Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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Best Kid Music...According to Me

This post was difficult to start because it's so hard to narrow down the best music for kids that's out there. So, I've tried my best to give you the music that has stood the test of time in our house as well as one newcomer. I hope you'll comment about your favorites so I can write a new post with your feedback!

Laurie Berkner Band - You may have seen her band in between shows on one of the children's cable stations. These songs are the songs you are singing to yourself while you wash the dishes or fold clothes. They just get STUCK in your head which, in my opinion, is the sign of a good song. We have a dvd of her music, which is really fun because she and Susie and Adam dance around and just look like they are having a total blast. My favorite (not sure what the kids would say...) is "You're a Mess" - we sing that song all the time.

Thanks and Giving All Year Long - This is a little bit of a cheat because it's music AND stories. It's Marlo Thomas' follow up to her album you probably heard as a child: Free to Be You and Me, this time with some heavy hitters like Jimmy Buffet, Sheryl Crow, Wayne Brady, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Kevin Bacon, James Earle Jones and many others. It is a fabulous cd to keep in the car's cd player because the songs and stories are very short but memorable and highly entertaining. I would encourage you to also consider the companion book. It has much more content than the CD as well as the music for all the songs so if you play piano or guitar or another instrument, you can play these catchy songs for your children. My kids and I have had tons of fun singing "Give it to me" over and over. And of course the best part is that 100% of the proceeds go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Here Come the ABCs - This is one of They Might Be Giants' children's albums, filled with fun tunes about all kinds of educational subjects - vowels, countries and the Higglytown Heroes theme (maybe that last one's not so educational but I did like that show). They now have a follow up to this called Here Come the 123s as well. I've always loved "E Eats Everything" - here's a link to a video for this song to give you a taste.

Lemonsquare - This is a new one to me from just recently but you will love it! The music is so bouncy and catchy, you will find yourself tapping your toe along to it while your little one will be bopping in the backseat. If you go to the website, they have the songs playing along while you browse so you can get a good feel for the music. I just love it!
Honorable Mention: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - scary movie/fabulous sing-along music; Cars soundtrack - familiar artists like James Taylor, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley so you'll like it too; Happy Feet soundtrack - a little dark as a movie but some soulful toe-tapping music including Prince.

Monday, March 8, 2010

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The DS is the Bane of My Existence

First off, I have absolutely nothing but respect for the Nintendo DS - this is not a product bashing post. This is a "me-bashing" post - I simply cannot manage the presence of the DS in my house. It is the bane of my existence and it's all my fault...

I have five kids - one son too old to care about DS, one girl (who is mildly interested and has started saying she wants one - God help me) and then three boys, under 10, who are driving me completely crazy!

We now have 2 DS units because one was going to cause me to jump off a tall building. My 9-year-old was the original recipient of one two Christmases ago. He doesn't share this device well so when my 4-year-old would want to play, the older one didn't want to relinquish control. Not only that, he becomes completely deaf when he is playing - oblivious to all, which makes my head explode. The littler one then got upset because he wanted to play and didn't get to so....

This past Christmas, he got one.

Now, it is a way to entertain them and I suppose that's ok. But I also have a toddler...

It's now an exercise in stealth to play the DS in our house because once the baby spies the dreaded device, he demands to hold it. He has no idea what it does, but he knows it's important, makes interesting noises and is in demand. Like a cat, he already understands the value of having something someone wants but he doesn't want to give it up. And I think deep down, he's ok with buggering his brothers by not giving back the DS.

So, here I am, in the middle, trying to keep the DS away from the baby and let the others play theirs, keep the tiny game chips accounted for and not getting sucked up in the vacuum or run through the wash because someone stuffed one in his pocket (that did happen!).

I understand this is self-inflicted. It's my fault. I've gone down the slippery slope and there's no going back up the rabbit hole. I only hope my experiences may help save the reader some heartache 0r maybe you all can send me some ideas on how to manage this better, because I am failing and getting more grey hair by the day. Help.