, Do Make Say Think. James requested some rock 'n roll, so I tried out the first track: ten-plus minutes of jaggedy guitar-driven instrumental. Imagine my surprise when both he and Anna sat, in awe, as I danced (as much as one can while driving) and pumped my fist to the guitar line. They LOVED it! And you can too:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Vacation

For the second half of July, the family spent a wonderful vacation in South Carolina. James & Anna got to visit with Grandma & Grandpa, play with their cousins Ceci & Caleb, and spend pretty much every day either at the beach or the pool. James was absolutely beside himself to see his beloved older cousins, jumping up and down and yelling "yay!" at the most mundane events. He and Anna both loved the ocean. Anna is fearless: she would just start walking down the beach, into the water, straight out to the sea without hesitation. She was utterly unfazed when the water was too deep for her and she went under, emerging with a huge smile on her face. You can see some of the photographic evidence of the fun here:

Summer Vacation in Charleston!