[top: Me and Jack, about two years ago]
[bottom: Jack recently, trying to duckwalk like Angus from AC/DC]
My 2 1/2-year-old toddler Jack wants to be a rock star. As an aging wanna-be rock star myself, I couldn't be happier about this. Some day, in some way, one member in this family will be a rock star!
As you can see from these photos, I've tried to foster a love of rock n roll since birth. Jack's current collection of instruments rivals that of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He owns two guitars, a ukelele, a drum set (in addition to several individual drums), a piano, a harmonica, a tamborine, a trumpet, many maracas, a xylophone, an authentic mbira (thumb piano) from East Africa, and a cowbell—oh, and a mini violin is currently on order at a local store. We also go to a music class together (which I wrote about here), and take every opportunity to hear live music, most recently at Eco-Fest in Druid Hill Park.
Sufice it to say, all of my hard work has paid off: Jack is obsessed with music. His favorite game is "band," wherein he distributes instruments to everyone in the room, counts off ("one, two, free and..."), and everyone jams. He ends every performance raising his arms and saying "Thank you very much!" Wherever he is, any raised platform—a step, toy chest, a box of diapers—becomes a stage. He mounts it, holds an imaginary microphone and announces "I want to sing a song about Mommy" (everyone in the room gets a song eventually). The songs often have similar lyrics, somthing like "Mommy, Mommy, I love Mommy/Mommy, Mo-mmy! Thank you very much!"
Recently, Jack and I discovered that Comcast's "On Demand" offerings include live concert clips featuring everyone from Cat Stevens, the Who, and AC/DC to Green Day and the White Stripes. These clips immediately replaced "Sesame Street" as Jack's favorite thing to watch on TV. "I want to see guitars!" Jack now insists at all hours of the day or night. Of course, I prefer this to "Sesame Street" as well, so most mornings, Jack and I watch a few clips before breakfast.
The problem began when Jack took a particular liking to an old clip of AC/DC performing "Highway to Hell." He would run around the house—and in public—sing-screaming, "Imona high-way to hell!" I found this amusing and adorable—and potentially, one step closer to vicarious rock stardom—but others had different opinions. I was having dinner with my sister and her kids when Jack started singing his favorite song. My adorable, precocious 8-year-old niece Morgan was stunned.
"Did he just say H-E-L-L?" she asked.
"Yeah. Is that bad?" I asked, worried about the answer.
"You're a terrible father!
Well, that may be overstating it, I thought. He doesn't know what that word is, I explained. He's just singing the sounds he hears. And besides, this was Bon Scott-fronted AC/DC in its prime! What rock and roll education would be complete without that?
Sadly for me, my sister agreed that the song was inappropriate, so "Highway to Hell" is off the playlist—for now. It's only a matter of time before "Mommy" becomes a number-one hit anyway, and then he can listen to whatever he wants.
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