Well, it's happened. At the age of four, the Sweet Girl is finally beginning to really "tune in" to song lyrics.
I'm not saying that she hasn't listened to the words of songs before. But by and large, at least when it's been "Mommy and Daddy's music" playing, I've gathered that it's mostly seemed like background sound. But she's getting older now, and she's definitely taking an interest in what those words are saying. Which means I need to be careful what I play and when, especially when listening to country music. :-)
Not that I feel like I listen to music with "bad" lyrics, but some songs contain language or imagery she's not going to understand (and that can be hard to explain). Those topics and expressions are quite "grown-up."
A case in point came at dinner last night. D. had to work, and I'd put on Johnny Cash while I was cooking. Well, OK, I'd put on the soundtrack to Walk the Line, which is Joaquin Phoenix singing Johnny Cash songs. Sweet Girl loves to dance to Johnny Cash. In fact, the other day she'd come jigging into the kitchen and announced "Mommy, this is my favorite song!" when I was playing Get Rhythm. Good taste!
So we were at dinner and the Cash songs were still playing and suddenly she looked up at me, with a thoughtful look on her face, and asked "Mommy, why does he walk the line both day and night?"
So there I was, trying to explain the poetic idea behind someone "walking the line" (being faithful and true and steady all the time, was how I tried to explain it). I don't know whether she got it, though she did announce cheerfully that sometimes she walked the wall on her favorite street. Which made me smile.
The conversation flowed on from there, and everything seemed fine, but in the back of my mind I kept pondering whether or not I should keep playing Johnny Cash. Especially when I realized Folsom Prison had just come on. I talked really, really loudly to cover the line "shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." And then I surreptiously turned the music down...
I still think we can enjoy jigging together to Get Rhythm. But it turns out I think certain Johnny Cash songs are not quite appropriate for the pre-school set. Not surprising really, but it did make me do some good, hard thinking about what kinds of things I want that little mind and heart focused on.