Monday, January 17, 2011

Hair of the Dogg

This post is on my brain.  So much so that instead of starting my new regimen of going to bed early or when I'm tired, I'm writing it.  Also because it relates to tomorrow night.  Once again, I have made a parenting decision and am shocked at the negative feedback by friends to my choices.   Let's be clear, I am not second guessing myself.  I am seeing more how there are so many ways to look at every situation.  Where I see an exciting opportunity, others may not agree.  Even when those others are people I trust a lot.

I'll start by saying that I love music.  I especially love live music.  I went to my first concert in the 7th grade with a friend and her dad.  The Kinks!  What I remember most is how many times Ray Davies changed outfits, not the lyrics.  The only time I obsessed about the lyrics was when it was the Violent Femmes singing "Add it up".  Where I grew up, we had tons of opportunities for live music.  For me, it was a mainstay.  As I grew older, I still made sure to see shows that interested me.  As a parent, I still see live shows.  Things that I notice are that I like more intimate shows now or being close.  Also, prices are soooo expensive.  My recollection is that for $20 I could get a ticket for the show, and a t-shirt.  But, that was almost 30 years ago.  With prices of shows now, and festival styling, how would my kids ever get to see live music to the extent that they want to compared to how I did?

My mom would be happy to know that I don't like most of my kids' music choices.  My oldest listens to a station that sounds like a morning shock show all the time.  They do like some of my music, but prefer the new fangled stuff.  When #1 was 8, before he jumped into the world of pop and hip-hop, I took him to "Not so silent night".  It was a mix of bands that I swore if they ever played together again, I'd be there, regardless of the venue.  It was at an arena and our friend's husband couldn't come.  With an extra ticket, I felt that it would be a great way to let #1 see live music that we both enjoyed.  At the time, his favorite band was the White Stripes and bands like the Killers, Deathcab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand were of a similar fashion.  What happened that night was interesting to me.  He slept through one band and loved one that I didn't care for (not listed above).  It also sparked the interest in live music.

So, since that night, when he hears on the radio that bands are coming to town, he begs to go.  None of this music sounds good to me.  Also since that night, #2 has been indoctrinated into live music.  She got to see Jack Johnson at the Greek in Berkeley.  A lovely venue and singer all in one.  She would have never chosen it, but really had a nice time.  I have also been heard saying that I will always see live music, even if it is a band I don't care for.  This is not new.  I took my then boyfriend, now husband, to Dire Straits.  Yuck.  But it was live and I still had fun.

Fast forward to now.  Snoop Dogg is coming to the Fillmore.  I have never seen a bad show at the Fillmore.  It is a beautiful venue.  I want my kids to appreciate where as much as who they are experiencing with music.  The Fillmore is a great place for this.  Snoop seems like a compromise.  He's a bit old school and less ridiculous or transparent as current newbies.  He has kids, is laid back and has some good beats.  I think he's even been on Nickelodeon shows that my kids watch.  It is an all ages show, so I got 3 tickets.  #1, #2 and me.  A friend would have joined us, but the show sold out.  Tickets weren't cheap, but since it's a location I love and show I'd like to see, it should be worth it.

I have restricted music #1 wants to download based on lyrics.  I don't care for Flo rida's lyrics and his redo of "Right Round".  To be honest I haven't paid too much attention to the rest of lyrics since then.  Until #1 had a homework assignment of an essay on a song of choice.  He printed it out, blacked out the inappropriate stuff and went on his way.  The next day I looked at the lyrics sitting on my computer screen (the boy never closes out his documents).  Um, so not okay on the lyrics.  The whole song would really have to be blacked out due to sexual content and innuendo.  I guess I should be happy that all of the innuendo went over his head and he had no clue.  When he got back from school I explained that the song couldn't be used due to sexual content.  His reaction was "eeew".  I'll take it for now, but see this as an opportunity to talk about these types of topics in the not so distant future.

When friends and such have heard I was taking the kids to see Snoop Dogg, most reactions were about the potential for the kids seeing "smoking".  I think I'll be okay on that since their reaction to people who smoke is "don't they know they're going to die from that?" and "who was the Beatle who died from smoking?"  My main objective was to have them keep their judgement to themselves to discuss after the show without pointing fingers.  Then a good friend was so appalled with the idea.  Not for the smoking, but for the content.  It really caught me by surprise.  Was I doing my kids a disservice exposing them to this?  Weren't they already exposed to this?  "Yes," he said, "but, not in person".

I still stand by my decision, but it has prompted me to obsess about the logistics.  I know the kids can't stand for multiple hours at a time.  My plan was to get there early and perch on a wall near the bar that I usually like to hang near.  I'll remember the ear plugs.  Hmm, with only one adult, how will the logistics of the restrooms work out?  Seeing the show is one thing, but do I feel comfortable sending my boy to the restroom by himself?  How do I wait for him without leaving #2 or lose our spots?  Well, no bathroom breaks until after the show is my plan.  Not really sure how it will work out.  There is also a section upstairs with balcony seating.  I have never been early enough for these seats.  I guess we'll have to get there when the doors open and work it out.  It's an adventure.  One I hope we all enjoy.

The more I write, the more opportunity I see for open dialogue.  My rule has always been that I will expose the kids to things we enjoy.  If they abuse it, they will have restrictions.  This has been in place for swearing, content and the like.  With a 4 1/2 year old still amongst us, we all have to watch what we say/do.  So far, they have handled the responsibility pretty well.  Last year, I played hooky with #1.  A day he planned for us.  I asked him if he and his friends talked about girls.  He said, "no way, we talk about swear words".  I realized then that there is still room for interpretation and opportunity for discussion.  I also realized that it may be the perfect time to discuss it since we all know it's in the future. I can't shield my kids from everything imaginable, but I can control the content we discuss.  I see tomorrow as one of those opportunities.

p.s. Is $50 + t-shirt $ the new $20?  That's crazy talk!

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