About halfway through the second trimester, a fetus develops his or her hearing. Kim and I made it a point to have both our boys’ names selected by this deadline. We never wanted to address her bulging belly as “you” or “buddy” or “dude” or “little guy” or “cutie patootie” or “slimy naked alien baby.” We wanted the boys to have their identities from day one. It didn’t matter that from inside the uterine walls, we probably sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher submerged in maple syrup. We just wanted them getting used to hearing the sound of their names. It was important to us.
We were also very excited about introducing them to all types of music. Every Sunday morning, we would bring the iPad dock into bed and pick three songs each to play for our unborn children – 20 to 30 minutes of choices ranging from classic rock, soul, golden oldies, R&B, country, blue grass, folk, alternative, classical, jazz, yacht rock, to the occasional club banger. Now I should warn you because Kim and I are also big pop music apologists, so there was always plenty of Top 40 thrown into the mix. Honestly, Ben got the best of the Sunday morning jams. We didn’t miss a day with him mainly because we didn’t have another miniature human to tend to. With Sam, we were much more occupied and got to it whenever we could. Regardless, both of them are well on their way to annoying the world with exactly how much they know about popular music.
Here are a few fine examples of how we may or may not have ruined our children. You be the judge:
– When Ben plays with baby brother Sam, he likes to cross Sam’s wrists in front his waist and sing, “Oppan Gangnam style!”
– Ben went to his buddy’s 5th birthday party and tried to get everyone in the bounce house to sing “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…heyyyy…and all my people say! Awww…why is nobody else doing it?”
– One night before bed, Kim and I could hear Ben singing while he was in the bathroom dropping a deuce. With the bottom of his t-shirt clenched in his teeth, he entertained us with “I Love It” by Icona Pop.
– I recently picked Ben up from school and in front of me and the whole class, his teacher said, “Ben, tell your dad what you were just singing for everybody.” And without missing a beat, Ben broke into the chorus of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.
– At a barbeque this past summer, Ben tugged on the cargo shorts of the party host while he was grilling burgers and thanked him for playing Robin Thicke.
– One day, Sam was inexplicably calmed by the sight of Lady Gaga performing on SNL.
– And there was that beautiful summer morning when Ben was possessed by the spirit of Ke$ha and decided to wake me up by whispering “we are the crazy people” directly into my earhole.
Okay, I’ll stop here. I don’t want any of you vomiting on your electronic devices.
But seriously though…what are the other options?
Some of you might think we’ve scarred our children for life, but Kim and I would strongly disagree. We are firm believers in a toe-tapping infectious hook. It’s how we were raised. Kim is a valley girl who grew up on a steady diet of the Beach Boys and The Boss and I woke up every weekend in Jersey to the sounds of Neil Diamond crooning from my dad’s tinny stereo speakers. It was a beautiful noise! My first concert was Daryl Hall & John Oates (I have no shame because they friggin’ rule) and Kim broke her hymen on that head-banging outfit known as Peter, Paul & Mary. No, she’s not 60.
If it makes you any happier, Ben sings Queen’s “We Will Rock You” whenever I pass someone on the freeway.
Or is it pop on?