Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Classical Music and Funny Riddles

One of the joys of parenting is watching your child develop her own tastes and delights. It's fun to note the kinds of loves she shares with you and the things that she begins to make uniquely her's. The sweet girl's love of chocolate? That's a passion she shares with me, of course! Her enjoyment in measuring things with a ruler or a measuring tape? That comes from Dad. Her utter fascination with penguins? No idea. She just loves penguins, and frankly we've enjoyed heading down that particular "learning trail" with the sweet girl's passion in the lead.

Two of her developing tastes recently are classical music and funny riddles. The love of classical music she comes by very honestly, because we've always played a lot of it around the house. In the first year of her life, in particular, since I was spending more time at home, I tuned in almost everyday to WQED, our wonderful all-classical radio station. But we also listen to a lot of it on CD, and two of her favorite videos of all-time also have classical soundtracks: one is a nature video set to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," and the other is the original Fantasia.

She really loves all kinds of music (we have pretty eclectic tastes ourselves) so it's been interesting to see lately the kinds of music she's beginning to ask for by name. Not long ago she asked me what kind of music she had especially liked as a baby, and I dug out the "Baby Mozart" and "Baby Bach" CDs, remembering how often we'd played them in the first couple years of her life. These are classical CDs produced by the Baby Einstein folks, and include various short pieces by each composer, usually rendered with gentle instrumentation -- a lot of piano and various bell-like instruments. It had been a while since we'd played one; somehow they'd gotten relegated to the back of the stack. But we listened to them both the other day and it was wonderful, watching her listen (and dance) to these pieces as though she'd never heard them before, although I remember how she heard them dozens of time as an infant/toddler. She started asking questions immediately: what was *that* music called? Why does this one go fast and that one sound slow? And telling me which ones she liked to dance to. We started talking about who wrote this music, and she was fascinated with their names: Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (that one made her giggle!). We also talked about when these composers lived, which helped stretch her burgeoning understanding of time/history.

She began looking at the back of the CD cases and noticed there were a couple of other CDs advertised on the back that we didn't have. She wanted to know what they were called, and I told her one was "Baby Vivaldi" and one was "Baby Beethoven." Vivaldi she recognized from her video, but Beethoven's name fascinated her. "Can we get that?" she asked, and I told her we could check the library. They had it, so now we're in a continual round of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. She loves them all but has informed us quite positively (and many times over) that Mozart is her favorite.

At the same time that she's been realizing her love for this music, she's also been enjoying riddles. She likes popsicles, especially the ones with riddles on the stick. Granted most of the time she doesn't get the riddle until we explain it, and sometimes not even then, but a few of them have really tickled her funny bone: the flying turtle called a "shellicopter" and the bunnies who use "hoppy discs" on their computer are her favorites. Once in a while, we will all come up with riddles together, and it's great to see her trying to come up with humorous double-meanings for words even as she's still learning what a lot of words mean.

Today the classical music love and the funny riddle love came together in a wonderfully delightful way. She and I were talking about what music she'd like to listen to while she rested during nap time, and she asked for Bach. Only in typical sweet-girl fashion, she decided to play with the word and giggled as she said "Beak" instead of "Bach." "Is that the kind of music a bird listens to?" I asked her. "Johann Sebastian Beak?" She giggled, realizing we'd made another riddle. And then as I was tucking her into bed for her quiet time with her bears and a book, she giggled some more and informed me: "Mommy, you know what a sheep likes to listen to? BAA-thoven!"


Erin said...

Hehe, those are great! :D

Beth said...

Thanks! We just love riddles. And riddles and music together are even more fun!

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