Thursday, January 24, 2013

Genetic Disposition

It's official.  My child is clearly not my child.  If it weren't for the fact that sweet Jack is the spitting image of his daddy at the same age, I'd have to wonder if my son was somehow switched at birth when I was clearly too doped up and medicated on those awesome painkillers to notice.

Anyone who knows me (and I mean really knows me) knows that I suffer from a rare condition, one that has no official medical name, yet has had a significant affect on me since about the age of 10.  True confessions time - I know nothing about popular music.  Seriously.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

I blame it on my father.  As a kid, I watched the likes of Lawrence Welk, perched on my daddy's knee, rattling off the names of the different instruments in the background band.  On Sunday nights we listened to the NPR series 'Concerts, Overtures, and Encores' where I became familiar with the likes of Beethoven, Bach, and Debussy.  When it came to 'popular' music of the times, I was subjected to the musical tastes of my parents (like all kids) who were all 'down with' the total 1970's superstars like Barry Manilow and John Denver (who we listened to on 8-track in the motor home.  Yes folks, we were that cool.)

As I grew older, I spent most of my time at the ballet studio daydreaming of Baryshnikov and bemoaning pointe shoe blisters - not hanging out with girlfriends reading Judy Blume books or listening to pop music of the mid-80's.  I suppose I was a Classical Music Dork.  So be it.

All was fine and dandy until I stopped dancing and spending every waking minute either at the studio or plotting my eventual break into ballerina stardom.  I entered the teenage world of walkman's and boom boxes in the late 1980's - 1988 to be exact - and was woefully behind the curve of all things 'cool.'  Rap music was starting to come into the scene (I remember my bootlegged copy of Young MC that I blasted from my tape deck - not really knowing why except that it was supposed to be the 'thing' to do) along with the first Boy Bands (New Kids On The Block, anyone?) that I made recordings of from the radio because I was too shy to actually set foot in a music store and admit I didn't know the first thing about where to look or what to buy.

I completely missed the era of classic rock and roll - as well as the Big Hair bands that my older brother was so fond of.  (I never did understand boys 'ratting' their hair and wearing more make-up than I did.)

SO.  I flitted around through high school - dabbling in different groups of friends who introduced me to all sorts of music genres. From punk to country, I was all over the place.  Enter college - the most liberal of liberal arts colleges on the planet - and I was exposed to even more types of music - the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Counting Crows, and the Samples to name a few.

Somewhere in all of that convoluted mix I came to realize that I like all sorts of music - and can't typify myself by one particular genre.  Which was a good thing, for the most part, until my future spouse came along who was/is SO into music and just couldn't/to-this-day-can't understand how I didn't/still-don't know ALL the lyrics to ALL the classic Allman Brothers songs.  (Whatever, Deonne.... I still don't understand how you grew up as a BOY in the 1980's and never saw a Star Wars film.  So there.)

Musical differences aside (obviously) we married and reproduced.  And, subsequently, all three of our children have loved music since the day they were born.  I think there's something inherent in babies to rock and sway to the rhythm and beat of music around them.  I get that.

What I don't get is my youngest child.  Jack.  He must have obtained some musical genetic material from Deonne's DNA - because that child is a rock star if there ever was one.  He's completely into music.  Case in point:  Last weekend Deonne had some classic 'rock and roll' playing in the backyard off of Pandora. (But don't ask me what it was - cause I don't know.)  He and I were discussing something in the kitchen and we happened to look out the window and see Jack - wiggling and shaking to the musical groove.  The interesting part, though, was when he suddenly stopped.  Seemingly frozen in place.  We were two stories up, and it was difficult to see exactly what he was doing, so Deonne went downstairs to check.  He returned shortly thereafter, grinning, to tell me that Jack wasn't just frozen in place.  No, he was stopping to play his air guitar - fingering the air guitar strings along with the guitar solo he was listening to.

Huh?  My child?  Where did he learn that?  Certainly not from me - and as far as I know - he hasn't been watching MTV (wait - do they even play music videos on MTV anymore?)

But the true realization that my son is clearly not mine came two days later when Jack and I were en route to his pre-school.  I was flipping through the radio - trying to find a suitable song for him to either play air guitar or air drums to, something he could really get into.  I stopped at what I thought was a great song - something that I think was by Dave Matthews (but don't quote me - considering my rare condition and all) - only to be fussed at by Jack.

Jack: "It's NOT rock and roll, MOMMY!  I only like rock and roll!"

Me: "It IS rock and roll, Jack."  (thinking, hello - it's not country or classical or jazz music)

Jack:  "It's NOT!  Rock and Roll goes like this ..." (insert humming/air-guitar strumming of some classic rock song that I recognized but couldn't identify if my life depended on it.)

Fantastic.  Usurped in musical knowledge by my three-year old son.

What's next?

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