Saturday, March 26, 2011

Makin' music

For those of you who allow your kids to watch tv (and for those who don't - God bless you!), I'm sure you struggle as I do to find that balance between letting them have a little diversion/watching movies that are nostalgic for you/seeing shows kids their age are watching (who wants to be the only one who doesn't know who Buzz and Woody are?), and not letting them watch so much as to go into a vegetative state on the couch.

(The devil himself)

What starts as one weeknight watching a 20 minute show while I fix dinner inevitably turns into a few 20 minute shows the next night to allow me to get some after hours work emails sent, and by the weekend we are watching a movie or two (or more) with all of us just vegging out on the couch. This is all via Netflix, online videos, and DVDs, as we do not have cable. The problem seems to be that the more tv Hank watches, the more he wants, and it soon becomes an all-consuming desire. During these phases, it is the first thing he asks for in the morning, and if he doesn't get what he wants, he throws a big tantrum.

(The devil's helper - a comfy couch)

Now here's the kicker. If we wean Hank off the television drug for a couple of days, he doesn't seem to care much about tv at all - doesn't even ask for it. I recall Sharilyn recounting a similar experience with her daughter. The challenging part is getting him through the withdrawal period. The latest favorite movie around here is Bambi. He could watch it over and over again, and it is adorable to see how happy he gets when the animals laugh, or when he imitates Thumper sliding around on the ice. Despite the cute factor, I saw the signs that we were getting to that overdose point again. One day I put my foot down and said no to watching Bambi, but suggested that we listen to it instead.

Remember the record player? We have 20 or so old kid's records in the collection from our childhood (I also have about 50 old 45s at my parents' house that I am itching to give Hank when he gets a little older!) Bambi is one of the records, and it even has a book inside (this is common with the 45s, but only a few of our larger records have books).

There was some tantruming to be sure, but then his eyes lit up as he heard the same songs he likes from the movie version. We sat together reading the book. When that record was over, we looked for more records to listen to. We made it through the day with no tv - pshew! The next day the first thing he talked about when he woke up was listening to records. We listened to Sergeant Pepper's, Johnny Cash, a Best of Disney album, and Frosty the Snowman (ugh). We pulled out our basket of instruments and played along.

This has been an ongoing effort from the start to put together a large collection of instruments. Some we bought before Hank was born, and more were added around his birthday and for Christmas last year. I remember kinda going crazy one night buying a bunch of inexpensive percussion toys off of Amazon. I plan to order more for gifts this year and for party favors. Can you imagine how much better received a two dollar egg shaker would be received as a favor than some cheapy party store favor bag? The basket of instruments is the most played with item when friends and cousins come over. Here are the instruments we have and sources if you are interested

Top row: Bells
Second row: Bongos (thrifted), accordion
Third row: Tambourine set (originally Oompa Toys), slide whistle (Cost Plus), flutophone, train whistle (dollar store), kazoo (Cost Plus), maraca (Target dollar section), jingle tap, harmonica (Cost Plus?), triangle

Other instruments in the house include the guitar and ukulele shown (BT plays the uke, I can sorta get through Horse with No Name on the guitar), a stylophone, and a melodica (very hard to play!) The lap harp shown in the nursery pic was returned because it wasn't put together well - still on the look out for one of those. And buying a vintage lap dulcimer and learning how to play it is on my bucket list.

Anyway, glad we have found a substitute for the tv drug this round, and hope we can cut back on usage for some time.

If you were wondering what a donkey call sounds like, here you go.

Opening your mouth is not required, but perhaps it is like women putting on eye makeup, and is just one of those involuntary reflexes.

(My favorite song that uses a donkey call + lots of other cool percussion)


Recent fave: Would love to have a whole pantry devoted to homemade mixes, like this.

Working on: Need to look back on my list of projects I planned to get done this month and failed miserably at completing...


Mama said...

My kids are addicted too. On days when we stay really busy though, by the time we get home and they get to watch a few minutes, they just ultra focus on the tv. It's nice because there is NO fighting or talking at all for that matter.
I was given a record player but it's broken. I would love to get it fixed because I have a Chipmunk Punk album that I have been dying to hear. :)

leslie said...

ok, i just freaked out on the new tv but chris said you've had it for year. hmmmmm.... where have i been then?

miss you!!

oh and i am looking at getting one of those LOOG guitars, have you seen it? i posted a link on my facebook page. brent might be interested in it. it's a guitar the helps kids learn to play.

urban craft said...

we got rid of cable and it was the best thing! And the instruments are awesome for a little one. Looks like you got quite a record collection. Maybe you need some turntables and you can have a baby DJ?