Oh no! The dreaded multi-part blog post! How pretentious can you get!
When Ezra was little, I discovered how much I really loathe most anything labeled kids music. None of the funky, artsy performers praised in Mothering did anything but wrinkle my nose. The Putamayo music was tolerable, but who can stand listening to the same "tolerable" music day in and day out; it would be like spending your life in an elevator. The Waldorf approved tunes had the advantage of wanting you to skip recorded stuff entirely and sing to and with your children from your soul. While that sounds at least vaguely hokey, I was completely willing to learn a bajillion songs, and I did.
Part of the problem was that Ezra was definitely learning from what he was hearing. I'd had to give up public radio when he toddled into the room where I was nursing Phaedra and chirped in his sweet two year voice, "I am Diane Rehm." He could also do funny parlor tricks, like tell you the names of various dictators whose names were oft spouted in the top of the news hour. I had thought music would give me a bit of companionship and would bring less ugliness into my little children's heads. I went on the search for more music.
One night when Jason and I were on one of our first dates after Phaedra was born, we happened into the cd section of a bookstore chain- it was Texas; there were no local book or music stores that I knew of. I thought I'd check the kids' music section. And there was the artist who changed my parenting life- Pete Seeger. This was music with funny lyrics, older melodies, no stupid children as back up singers, no electronic flim flam, and a singer just begging you to sing along- not alone.
After that cd, many more Pete Seeger albums found their way into our house. There's a picture of three-year-old Ezra with his ear pressed to the speaker as he tried to learn all the lyrics to "Union Maid". Pete Seeger was followed by a little Woody Guthrie and a little Burl Ives, but neither of these replaced Pete in our familial affections.
And so, Ezra and Phaedra had a pretty good selection of music that I felt pretty comfortable with for the first few years of their lives.