Do As I Do, Not What I Sing.

Mixing song lyrics with impressionable minds can be a tricky thing. When my kids were younger, everything went over their head so I didn’t really “censor” what they listened to. Mostly we listened to music from the 80′s and early 90′s anyway, and we all know that was harmless. Right?

Uh, yeah. Sort of.

I was proud of the fact that my kids, when they were eight and five, could sing most of “Baby Got Back”. Seriously, I was. I thought it was hysterical. My husband? Not so much. Hearing his sons singing “My anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns, hun” totally horrified him, especially when they acted like they were on stage, wielding an invisible microphone. (Indeed, a couple of years ago my older son, then sixteen, was in the car with me when the song came on. He said, “Mom, I just can’t believe you let us sing this.” Okay, oops.)

When my older son was ten, I was trying to come up with small favors to give the guests of his birthday party. Finally, I decided on CDs full of his favorite songs, since he was really getting into music. I asked him what songs he wanted me to assemble into his birthday playlist, and he gave me a list of really good songs. I spent an afternoon burning the CDs, and when party day came, we sent everyone home with those CDs.

Later, I discovered that I should’ve run the CD by my sister before burning. She tends to keep me in line by saying things like, “Listen to yourself!” and “You’re kidding, right?”, and when she saw the playlist, she asked me if I was completely insane or what: the song creating the “Big Finish” at the end of the lineup was Sly Fox’s “Let’s Go All the Way”. For ten-year-olds. I was horrified that I didn’t even think about the potential meaning. My son loved the song, that’s all.

In my defense, I later looked at the lyrics: they’re ambiguous at best. But that title? Oops. Again. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall when some of the parents saw that one.

Need a refresher?

Of course, my kids are totally not scarred at all by what was probably poor judgement on my behalf when they were so young. As a matter of fact, my allowing them to listen to just about anything all along has opened up some great conversations about what’s appropriate and what’s not.

So let’s have some fun. Leave a comment with the name of a song which is really fun to sing but perhaps not something you want flying out of your five-year-old’s mouth. Like Missy Elliott’s “Work It”. Or Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance”. or J-Kwon’s “Tipsy”. Or Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy?”. Or Aqua’s “Boom Boom Boom Boom”.

Tag, you’re it!

15 Responses to Do As I Do, Not What I Sing.
  1. singlemama_cc
    December 22, 2010 | 11:51 pm

    This is a hard one for me since I’m such a bad mother and expose my child to all sorts of kickass music. My favorite would have to be the time I was driving along with the PIT not even paying attention to what song was on until I heard my sweet little girl bust out with Salt & Pepa’s “None of yo business”.
    I tried reeeeally hard not to giggle as she sang along perfectly to Tom Petty’s “Lets roll another joint” (not as funny anymore, I had to explain pot & bongs thanks to Miley)
    singlemama_cc´s last [type] ..A day of exploring

  2. singlemama_cc
    December 22, 2010 | 11:53 pm

    LMAO ok so she just comes out of the shower singing…..Lily Allen’s “Fuck you” but she goes “Hmmmpt you, hmmmpt you very very muuuuuch” and looks at me and says “What? I’m not old enough to cuss yet”
    Perfect post for the evening!!
    singlemama_cc´s last [type] ..A day of exploring

  3. Melisa
    December 22, 2010 | 11:59 pm

    haha, I love it!!! :)
    Melisa´s last [type] ..Parenting Secrets From Behind the Tiara

  4. lisa
    December 23, 2010 | 12:38 am

    My overly intellectual 8 year old is always correcting my lapses in judgement. I love music and i really figure if listening to madonna in my formative years didn’t ruin me I’m pretty safe in letting them listen openly to most stuff. My oldest is horrified when I sing along to anything but if it has cursing, well I might as well kill puppies. I LOVE Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry..oh THAT is a good one noone in my family likes me singing I Kissed A Girl but I LOVE that song

  5. Rainbowlite
    December 23, 2010 | 12:44 am

    Wendy’s was giving out song a long CDs as toys for their kids meals. Someone thought including Donna Summer’s Last Dance was a good idea. One version includes the words “so bad.” But some heard the alternative lyrics “so horny” on the CD, which had been marked as safe for 3 years old and up. Perfect for a family trip. I have the ‘so bad’ version.

  6. Karen the Microblogologist
    December 23, 2010 | 5:40 am

    The niece (7) is getting really into music, trying to keep her from watching Lady Gaga videos on youtube is a challenge! Currently she generally is all about singing Selina Gomez songs, which are not too inappropriate so I am not too worried about that yet. I’m just hoping that when she realizes how bad her singing is she isn’t too crushed that her dream of being Selina is not going to happen.
    Karen the Microblogologist´s last [type] ..Happy Birthday Claire

  7. Oscar
    December 23, 2010 | 9:15 am

    “You’re Breaking my Heart” by Harry Nillsson.

    I’m not a fan if songs with harsh lyrics. I used a 9 iron to show my son what I thought of his “Wu-Tang” CD.

    But to each his own!

  8. Mari
    December 23, 2010 | 4:11 pm

    It always gave me pause when my son would sing the Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat!”

  9. Michelle
    December 23, 2010 | 11:37 pm

    We did a CD a a favor for Mister Man’s second birthday party. That was definitely all songs with no issues… mostly from the 20s and the Charlie Daniels song was cleaned up by my husband prior to being burned.

    Singing Dynamite is the closest that we get to anything bad from the wee ones, but I know it will be something. I remember singing Bobby Brown’s My Perogative with my grandparents in the car and being mortified by the word “d@mn” in it. In what, fifth grade?
    Michelle´s last [type] ..From The Mouths Of Babes- Idioms

  10. Tara R.
    December 24, 2010 | 8:08 am

    I pretty much given up trying to get my son (17) to NOT sing certain songs. He even belts out the radio bleeped lyrics. The only thing I’ve found to be remotely useful is to sing along, it creeps him out and then refuses to listen to it any longer.
    Tara R.´s last [type] ..Graffiti Wisdom- Peace- I’m Out!

  11. Kimberly
    December 24, 2010 | 3:07 pm

    I have 11 and 14 year old boys…and one song I just can’t even listen to when they’re in the car anymore is Rude Boy by Rhianna. I get so uncomfortable..and can’t believe they play it on the radio. But at the same time, we’ll turn on an uncensored Pink song and have no problem with it…don’t know why???? Maybe it’s the overt sexual discussion versus the cursing. My kids have heard me curse. They’ve never seen me….(well, you know…what Rhianna says)
    Kimberly´s last [type] ..In the right placeat the right timewith the right people

  12. Kim @ Not Your Typical Southern Belle
    December 27, 2010 | 8:48 pm

    Ummm….Grateful Dead’s “Casey Jones”. But at least that is a bit of a cautionary tale. Weezer – Hash Pipe. So catchy, the kids loved it. But it was SO not something they needed to sing in front of other kids.

  13. Six Year Itch
    December 27, 2010 | 9:42 pm

    Jermaine Stewart “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” is a classic fun to sing, back for kids to repeat song.
    Six Year Itch´s last [type] ..Ten Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

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