Damien has been obsessed with music since he was an infant. He loves to play it and he loves to listen to it. Before he was a year, he was already blowing whistles and harmonicas and exploring anything and everything musical. He was also obsessed with Raffi.
As a young child, Aiden wasn’t a huge fan of listening to children’s music. We have dozens of CD’s, downloaded or borrowed from the library, but they always made him upset. Too much going on? Possibly. He loved classical music, though he did enjoy having us sing children’s songs to him (and he was miming several before a year too).
When Damien came along, we were already in the habit of not playing kids music as frequently. When we did, it became clear that both children now had a preference for Raffi. Though Damien will listen to other music (particularly when live), he went through 6 months of being obsessed with Raffi. To our great advantage, it was something that would instantly calm him down. If he was tired or fussy, all I had to do was turn on some Raffi music on my phone and he would relax and suck his thumb.
As a very fussy child, the ability to play Raffi music was a miracle to us! It bought us the half hour we needed of lap time to get to Keats Island on the water taxi and it bought us nearly 3 hours of fuss-free time on the way to Kelowna (see Raffi-induced naps above). If he was fussy before it was nap time? Raffi. If we were grocery shopping and he didn’t want to sit in the cart? Raffi. Such a lifesaver. It was not a permanent solution, but it bought me a good 10 minutes when it was needed!
Damien was so obsessed with Raffi, I think he overdosed. Most times we attempt to play Raffi now, he wants a specific song that he of course cannot yet vocalize, so the experience is frustrating for him, and for us, since we own every Raffi CD. Damien’s first sentence, 2 months ago, was: “I don’t want Baby Beluga,” when he was going through a very anti-Baby Beluga phase (now over). It’s his only sentence to date, too!
I have to say, though, as far as kids music goes, Raffi is the best. It’s mellow, it’s catch, and it’s usually not annoying. Most CDs for kids are overly perky or upbeat, which can get on your nerves after a while!
Our Favourite Raffi CDs:
Baby Beluga and Singable Songs for the Very Young
Last August, a family friend came to our house to offer a music and movement class to Aiden and some of his friends. Somehow, we temporarily misplaced those photos, only recently finding them again when I was completing Aiden’s age 1-2 album. I’m now finally able to review our fun afternoon!
Gabriela Moutal, a lifelong dancer, has been teaching creative movement for 25 years. Her Movement Studio specializes in classes for kids age 2-9, focusing on teaching that encourages movement, rhythm and the exploration of music. The class used a variety of materials, from feathers to scarves, and incorporated song with movement. The toddlers were free to explore the materials in suggested ways or in their own ways. There was a tunnel that all the kids loved, as well as a toy bin that was fun to climb into.
If you’re looking for things to do with your child this summer in Richmond, check out Gabriela’s class options.
Aiden is making a lot of progress when he’s singing. He’s most likely to sing when not in the spotlight. His most common stage is his crib – he often sings before bedtime or in the morning.
Aiden doesn’t sing many songs from start to finish unassisted, but will sing bits on his own. The first two lines are most common before he gets distracted.
Aiden enjoys singing Twinkle Twinkle, Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck, Hello Everybody, Zoom Zoom and the Bananas Song. Sometimes a song he’s been thinking about will crop up, like the ABCs or Wheels on The Bus.
Just today, Aiden was in his crib when I hear: “Aiden want to sing The Wheels on the Bus. The wheels on the bus goes round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round. Awwwww wheels not working. Not working anymore. Probably not working.”
As you can see, easily distracted. He always ends up on a tangent in his pretend world making up stories.
Aiden will also make up songs. “Aiden shoes on. Aiden shoes off. Aiden shoes on. Aiden shoes off.” When he then said: “Mommy, sing Aiden’s shoe song!”, I clued in that he was doing more than just babbling. Super cute.
It’s clear Aiden wants to sing more. He will often move his lips when someone sings, trying to learn the words perhaps. Or lip sync? Cute though. He’s also participating more now that he’s started preschool once a week (my guess).
Aiden is not your typical toddler when it comes to his music preferences. He rarely participates in toddler song times, though he does enjoy them. We attend music classes and Aiden enjoys playing with the instruments and being a part of the songs. He doesn’t participate in actions or songs unless he has an instrument, but that’s ok.
Despite all this, Aiden has a very strong interest in music and very strong music preferences. We almost never listen to the dozens of kids CDs we have in our media library, and it’s been that way for about 6 months or so. Same goes for the car. He enjoys kids music at other kids’ houses (even the same CDs) and loved the CD of kids singing Christmas songs for the holidays. I used to think that perhaps Aiden got tired of kids music, or just wanted to assert himself by negation, but now I think it’s more complicated.
I think Aiden’s musical preferences simply changed. Aiden’s preference first asserted itself in the car, when he’d ask for piano music or guitar music or violin music. When I say ‘ask’, I mean more specifically: would throw a fit if I couldn’t find classical music featuring that instrument. Now, he’s pretty much fine with any kind of classical music. He didn’t want classical music at home for a long time (he spent a month or so arguing every music choice at home), but now he does.
Aiden loves to listen to the music and identify the instruments playing. Just this morning I turned on CBC Radio 2 and Aiden exclaimed:
“Classical music! Louder! Violin music. Flutes too. More louder!”
We have been searching for ways to expand on Aiden’s obvious interest in classical music but it’s been rather challenging. Most toddler-specific or even youth-specific music instruction videos will use cartoons or characters. While I’m sure he’d be fine with that, Ianiv and I are of the opinion that he’d love equally some videos about actual musicians playing and demonstrating their instruments for a younger audience.
It’s been an interesting musical journey with Aiden!
Aiden could Roly Poly before he could point. He could do the whole song just after his 1st birthday. He could correctly do the hand actions to 6-12 songs by the time he was 15 months, including more complicated ones like Head and Shoulders. It wasn’t so long ago that he loved to show off his skills. I was smitten – so CUTE!
In April, Aiden became a cuddler. Rather than run around during storytime or music class and do all the motions to a dozen or two songs while he was playing, he parked himself in my lap and stuck his thumb in his mouth. Sometimes he even wanted to lay down in my arms like a baby.
Since then, we’ve only been able to get Aiden to move to songs in the bath or carseat, and it’s rare. He’s picked up a whole lot of new movements (like pretending to be an airplane or a cat or a bird), and loves to show us those, but is not interested in song participation. I miss it.
I’m sure, given Aiden’s development in this way, he could easily pick up new songs or participate with most songs during a storytime session, but he refuses. He listens and he enjoys himself, for sure. I know this is fine too.
I’m just getting to the point where I can sometimes encourage Aiden to sit on his own for a storytime, as sitting in my lap makes him relax and lay down, which doesn’t seem to be as engaging, lol.
Still, I can’t help but miss the very outgoing participator that we had for so long!