Barney has never been welcome in our home…..

16 Apr

… “Earth Intruders” by Bjork

As I’ve mentioned before in previous postings, my son has high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome. With this being a form of autism, there are quite a few “autistic traits” that stand out with him. He’s obsessive-compulsive with things like time (he has to know exactly what time it is always, and will correct you if you’re off by 1 minute), as well as certain topics. He’ll get on kicks where all he will talk about for weeks on end is one specific thing… whether it’s Sacred Geometry, or the Kennedy assassination, or how he sees religion as completely bizarre and unbelievable (I swear to god this isn’t because of my Atheist influence, because I’ve taught him about ALL religions in case he wants to follow one when he’s older).

One of his little “hang-ups” is that he CAN NOT STAND the sound of kids singing. I don’t know if it’s the pitch of their voices, or the fact that children’s music is usually grating and annoying to the point of madness… but even as a baby, if someone tried to put on one of those “sing along” cd’s, he’d cover his ears and scream. This was frustrating to his teachers when he was in preschool, and during music class in elementary school… and he’s since learned to just patiently “block it out” and not react so explosively. But because of this, even as a baby, he preferred to listen to “grown up music”. For example, when he was a baby, he loooooved Moby and Fugazi.

This completely saved my sanity. I HHHHHAAAATTTTEEEE “kids music”. That’s the one thing I was dreading about having a baby… is that I would be forced into the painfully grating world of Barney tunes and “I love you, you love me” sing-alongs. That shit makes me want to tear my ears right off my head- but I was willing to dive into it if it was something that my child was into. I see kids music as insulting. The watered down tunes and mind-numbing simple melodies degrade a child’s ability to take in and appreciate complex sounds. I adore bands like “They Might Be Giants” and “The Evens” for making music for children that doesn’t “talk down” to them. Here is a perfect example of this…. It’s called “Vowel Movement” (I fucking LLLLOOOVVVEEEE Ian Mackaye!!!!!)…..

When Sully was about 2, he found an old Bjork tape of mine, and would sit and pet the picture of her on the cover of it, saying “Oh soooo pretty!” over and over again, and listen to the tape over and over again on his little tape player. Lately, he’s all about “Guided by Voices“, “World Inferno Friendship Society“, and “The Paperchase” (which I don’t know if The Paperchase is mentally healthy for him, but he has relayed to me that he thinks it’s creepy that every song is about wanting to die, or wanting to kill your significant other- but he says he loves the music so much that he can ignore that…. so I let him listen to it as much as he wants). But the new recent obsession is his rediscovery of Bjork. His favorite song is the one that I put on this posting above- “Earth Intruders”. He begs me almost daily to pull up her videos on youtube so he can watch the visual bizarroness that goes along with the wonderful music. One of the reasons I adore her is this video (that I haven’t let him see)…..

I love that little Icelandic firecracker!!

So even though Sully can wear me out to the point of complete mental evaporation at times because of his inability to follow the rules, or because of his knee-jerk temper… I will alway be in his debt for not forcing me into the world of teletubbies, or Barney, or any other mindless bullshit “kiddie-friendly” retardation babble that is responsible for the psychological decline of many mothers out there. Ya wanna know why your mother is nuts, and drives you batty? It’s because she lost her mind when you were a baby by having her brain turned to jello with the crap that made you giggle. So call her and apologized to her for killing her ability to function as an adult.

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10 Responses to “Barney has never been welcome in our home…..”

  1. Abra April 16, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    I found your post from toddling around wordpress. (My toddler is napping.) I wanted to thumbs up your musical approach. I hate kids music, too. How can we expect our children to grow up when we bombard their little ears with rotten dribble! My 2 year old especially enjoys Beth Gibbons, Gorgol Bordello, and Puccini.

  2. Abra April 16, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

    I found your post from toddling around wordpress. (My toddler is napping.) I wanted to thumbs up your musical approach. I hate kids music, too. How can we expect our children to grow up when we bombard their little ears with rotten dribble! My 2 year old especially enjoys Beth Gibbons, Gogol Bordello, and Puccini.

  3. Kristen Ferrell April 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    children’s music doesn’t have to be dumbed down. yes- it should be clear and lyrically more simple… but the MUSIC doesn’t have to make the adults in the room want to set themselves on fire (considering that the little ones will want to hear their favorite tunes no less than 124 BILLION times). i was sooooo lucky that my son found kids’ tunes as irritating as i did. he always wanted to listen to what i listened to. and yes, some of it did have some “bad words”- but for Sully, it didn’t create a “bad word” taboo, so he has never used inappropriate language- the worst he says when he’s really mad is “you’re in idiot!”… and that still gets him in time out (he actually did call one of his fellow classmates a “douchebag” earlier this year… but that totally came from me and my road rage- i scream alot when i drive).
    parents- to save your sanity, it’s TOTALLY ok to take “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round-and-Round” off the record player, and put on “Prince” and have a dance party. Sully and I have had more “Prince”-dance-parties than i could count. and i PROMISE you that your kid will have a ton more fun with it.
    Good job, Abra… i’m glad more mommies out there aren’t having their brains melted by the mind-numbing sing-alongs.

  4. Ashley April 16, 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    I’d let Bjork beat me up. Ruby loves her too. We have those Michael Gondry videos on dvd, and she wants to watch the Bjork videos over and over. Mainly because since she was about 3 people have told her that she looks more like Bjork thatn Bjork does. Ruby has a form of Autism too it’s Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She only likes “real” music, and “real” movies. She will actually get sucked into a horrible movie or show and get extremely angry if you change it. I’ve noticed she loves certain people too, (like she HAS to watch a movie with THEM in it) like Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and Brendan Frasier. She likes Blast from the Past!!! HA! I don’t think anybody else does.

  5. Janai April 17, 2008 at 4:50 am #

    Being 17, I must sadly admit that I did watch Barney-but in my own defense I did not know any better. But besides that, my mom was still living at home when she had me and I grew up around all my aunts but the youngest took care of me so I mostly got 80s music-Prince, Tears for Fears etc and very early 90s music. Plus on top of that, my dad is a big rock and roll and funk fan so I got a lot of 50, 60s, and even 70’s to balance me out. I think of my dad as my music teacher (he was in a band in his youth&taught me the origns of punk-silly kids my age don’t know anything about real music) and because of that I’ve developed a deep appreciation of music and orignal artists-unlike most kids my age.
    If you play an old song for me, i’ll most likely faintly remember the beat but not the words though lol =]

    Oh and yeah about the “bad words” thing, its good he knows not to use them.
    Sometimes I think I prob shouldn’t have been exposed to Billy Idol and Prince though lol

  6. Kristen Ferrell April 17, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    the first, and only, time sully ever used a “bad word” was when he was about 2 1/2. we were playing at a park, and some kid had left this gigantic bouncy ball there. sully tried and tried to pick it up, but because it was so huge, he had a lot of trouble getting his little arms around it. finally, when he successfully picked it up, he came running over to me with it and proudly stated “look mama, i got the fuckin’ ball!!”. it took every ounce of strenth i had to not fall on the ground laughing… but i got down at eye level with him and said “honey, you know that new word you just used? you used it very well, but it’s a grown up word. when you’re a grown up, you can say it as much as you want- but when kids say it, it’s just tacky”. he knew what ‘tacky’ meant, and how in mama’s book the worst thing someone could be was ‘tacky’. so that was that. he never needed me to tell him again what was a “grown up word”, and to not use them. i’ve never used the term “bad word” to him, because i didn’t want him to use language as a form of rebellion- i’ve just always let him know what was appropriate and what wasn’t. and for a little kid to be saying “fuck” isn’t appropriate… and yes, it is very very tacky.
    he did go on a short spree when he was about 4 where whenever he was frustrated he would throw his hands in the air and shout “jesus christ!”. i didn’t care about this- but it fully bothered my mother so i asked him to not say that around her, explaining that it was insulting to her religion and we have to be very respectful of other people’s beliefs (and he hasn’t said it since).
    Sully has no qualms about misbehaving in TONS of other ways- but he’s never been a cusser.

  7. Janai April 18, 2008 at 7:06 am #

    The tacky thing reminds me of my mom.
    I mean I do curse now(I really try not to though) but I wouldn’t dare do it infront of my family, besides the fact that its disrespectful, they’d prob hit me in the mouth lol

  8. freddie April 19, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    hehe me and my dad still fight over who is the rightful owner of the glam rock video. t rex all the way!!

  9. Lex April 20, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Kristen–I didn’t realize this at all! My Grandmother was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s when she was about 82. I’m practically “Borderline” and can “overstem” quite easily. Half of my language geek friends on message boards are Aspies as well. I have had to do a lot of work to learn how to talk to Aspies to finally communicate with my Grandmother (she’s 88 now and on hospice), and was basically the fist person to break through her syndrome. Female Aspies do tend to put up a giant social front though whereas males tend to get hyper-focused on learning things. This is changing though, as the male/female role ideas are changing in society in general.

    Wow, I just had no idea. I’ve been able to help some of my family members with why their kids react certain ways. We’re almost all Borderline Asperger’s with a few full on High Functioning Asperger’s in the mix, but more in the older generation. My kids had to be monitored really hard. But you understand now! This is why I frequently react socially to certain situations (or rather don’t react, or don’t understand things, never reacted appropriately, blah, blah blah).

    I must say though, I do understand the cussing business. I do so so regularly that my kids are even getting ashamed of me I think….HAHA! Otherwise, I’ve just decided to view the world as I view it and screw the non-Aspie component of the world. That’s one great thing about my Aspie friends, they wouldn’t have themselves any other way!

  10. Cassie April 21, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    Lily and I were singing Suffragette City in the truck just 2 days ago! She has always wanted to listen to what I listenend to. It is my fault completly because I would put my headphones on my belly and play music to her for HOURS while I was pregnant. It was the only thing I could do to make her stop kicking.
    Sully is a great kid, even with his AS all the great things about him make you a lucky mom.

    I say pissed and damn around Lily all the time. She has been able to use cuss words in perfect context since she was 2, but she’s only done it about 4 times in her life.
    Ahhh kids. They will be the death of us, but what a ride!

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