Rio leaks music. She’s constantly singing, humming, buzzing. She makes up songs the way most people make up sentences: I’m frequently treated to a little song and dance about brushing her hair or making breakfast. It’s like living in the Broadway musical version of our life. It’s been like this since she was a baby: she began to sing as soon as she could talk; she learned to dance before she could walk.
This is approximately as awesome as it sounds. Which is to say, maybe 90 percent fun and heartwarming and inspiring and 10 percent “DEAR GODS CAN YOU STOP SINGING THAT ONE LINE FROM THE CHORUS OF ROLLING IN THE DEEP FOR AT LEAST 10 SECONDS!”
Recently, she’s gotten into listening to a lot of music. I mean, she’s always been listening to music. She’s been making playlists on YouTube with her dad for years, and even in preschool she’d spend the mornings before school sitting at the breakfast table with him listening to her favorite Indigo Girls and Wailin’ Jennys songs. Before *that*, as a toddler, she was obsessed with this one Indigo Girls album and would throw a total wobbly in the car if we tried to listen to anything else.
I digress. The kid likes music.
So it should hardly be a surprise to me that she chose to spend the $50 she got for her birthday this year on an iPod Shuffle.
And yet it is. I mean, she’s 8. An iPod seems like such a grown-up toy. It’s the kind of thing I’d buy for myself, if I wanted to listen to music as incessantly as she does. I expected her to want something like that in a few years, not now. There’s a part of me that’s all, “*sniff*, *sniff*, my baby is growing up too fast”. Will having her own iPod be a gateway to wanting to go to concerts with her friends? Will she start turning it up and storming out of the room when she doesn’t like what I have to say?
Probably someday. For now she seems content to listen to the folkier end of my music collection (it’s not like she has her own iTunes, yet). The effect is pretty awesome. Listening to music stills her restless body, some, and eases her temper with her sister. I think I had really underestimated just how much this kid wants to hear music all the time.
For me, music is mostly background noise. I’d rather have music than not, a lot of the time, and I have preferences about what I want to hear. But I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. I’m not a serious hobbyist when it comes to listening, and other than an ill-fated stint in the middle school band (I played flute), I’ve never been involved in producing it. When Rio said she wanted to get an iPod, I was confused because I was thinking of listening to music the way I do.
Then I had this aha! moment: this kid gets some of the same stuff out of listening to music that I do out of reading books. I remember what it was like to be a child and discovering books: to be starting for the first time to have favorites, to be learning that I could follow an author from one book to the next, to be reading every book I could get my hands on. Reading hasn’t really caught fire for Rio in the same way. She reads well above grade level, and she enjoys reading, but she’s not consumed with the desire to read above all else the way I recall being at her age.
Instead she seems to be totally taken with music. So I’m delighted for her that she was able to lay hold of this snazzy music-listening device, and that she’s starting to build out her own taste in what she wants to listen to. I look forward to seeing (and hearing) where this takes her.