Since his 6th birthday, W. has been increasingly interested in being cool. The first time it really leapt out at me, he was working hard on developing cool handwriting – I can remember doing that so clearly, although I think I was a good bit older.
One day recently he accidentally put together a fashion statement that had other kids following him around like he was a rock star; it took a week before I noticed he had been swapping it for the clothes that were laid out for him and wearing it every day. A shopping trip for a few more acceptably iconic t-shirts headed off a major hygiene dilemma. (This outfit consisted of – in case your child could use more adulation – black jeans with gray pinstripes, a white long-sleeved shirt with a black skull print, a black t-shirt with a white image of lightning, and – I think this is the key – a gold Mardi Gras necklace he got from his grandma.)
And then there’s the pop culture – in books, he’s fully a creature of his peers, tearing through Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket. With music, he’s so totally my baby; we got him his own stereo and I’ve been burning him a bunch of mix CDs, and if I have an album on I haven’t listened to in ten years, the tracks he requests copies of are invariably the same tracks I put on my own mix CDs back in the day.
I see several possible explanations for this:
- As I’ve suspected for years, my musical taste is objectively correct.
- I have extremely immature taste.
- I should be an A&R person for music for children.
- W. should be an A&R person for music for middle-aged women.
- W. is extremely mature for his age.
This mix-CD thing is fantastic, as he’ll say stuff like, “Can I invite A. over to listen to the new Kinks album in my room?” like he was from the ’70s.
As far as TV goes, he can tell you every detail of every episode of my favorite show, Pushing Daisies. After all these mind-melds, I started to get a little overconfident.
This weekend, I decided he was ready for Mystery Science Theater 3000. This did not go as smoothly as expected – as my collection is confined to elderly VHS cassettes, I was trying to find something on Netflix streaming that would be appropriate – and sufficiently high-energy to hold a 6-year-old’s interest. The lack of episode numbers, along with my lack of a functional brain, made this a bumpy ride, and after starting and stopping a few Season 1 offerings, he got bored. I told him the secret was to find a Joel episode from one of the middle seasons, but we never made it that far.
The next day he brought it up in passing, and I said maybe we’d try again some other time – I knew people with 8-year-olds who liked it but maybe 6 was a little young.
WELL. Suddenly this all became VERY interesting to him.
His best friend was due for a playdate at 4. Around 3, he disappeared into his room with the iPad and closed the door.
Ten minutes later, he poked his head around the door. “When A. comes, can you tell him I’m in my room watching Mystery Science Theater?”
Ten more minutes. “Is A. here yet?”
“Not until 4, honey.”
“When he gets here, will you tell him I’m in my room watching Mystery Science Theater?”
“I will, but – don’t you want to go meet him at the door?”
“Just tell him I’m in my room watch-”
“OK, I’ve got it.”
(Note: THE FOLLOWING CONVERSATION ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I’m not proud.)
Ten minutes pass. He comes out. “Mommy? I think the Mike episodes are better.”
“I like the Mike episodes better.”
“What do you mean, BETTER?”
“The robots are funnier and the movies are more colored.”
“That’s not even true! You’ve hardly seen – how many have you seen?”
“I’ve seen a couple.”
“You’ve seen like half an hour! You don’t have the information to make that kind of judgment!”
(Aaaaand then I heard myself talking and gained the perspective needed not to get into a Joel vs. Mike debate with a first-grader.) (Which, yes, I recognize I already did.)
I think our relationship will recover from this. I don’t have any strong opinions about Star Trek or about which Darren was better on Bewitched.