It all started innocently enough. Isabelle made a request:
“How do you the ‘HandClap’ song?” I asked.
“Ryan sings it at school,” Isabelle replied.
Within minutes I found and downloaded Fitz & the Tantrum’s “HandClap.” But then the requests kept coming — in the form of one or two perfectly-sung lyrics at a time.
Before I knew it, I downloaded songs like “Play That Song” by Train and “Ride” by Twenty-One Pilots to my phone.
I was bewildered that Isabelle knew any of the songs. You see, whenever Isabelle is in my car she always requests to listen to Jewish music like the Maccabeats, Debbie Friedman, or liturgical/holiday music. And while I have a great appreciation for Jewish wedding music, I keep telling my husband I might impale myself if I have to keep listening to the same Jewish wedding CDs over and over again.
“How do you know all of these songs?” I asked Isabelle.
“I hear them in Daddy’s car. We listen to the radio together!”
This is because Marc is wiser than I am. He doesn’t turn on any Jewish music (even though he has all of the Maccabeats albums on iTunes).
“That’s it!” I told Isabelle. “As of tomorrow we are listening to the radio!”
“But I like listening to Jewish music in your car,” she said.
“Do you know what I listen to when you’re not in my car?” I asked her. She had no response so I continued. “The radio. Or the Beatles. But mostly the radio.”
I recalled having this conversation last summer when she came home from camp singing “Cake by the Ocean.” I tried playing the radio in the car back then, but she whined incessantly until I turned it off.
I decided to try again today. I switched on the radio for our drive to her Aerials arts class. And do you know what happened? Isabelle sang along. She didn’t ask for me to turn on the Jewish music even once.
Listen, I’m happy to play Jewish music for her. It is important for her to be familiar with it. However, it is also important for her to be exposed to all kinds of music — from both of her parents. So, for now, I’ll alternate between the radio, my iTunes playlist, and the Jewish music. At least that’s my intention.