28 June 2007

Well I Never

1.

I had heard of Raffi before I had kids, although I had never heard his music. I don't know if he wasn't popular when I was growing up or if I somehow missed the Raffi boat, but I had never even heard of him until my friends started having kids. At that point, I assumed he was some overly commercialized kiddie star, and would always roll my eyes when anyone would say, "Oh, now that we have kids, all we ever listen to in the car is Raffi." Oh, the horror!

One of the twins' first gifts was a board book of Raffi's song "Baby Beluga." It kind of drove me nuts to read the lyrics as a story without knowing the tune. The verse does not exactly flow off the tongue—at least not off mine—without a tune. But I wasn't going to buy a Raffi CD. No way! No how!

Then someone gave the twins one for their first birthday, the very CD I needed: Baby Beluga. I popped it in to give it a listen. Here's the shocker: I love Raffi! (Bet you didn't see that one coming.) He's all about love and family and peace. OK, I have no earthly idea what's up with that crazy song/story/tone poem "Joshua Giraffe," but the rest of the CD is great. I need to get more Raffi!

Crazy.

What other kids' music should I check out?

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2.

For most of this week, I have been at a training for work, stuck in a hotel conference room all day, away from my computer. I had been dreading the training, figuring it would be a waste of my time. Much to my great surprise, I've gotten a lot out of it. I'm exhausted at the end of the day and I'm terribly behind on blogging and reading/commenting, but it's given me small hope that my work could soon be interesting again. Let's hope.

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3.

This doesn't really fit under the heading of "Well I Never," but I want to get it out there. I really appreciate everyone's comments about my in-laws. The suggestions about having them get my neighbor a gift certificate to a local nursery or getting him a plant are great . . . except that there's more to the problem.

I didn't want to get into it in the original post because I was too tired and frustrated, but here's the missing piece of the puzzle: all the plants that were torn up had sentimental value. They came from either my neighbor's mother's garden or from his (now ex-)partner's. He can get cuttings to replace them, but still. He would have been upset if these had been plants that he'd purchased and planted, but that they came from family and friends made it much worse, and make an offering of a nursery gift certificate or plant seem a bit hollow.

I've been thinking that I'd leave him a bottle of wine, but other ideas are welcome.

As for getting my in-laws to make amends, I have to confess that I don't think I have the energy. They aren't going to change. If I thought they'd change, I'd consider it, but plenty of experience shows that they won't. I've already lost a lot of valuable emotional energy making my own peace with my neighbor and my (perhaps misplaced but still present) guilt about the whole situation. I don't need a stressful conversation with my in-laws on top of it all. Of course I will tell the in-laws that they are no longer allowed to do yardwork unless under direct supervision, and I'll tell them that they pulled up some of my neighbor's plants and that he was upset. But I'm going to leave it at that. If they don't think to apologize on their own, I'm not going to push it. I need to let this go and spend my mental energy on something else. I'm sorry to say that the in-laws will likely do something else that tests my emotional reserves sooner rather than later. I need to start banking some reserves for that.

49 comments:

feener said...

other toddler music ...lauri berkner, josh johnson....

Marie said...

I would definitably check out Kids Stuff by The King's Singers. It's a male a cappella group and it's amazing. Also, Judy Dench narrates and reads poetry. I'm in college and I still listen to the CD and have the poetry memorized.

I'm sorry about your inlaws! It seems shallow to say something like "I hope it gets better" when it probably won't, but I hope that it does anyway...

chex said...

Delurking here...we love the Imagination Movers. I sometimes find myself listening to them on the way to work without my son in the car. :)

Jenn said...

They Might Be Giants. Listened to them before I had kids and now they actually make kids CDs.

liz said...

Beethovan's Wig.

Rachel said...

I like Raffi too. We have a lot of hipsterish kids' music, but my daughter actually prefers the old-fashioned sing-a-long stuff. That said, I really like the Mary Has a Little Amp c.d. Also in heavy rotation is Israel Kamakawiwo Ole's medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a Wonderful World. Yes, it's sappy but it gets me every time.

Anonymous said...

My kids are grown now, but my son's favourite song was Baby Beluga, he sang it at the age of 2.5 on stage at our family reunion. Raffi rocks!!!

You have to check out Sue Hammond & the Classical Kids CDs. There are about six of them, your kids are a bit young to understand them, but give it a year or so (they may like listening to the music now). My all-time favourite is Beethoven Lives Upstairs, a story about a boy named Kristof, whose mother rents out a room to Beethoven. Kristof writes letters to his Uncle about the crazy man who has moved in. Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery is my daughter's favourite.
(all but one available from Columbia House USA under "Classical Kids")

You should also check out Fred Penner (Canadian as well). I had three Disney "Children's Favourites" that I can no longer find at a store, that have the older songs such as My Grandfather's Clock, Oh Susanna, The Bear Went over the Mountain, etc. I will check to see if I still have them, can make copies and send to you if you are interested.

Music is great, kids love it, especially if you sing along with them.

louise_mckenzie@yahoo.ca

Indie Mama said...

I second They Might Be Giants, we also love Jack Johnson (the Curious George CD and his other older stuff too). We also have a CD of Sesame songs which are surprisingly palatable...that's about as far down the kiddie music road as I could make myself go.

Bank that emotional reserve. You know your in laws, and if they're not worth the emotional investment, than just don't deal with them...cope with the situations that are cope-able...

Sylvie said...

Hi Snickollet, I just started reading your blog and it's amazing. Never know how to comment b/c everything just sounds trite. Anyway, you are a great writer and it is truly a pleasure to read to your writing. And I am so sorry for your loss.
Every time I try to comment, something goes wrong (power failure, computer failure, blogger failure), but perhaps this will work. As for the neighbor, you inlaws are insane, but maybe he could give you a bit of a break. I mean, like you don't have enough stress /loss / emotional exhaustion in your own life just now? You said sorry on their behalf, you feel really sorry, get him a bottle of wine, and that should be that. Anyway, if I were your neighbor, I would have given you a bye on this one.

Heather said...

Ummm- I love Joshua Giraffe. It is completely bizarro and my older nieces and nephews (4-7) thought it was hilarious. I have a 2 1/2 year old and he is so not into though.

Angela said...

Gotta love Raffi. We even took my daughter to a Raffi concert when she was 2, she loved it. You should check out Sharon,Lois and Bram, they're a Canadian group, I think they may be retired, but their songs are timeless and lots of fun. Have fun dancing and singing with the twins.

halfmama said...

We have an album called "For The Kids" that the twins are loving right now (on amazon) -- it's modern-day singers singing kids' tunes. I hear Dan Zanes is great too. The kids also love the Curious George soundtrack (Jack Johnson sings all the songs; actually, they like any JJ music). Other than that, we just listen to whatever's on the iPod. Nothing funnier than watching your kids groove to Sugarhill Gang!

Glad you will be preserving some energy for future IL episodes. But hate that you even have to. You really don't need that.

Rachel said...

When you explain to your IL's that your neighbor is very upset that they pulled out his plants, mention that they came from his mother's garden. Not that I expect them to have any reaction you'd know about, but they might catch a glimmer of why your neighbor is upset.

Also, Putumayo's World Music for kids CD is fantastic!

denzylle said...

Altho' you cannot replace the sentimental value of the lost plants, plants or gardening vouchers are closer to what was lost than a bottle of wine would be. I'd go with that suggestion.

AMH said...

baby beluga in the deep blue sea, swims to wild and he swims so free... ha ha... I was obsessed with Raffi as a kid. I think we even saw him in concert once!

So sad that your in-laws couldn't respect your neighbor's garden. :( They just seem so... clueless....

J said...

Kids' music? Trout Fishing in America - troutmusic.com. Perennial family favorites include "My Hair Had a Party Last Night," "I Think I'll Need a Bandaid," "It's Mine" (a tango) and many others.

We also like Dan Zanes.

Jolene said...

can't really suggest any music but I do second the Somewhere Over the Rainbow song...I LOVE it and makes me smile every time. In fact, I had it playing at my wedding during a picture slideshow of me growing up. Give it a listen! :) Good luck with things at work. I have personally had a VERY rough work week.

Cate said...

I think you should ask your neighbor. Either talk to him, or leave him a note, saying essentiallly, "I know I can never replace the plants, but I'd like to do something to make it up to you. Is there anything like wine, gift certificate, etc. that would make you feel a tiny bit better?"

But seriously, while I understand the sentimental value and all, he can cut you a bit of slack on this one. They're plants. Your husband died. Maybe he should give you a bottle of wine.

Tracey said...

The two that get played over and over (and over!) in our house are Philadelphia Chickens ("the imaginary musical review") and Dog Train ("a wild ride on the rock and roll side"), both by Sandra Boynton. My son is almost nine and has been listening to Philadelphia Chickens since he was three and to Dog Train for the last year and a bit. He never tires of either one. I think your two would love them even though they're one. I know you would love them for sure!

Lori said...

This will already have been mentioned, but Laurie Berkner, definitely. Also, the "Jack's Big Music Show" Season One CD is pretty good and has a nice mix of music.

A said...

I second the suggestion of Philadelphia Chickens and Dog Train. I find a few of the songs unbearable, but most of them are funny to kids and adults and the music is varied and appealing.

BethGo said...

Try Justin Roberts, Great Big Sun is just a great cd and his newer stuff is even better.
We also love the Curious George movie soundtrack by Jack Johnson. It's very mellow. Sugar Beats are also very good.

You have a great attitude Snickollet. I really admire the way you handle your in-laws.

Hug those babies for me.

BethGo said...

And oh yes, Baby Beluga is a huge hit in our house too. My eldest hated that Joshua Giraffe song when he was little but now at almost six, it's his favorite.

My favorite line, "I'm trapped in a zoo with buffalo poo."
WTH?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned Dan Zanes! Or maybe they did, and I missed it. Dan Zanes is awesome. We recently went to a Dan Zanes concert, and boy was the joint jumping.

I bought a couple of CD's from Land of Nod that I loved. In fact, that was probably where I heard my first Dan Zanes song. The Land of Nod CD's are compilations of music for children, and they are wonderful. Not sappy kid's music, but real music that is suitable for children, blues, rock, etc. They are really good.

www.legalmama.typepad.com

Cathy said...

Plant question - there is a great book - Passalong Plants (by Felder Rushing) - great book with great humor in it. Might want to check that out.

Also, curious George CD from the movie - music is by Jack Johnson, I believe, - I used it alot in my classroom this year and we all loved it, including the adults. (I just noticed some other commenter recommended it also!!)

sadie said...

the muppets have put out a cd with the likes of john denver and linda rondstadt that are fun.

i was a raffi kiddo--- I STILL remember joshua giraffe, and can recite it by memory, along with every other song on baby beluga.(looove that song). also grew up with sharon lois and brahm, and _______jenkins. I can't think of her first name right now, but she was a regular on mister rogers and wrote "my street begins at my house"

i second the commenter re: your neighbor. i feel awful about what your in-laws did, and you would be a jerk if you didn't too, esp. considering the sentimental value of the plants.

HOWEVER, give yourself a break. at the end of the day they are plants. And you, single mom of baby twins, just lost your husband to cancer for godsake. AND "those people" ARE still YOUR inlaws. i'm sure he's a very nice man but i would hope he's got some perspective here.

Anonymous said...

Raffi's Resisto Music is great, too (it's for adults or, as he says, "Beluga Grads," but my kids really enjoy it).

I second the Laurie Berkner and Justin Roberts. My twins (almost 15 months) discovered them on Noggin (Jack's Big Music Show to be exact) and really have fun with their music.

Sarah said...

Billy Jonas is wonderful! Get his "What Kind of Cat Are You" CD.

Anonymous said...

You MUST have Farmer Jason... www.farmerjason.com . Great tunes about animals, and really good music -- Jason is Jason Ringenberg, of Jason & the Scorchers. Terrific, especially if you're an alt country fan. My 3-y-o LOVES it, and I do too.

Shelley

Shelly Kang said...

Sorry, I don't have time to read through all the other comments - my kids are about done with their lunch - but I thought I'd make sure you consider the They Might Be Giants stuff, as well as Not For Kids Only by Jerry Garcia (yes, from the Grateful Dead!) and John Grisman. It's sort of bluegrass type kids music that is beautiful and funny and soothing for small ones. I actually enjoy listening to it as much as the kids.

Mary Ellen said...

Definitely Laurie Berkner! My 2-year-old loves her. And, if you don't want to commit without hearing her first, you can watch her music videos at noggin.com. We are huge fans of the song Victor Vito -- because he eats spaghetti! -- and We Are the Dinosaurs for obvious reasons. (Um...you know... it's fun to be a dinosaur...)

OTRgirl said...

I know nothing about kids' music...

It's cold-comfort, but I was chatting with a Korean friend last night. She mentioned her Mom getting in a situation where her attitude was, "I WILL get my way." I told her the story of your in-laws and she laughed bitterly, "Oh, yeah. My Mom would totally do that."

I also ran it by Jrex. He said his parents would do something like that if they thought it was our yard. In their minds our house is an extension of their house and they can do whatever they want to make it better. If they truly understood it was the neighbor's, they wouldn't, but the basic change-at-will philosophy was the same as your in-laws.

I guess my point (and I'm sure you're well aware of this) is that even if GH were around, they might have done the same thing.

Glory Laine said...

I think you're right on about not "making" your in-laws do anything. You made them aware and you are going to make sure your neighbor feels loved so brush it off your shoulders. You have enough on your plate.
Music. . .Jack Johnson all are kid friendly but especially the Curious George one is fun. I also love the Dragon Tails music very catchy.

luolin said...

I second the vote for Trout Fishing in America. I heard one of their kids' concerts years ago (ie. years before I had a kid) and bought their cds for all my friends with little kids.

susan said...

Justin Roberts and Ralph's World are also good (although some of their songs are a bit for slightly older kids). Putomayo (or is it Music for Little People? I think that might be it) puts out some good collections, like a Child's Celebration of Folk Music. Elizabeth Mitchell.

Kristen D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen D. said...

I don't think having your in-laws buy your neighbor a plant or gift certificate will help (and they don't seem the types that would really follow through with that type of apology anyway!). Plus, a plant from your in-laws would not be meaningful to your neighbor, plus they'd probably just buy him what THEY think he should plant!

But I do think that if YOU bought him a replacement plant, that would be very meaningful for him. Sort of an apology for my crazy in-laws, plus a thank you for being a kind and genuine neighbor and friend.

And then, let it go. You have enough to worry about on your own, and you need to be thinking of yourself and your little ones.

Best wishes,
Kristen

(Had to delete first post. Let's just say...wine drinking and posting create crazy typos!)

Factor 10 said...

I've been lurking for a while, but had to chime in for this one...

Maria Muldar did an album of old songs called "Swingin' in the Rain" that my kids have loved. I love it because it's a lot of the songs my mom sang to me. We're also big fans of the Veggie Tales silly songs, if you don't mind a wee bit of religion thrown in.

winecat said...

Peter, Paul & Mary have a great kids album.

As for the neighbor, I like Kirsten D's post. And I vote for someone slapping your self-centered in-laws upside the head!

Amy said...

I am so sorry about the neighbor situation. Sounds like you have a good relationship with him though. Hoping a full explanation of the in-laws to him is in order. And the offer of helping him regroup his garden.

Sucks that you have to deal with this Shi+ right now. Something hurtful that happened but completely not your fault. Perhaps you should suggest to the in-laws that on their next visit they stay at a nice hotel?

What they did was intrusive and without manners. Regardless of who 'runs' the garden.

(On that note I must say that whenever my MIL visits in the spring my gardens are added to. Ungrateful woman that I am I DO resent the fact she buys annuals for my front planters; does she NOT KNOW THOSE ARE MY BABIES AND MY SPRING PLEASURE?! The urns flanking my front steps are usually MY spring fun. To be planted with much care and thought with the promise of summer. Sniff, then she leaves and I am stuck with whatever she has planted..)

Geohde said...

I just found your blog.

My goodness.

I will try my damndest not to complain about the shit that's happened to me in the last couple of years in the future.

I don't know whether to give my congratulations on the twins, my condolances about your husband or just shut the hell up.

buddha_girl said...

1. I'm going to buy some Raffi stuff at Target this morning.

2. I'm so glad work seems to have some positive possibilities these days!

3. I agree with you on the sentimental value of the plants destroyed by your in-laws. I knew that when I suggested the gift cert. *sigh* Suffice it to say there's nothing more you can do. It's in your in-law's court. They'll likely do nothing if we use past history as a judge.

You're too right about letting it go and using your mental energy and emotion on POSITIVE things.

You're plugging along, sister. I'm proud of you!

PS
Loved the card. You made me smile in a horrific thunderstorm while driving to work. *grin*

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure you want my advice on the neighbor situation but, as a person who's had plants that neighbors in the same building destroyed, I have an inkling of how upset he is and why. If you're a gardener, your plants are your *babies* and it's like someone ripped your heart out if they destroy one of them.

And I think I know what *I* would want as an apology if I were in his shoes.

First of all, I would *not* want a bottle of wine. Maybe it's jut me, but a bottle fo wine would be offensive to me. I drink wine all the time. When the wine is drunk the empty bottle goes in the recyclables. Nothing is left.

The beauty of a plant is that it grows, changes, requires nurturing, has a story behind it . . . a plant is completely different. I would be offended if someone acted as though my plant-related injury could be addressed with a bottle of wine.

I would be happier, though, if I got a gift certificate to a local nursery. That's what you want to do all the time if you're a gardener anyway: buy plants, soil amendment, fertilizer, etc.

A trip to the nursery feeds your imagination, heals your heart, makes you happy on a sad day, gives you hope for the future, allows you to daydream about all the beautiful things that are going to happen.

But again, it would have to be a pretty significant gift certificate -- like, $200. Again, something trivial like $20 might piss me off more than nothing at all -- sort of like the person giving the gift thought my sorrow meant nothing that a single african violet couldn't address. (I do sound difficult, don't I? But so much of a gardener's heart is involved in her plants. It's such a profound outrage to see your plant destroyed by a willful act.

The kind of gift certificate I'm talking about is a lot of money. Your in-laws should pay for it. NOT because you think you can get them to change, but because they owe it to your neighbor and to you. It's the least they can do.

No they're not going to change but they should do this one small thing.

anonlurkermom said...

Just stopping by and I can't believe no one has mentioned Tom Chapin (yes, Harry's brother). He is fabulous! It's the kind of music you find yourself leaving on after the kids have left the car! The best part is on each album he takes a classical song and adds lyrics. Just beautiful.

Bethany said...

Laurie Berkner, definitely! Her DVD (We are the Laurie Berkner Band) is great, and all her CDs are fun. We especially like Under a Shady Tree and Victor Vito.

Jack Johnson's Curious George soundtrack is lovely.

VeggieTales Silly Songs CDs are quite hilarious even for adults to listen to, and if you are wary of the religious aspect, there really isn't that much of it in the silly songs. They're mostly nonsense songs about things like losing a hairbrush, loving your lips, a fictional soap star called Barbara Manatee, or waiting in the drive-thru all night to get a cheeseburger. And the music is good.

Kristen said...

I can't believe no one has mentioned John Lithgow, yes, of "Third Rock From the Sun"! His "Singing in the Bathtub" CD (minus one horrible song that I always skip, and deleted when I loaded it into iTunes) is funny, sweet and creative.

MommyBee said...

I agree with those who recommended the Sandra Boynton CDs--Philadelphia Chickens is my favorite, but Rhinoceros Tap and Dog Train are also quite good.

On the subject of your neighbor, I'm so sorry that your inlaws were that thoughtless. I think they deserve a heavy guilt trip that emphasizes the sentimental value of the plants they ruined. To your neighbor, maybe say something like, "I know I can't replace the plants my inlaws removed, but I'd like to get you a gift certificate to a nursery to try to make it a little better. Would that be all right?" Good luck.

Dorcasina said...

Music we love:

Ditto the "Philadelphia Chickens" recommendation. I love it, too--always a plus.

If you want something edgy, try "The Bottle Let Me Down" (I think there are two volumes out now) by Bloodshot Records. Alt-country folks doing some funny, great songs. Kelly Hogan's "Rubber Ducky" is positively...erotic.

Also, Ella Jenkins did many children's albums, often featuring children's choirs, of music from around the world. We really, really like "Ellabration," a tribute to her by other artists, as well as any of her stuff.

And "A Child's Celebration of Folk Music" (amazon) is also terrific.

Stephanie said...

So sorry about your in-laws. I have issues with mine and the frustration levels are beyond tolerable. I finally decided that their complete disregard for everything I ask them NOT to do, isn't so much a disrespect thing as much as a totally ignorant thing. My in-laws, and perhaps yours, live in their own little world and can't really comprehend basic human emotions and interactions in the way that most of us take for granted. In a way their lack of emotional intelligence is sad. At least that's the only thing that gets me through meetings with my in-laws. My husband has decided that they are old and losing it. Whatever gets you through, I guess.