Say what you want about gender differences and gender behavior.
In addition to observing the changing leaves and the migrating birds, I also observed some differences between a girl and a boy on a recent hike:
We see a duck.
- Girl: Looks for food to feed it.
- Boy: Looks for a rock to throw at it.
We see a giant toadstool.
- Girl: Thinks a fairy lives under it.
- Boy: Wants to kick it.
They pick up sticks.
- Girl: Hers is a magician’s wand.
- Boy: His is a dagger.
But I appreciate and embrace their differences. After all, these two little birdies will grow and migrate some day and I want to give them proper wings.
If I am driving in traffic. Or shuttling my kids. And they are already bickering in the back seat. The last thing I want is to hear Barney singing.
I know that Barney delivers a positive message. He is kind and loving and teaches kids to share. But I am actually a Barney hater.
But here are four children’s CDs I love to play in the car with the kids. Over and over.
- Free to Be You and Me is a classic. I loved it as a child, growing up in feminism-power times, and still love it. My kids and I love to sing this song in particular, at the top of our lungs: “Parents Are People.” The messages are still powerful: be yourself, gender equality, and breaking through stereotypes. Although some of the lyrics are a little dated about job equality because today, women are Secretary of State and men work at the MAC make-up counter. Talk about role reversal.
- Really Rosie is another classic from my childhood. Even though it was a vinyl record then. (Nostalgia, right?) The song we love love love to sing loudly is “Alligators All Around.” It’s snappy and it teaches the alphabet. I still clearly remember that “H” is for “Having Headaches.” Maybe from listening to this song so many times. Play it. Over and over. And trust me, your young children will learn their letters and get an intro to phonics.
- Picnic Playground is by Putumayo and has upbeat songs in different languages. It exposes children to global traditions. And maybe your kids will pick up a few new words in other languages. I like the “Arroz con Pollo” song. Who doesn’t like chicken and rice for dinner? And the South African song “Beautiful Day” is simply beautiful and happy.
- Animal Playground, another CD in the global children’s collection by Putumayo. Every song is a winner. From “The Littlest Birds” to “Don’t Ever Step on a Snake.” And my favorite one that always gets a little tear from me is “Eagles.” About how Mothers need to let their children fly (roots and wings).
But until my children are ready to leave the nest, we will sing these songs at the top of our lungs as we fly down the freeway, late for something.