Yesterday our family enjoyed one of those rare events that really is as fun for you as it is for the kiddos. As we picked up tickets to Yo Gabba Gabba! Live at will-call it struck me – this was not my older child’s first concert. It wasn’t even her second or third. My daughter has already been to four music venues in New York City that I had previously enjoyed sans children. Is something wrong with this picture?
I swore I would never be like my own mother when she refused to let me see Bryan Adams in the sixth grade. (Let you without musical sin cast the first stone.) And I still believe in loosening the reigns and letting my kids experience things I didn’t have the opportunity due to strict house rules and geography, but, um, she’s three and a half.
My husband has often worried aloud about raising kids in an urban environment where everything is at their tiny fingertips. Will they be unimpressed by vibrant art, music and people because they are immersed in it every day? The thrill of experiencing the unusual or edgy constitutes some of my strongest tween and teen memories – and I didn’t have to go much further than Tulsa, Oklahoma to have my horizons broadened. What will it take to electrify my children when I’m taking them backstage to meet Robbert Bobbert before they’re even in Pre-K?
I gravitated to places like Austin and NYC because I wanted to live in an environment fueled by creativity. I want to raise my children in the middle of that hullabaloo as well. I hope this choice doesn’t remove any wonder as they grow and take in the world around them, becoming an annoying, bored teenager as a result. Basically, I want my kids to hold on to their first ticket stub with as much reverence as I did after Lollapalooza.
I’m not sure if they’ll be burned out by seven if we keep taking them to kid shows that are finding cool new homes in adult venues. This type of entertainment for children is a new phenomenon in modern parenting with no expert (yet) to tell me how much I’m screwing them up by allowing them to dance with a bubble machine at Southpaw. But if someone does come out with book scolding Gen X parents for exposing their kids to the concert halls too early, well, at least we’re all having a good time in the present, creating fodder for therapy in their future.