A disclaimer, before I begin... When I write ANYTHING on this blog, I'm generally commenting on a situation as it applies to our family. If your family does x, y, or z differently, I don't necessarily mean that I disagree/disapprove of your choices, I'm only talking about what works for the people under this here roof. I think most of you know that, but just in case... I feel a couple of posts brewing that I feel might be difficult to write without inadvertently offending someone. We'll see.
A couple of weeks ago I saw a Facebook update from a local music venue, announcing that they'd added a concert by The Fresh Beat Band to their summer lineup. I'll admit my immediate reaction was totally hokey - I actually got choked up. Why? Because Harper LOVES The Fresh Beat Band and I knew she would lose her mind with excitement over the idea of seeing them in concert. Matt and I discussed it and decided to go ahead and buy a couple of tickets. Since there aren't really any gift giving occasions between now and the concert, we did tell Harper she was going to have to work this summer to earn her ticket. We'll have her do various jobs around the house and yard (dog duty if you know what I mean) because we aren't complete pushovers, and the tickets were not that cheap for a kiddie concert. Harper is nearly out of her mind with excitement - it was so much fun to show her the tickets.
Sometime recently I was looking at the Facebook page of the venue and I noticed that a parent of one of Harper's school friends had commented on the concert announcement saying she was so glad her daughter was out of that phase. Initially I had a moment of panic, wondering if we were going to end up at a concert primarily attended by toddlers. And it got me thinking. So what?
I don't think many people who know Harper would claim she is immature. But we have been pretty careful with the media influences in our home. I don't try to shelter the kids from the outside world and I am very frank in answering questions about difficult topics. Currently this pertains more to Harper than to Michael, he isn't asking those kids of difficult questions just yet.
My children rarely watch something that isn't preschool television. We do watch the occasional more mature movie, but only with pretty careful vetting and an awareness of our kids' particular sensitivities. I'm careful about what kind of music they listen to and we do have children's music in fairly heavy rotation. We rarely listen to the radio unless it is NPR in the car. They do listen to some adult music, but again I'm aware of the lyrics and pretty cautious.
Even when it comes to toys, we probably skew a little younger than the children actually are. Not in games and books necessarily, but certainly in terms of playthings. Both kids still love the Fisher Price Little People sets and Harper specifically asked for more furniture for her Loving Family Dollhouse for Christmas. Michael has some Little People superhero stuff, but none of the regular action figures yet. I'm not necessarily opposed to these in the long run, but I know his play will be increasingly violent with more adult looking figures and I don't see any reason to introduce him to that if he's not asking for it.
So yes, we're going to see The Fresh Beat Band. And we watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And we listen to Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Justin Roberts. And there are still Little People underfoot. Oh, and when Harper had ballet pictures on Tuesday, I didn't even put any make up on her.
I think keeping some of these big kid influences at bay is good for my kids. And I have the luxury of doing so because my seven-year-old doesn't happen to have any older siblings. Will Michael be exposed to some things earlier than Harper was? Of course.
There's no Star Wars here, or Harry Potter (for the kids), or Transformers, or make up beyond chap stick, or pop to drink. I'm not saying never, I'm just saying not now. Because I am a killjoy. And because this works for us. And mostly because there is time. Lots and lots of time. For all of it.