In the midst of all the parenting advice thrown at me over the years by well-meaning strangers, fretful family members, and bothersome busybodies, I remember hearing: "Don't play all that Wiggles crap for your kid. Unless you want to go out of your mind, start 'em off right, listening to the stuff you like. Otherwise, you'll be driving around jamming to Baby Beluga for the next 20 years. And who needs that?"
So, my bumptious bundle was tossed about to the jolly rhythms of the Beatles and Prince and Lyle Lovett. He's much older now, but still at an age which is the focus of Kids' Blech. Just as frightening, he's entering the age at which the next teen sensation --- some otherworldly offspring of a Hanson and a Simpson --- will be marketed squarely at him.
I've done my best: watching Yellow Submarine with him; playing Sam Cooke; teaching him Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly lyrics; laughing along to They Might Be Giants; attending RPO and Eastman jazz concerts. We had our first test last weekend.
We entered the overly hallowed Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland. As in every other museum, he looked for favorites and ignored large areas. He learned a little more about some artists who had only scratched his surface. He was desperate to ensure that his two favorites had been inducted: "I knew the Beatles would be there because everybody likes them, but I wasn't sure about the Who." He rested easy when he saw their signatures etched on the roll of honor. And we can both sing along to My Generation.
--- Craig Brownlie
After a summer of begging for permission to ride their bikes unsupervised to the shopping plaza a half-mile away, friends Kayleen Miller and Kyle Jarvis, ages 13 and 12 respectively, tried a new approach. They wrote this letter to their mothers:
We are sorry to bother you at this busy time but we have run across a problem and would like to discuss this in the most mature manner as possible. It seems we have a disagreement. We are becoming older and more mature. We have finally grasped the joys of freedom. We are becoming "tweens" as you said yourself and are getting more responsible (like with our chores).
But we have yet to receive the level of self satisfaction that we obtain when we know we have your trust to make the right decisions. Now we know that you think this is all fun and games, but believe us its not. We are receiving many life lessons, and we are learning one of the most efficient and important lessons: budgeting.
Yes, we use our own money. We spend most of our time counting and carefully managing our money. Like today, we split a piece of pizza in half and we purchased the cheese instead of the pepperoni for the simple matter of it being less expensive. We will survey almost every store in the plaza just to find the most inexpensive drink.
There are many life lessons yet to learn on our journey. These lessons will prepare us in advance into our journey into adulthood. We have some demonstrations to give before we part. Please keep an open mind to our well organized thoughts.
The kids then showcased their proficiency with walkie talkies and cell phones. Their efforts paid off. They are now allowed to ride to the plaza.
--- Jennifer Loviglio
Goin' Batty Family Halloween Party Sat-Sun, Oct 29-30. Strong Museum, 1 Manhattan Square. Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. | Mon, Oct 31: Preschool Halloween Party, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Admission: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org
Trick n' Treat Village Fri-Sun, Oct 28-30. Stone Barn Castle, 737 Stone Barn Rd, Cleveland, NY. Fri 6-9 p.m., Sat 12-9 p.m., Sun 12-6 p.m. $4. 315-675-3602, www.stonebarncastle.com
Valentown Hall Spooktacular Weekends through Oct 30. Valentown Museum, Rte 96, Victor. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $2-$6.50. 924-4170, www.valentown.org
Zoo Boo Sat-Sun, Oct 29-30. Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St Paul St. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-WILD, www.senecaparkzoo.org