My Toddler Sticks It To Skinny Bitches

We were driving to the pool yesterday when my four-year-old daughter Brontë shouted from the back seat: “Change the music, mommy. I NO LIKE IT!”

Oh, COME ON… what’s wrong with the Dropkick Murphys? The wheels on the bus going round and round, one more time, would spiral my eyes into oblivion.

Bunching my eyebrows, I stared back at the 3-foot tyrant with Dora the Explorer sandals dangling off the carseat. “This is the music of your ancestors,” I told her. “And it’s cool.”

“No, it NOT cool, momma. It makes my heart cry. You please play the ‘About Bass’ song instead?” Her light-up shoes blinked in rhythm like a baby-alarm, winding up. Any minute now, this car would explode into piercing shrieks.

Unless I played THAT song.

Again…

Meghan-Trainor
Princess with an edge

Meghan Trainor’s All About that Bass.

I can’t entirely blame her because it’s an awesome song. Upbeat and catchy, yet more complex than your typical kid fare.

It’s also a positive song. The lyrics talk about loving your body type despite social pressures to be ridiculously thin. Part of me wants to play it on a constant loop, in hopes of permanently locking self-acceptance into my little girls’ brains.  Like buying emotional insurance for the teen years.

On the other hand, the song also includes cussing and lines about men preferring big butts. And as much as I love watching my girls rock out to lyrics about every inch of them being perfect, from the bottom to the top, I don’t want them dropping S-bombs in mixed company.

Before having kids, I never considered censorship dilemmas in such hair-splitting detail. Where do we draw the line? For example, my girls also became instant fans of Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s, after they caught me dancing to it around the living room one morning.

IMG_3994
Toddler dance party

One awesome thing about toddlers is their natural grasp of silly behavior. Most people would’ve laughed at me flailing around the living room, but my kids needed no explanation. They jumped right in and danced their hearts out as the lady sang about dumping clingy boyfriends across the world. Because toddlers think dance parties are a completely reasonable use of one’s time.

I couldn’t bear to break up the fun, but part of me worried about whether the song was appropriate. By content, Ex’s & Oh’s is definitely naughtier than All About That Bass, but at least it doesn’t involve swearing. Swearing tends to shock people, especially from the mouths of babes.

So, which is worse: a song using words that, if repeated, could inspire accusations of being born in a barn, or a song with lots of femme fatale double-entendre?

The latter could be the more dangerous influence on Brontë, who is already showing signs of becoming a heartbreaker. Last month, for instance, she informed her father that she would HAVE to marry a boy someday because girls are supposed to marry boys.

Hoping to sidestep any potential identity issues, her dad told her, “You don’t have to marry a boy. You can marry whomever you want.”

Brontë paused to consider this for a moment before answering, “Well then, someday I want to marry TWO boys.”

You can see my dilemma.

Of course, when mentioning all this to my family, I watch amused vindication spread across my mother’s face. She smirks while reminding me that I used to know every last lyric to Aldonza’s song in Man of la Mancha, back when I was Brontë’s age.

Born on a dungheap to die on a dungheap, a strumpet men use and forget,” she tells me. “You would sing this constantly, at the top of your lungs, when you were THREE YEARS OLD! I didn’t know what to do.”

And I find the story reassuring because it throws me, for a moment, back into my three-year-old perspective…

aldonza
She eats Barbies for breakfast

I can still remember being utterly clueless about what the song meant. I had no idea it was about a 16th century hooker. All I knew was that Sophia Loren was the coolest, most awesome woman my three-year-old eyes had ever seen.

Up until that point, my world of girlness consisted of skinny blonde Barbies with permanent, painted-on smiles. Glittery princesses wearing wedding-cake dresses, eating creampuffs in-between fairy tea parties and unicorn rides. They were pretty and non-threatening, always happy and calm. More perfect than I could ever be.

Then along comes this dark-haired, cat-eyed Italian woman with round hips, messy hair, and tanned boobies swelling out of her ratty clothes. She actually yelled at people, spat on the ground to show her disgust. She was good, but could also be angry, like me. Unlike the gentle flowery  princesses floating around Glittertown.

I was impressed.

I just knew, deep in my three-year-old heart, that I’d seen the face of The Goddess. All the cheerful pink princesses were just her handmaidens in disguise.

None of the darker subtext seeped in because children are innocent. All I saw was a beautiful woman speaking her mind, standing up for herself.

And I’m hoping that’s the part that takes when my girls hear songs like All About That Bass on the radio: a woman who accepts herself will tell anyone who doesn’t think she’s pretty enough to move along.

Or Trainor’s other song, Your Lips Are Moving, that my girls also dance to. It says that a man who treats you badly isn’t worth keeping, even if he sweet-talks you and buys you diamond rings.

Pay attention, girls. There’s gonna be a test.

 

 

18 Comments

    1. Ha, that’s so true! They like what they like and any resistance is futile 🙂

      I love her too–and can’t blame the kids for wanting to hear her. It cracks me up how she sings badass songs while wearing cupcake colors and flowers in her hair.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I hope so. I didn’t understand them when I was little, so they probably don’t either. Not that the messages are bad, but… Repeating them could give people the wrong idea 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHAHAHA! You know they probably don’t understand what they’re saying… I think it’s more about what they say in front of other people.

      I’m worried my girls will start saying “you know that shit ain’t real” like the song does. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes such tough questions. I think these songs are to them what Sophia Loren was to you for sure, fun without understanding the context. I personally would be more worried about the cuss words only because my 2 year has been dropping F bombs recently. My husband asked her where she heard that. Her answer was “from Daddy”. Soooooo yeah. . . .
    Now when your girls start get to where they do understand the context can you let me know so I can note that age?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s kind of what I was thinking. I don’t think they understand the songs, but I’m worried about S and B bombs in mixed company.

      Course, Brontë sometimes uses S bombs in the right context, with the right stress and everything, haha. It’s actually hilarious, but I want to discourage it.

      I will let you know! I’m guessing it’s somewhere around the fifth grade 🙂

      Like

      1. Oh man it’s so hard when they use it right tone and context. Sometimes my husband or I has to walk away because we are laughing too hard.
        A door we were trying to go out was stuck, and Riley said, “Well f**k.” Um it was so casual it was alarming.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha, yes! I’ve had to walk away too, to go laugh somewhere else. Like the time Brontë threw her arms up and said, “Well SH*T, I just crapped my pants!” (She had)

          Totally agree about them saying it casually, lol. My husband and I always look sideways at each other, remembering to watch our mouths 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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