Archive for the ‘Interesting Concepts’ Category

I recently viewed this presentation given by Sir Ken Robinson, and I was blown away. I hope you’ll take a moment to view this profoundly observant argument for encouraging creativity in the education of children. I am going to read everything I can on this subject; I may not be able to alter the entire system of education on my own, but no one can stop me from encouraging Kol.

Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity


More Music Theory

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Music Theory

We have songs for everything. I thought it was time to record a few more for posterity.

“The Diaper Changing Song” by Kenneth

It’s the DIAPER chang-ing song!
It’s the SONG we sing
When we change your DIAPER!

Brief, but effective. We like to sing this one together, regardless of who is changing the diaper. It helps Kol to know what’s going on.

“Hello, I Love You” by Kerry (to the tune of “Hello, I Love You” by The Doors)

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

I don’t know any other words to this song
So I will make them up as I go along

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

Your name is Kol, and you’re my little boy
Your name is Kol, and you’re my little boy

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

Kol Pierce Higdon is the best boy ever
Kol Pierce Higdon is the best boy ever

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

This one turned into a smash hit after the first improvised performance, and has become a regular choice.

“Hush Little Baby” with efforts by Kenneth and Kerry

Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Daddy’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing
Daddy’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass
Daddy’s gonna kick the jeweler’s ass

And if that jeweler calls the cops
Daddy’s gonna beat him until he stops

And if assault charges get called
Daddy’s gonna tell them it wasn’t his fault

So hush little baby, don’t cry a tear
No matter what happens, your Daddy’s right here.

Kol LOVES this song.

“Champion of the Squash” by Kerry (to the tune of Queen’s “We Are the Champions”)

You are the champion of squash
You will keep eating ’til it’s gone

You are the champion
You are the CHAMPION
No time for green beans
‘Cause you are the champion….

You have finished your dinner
Had your juice and all
You’ve cooperated with your meal and everything that goes with it
Thank you my doll.

But it ended up on your nose
Ears and chin too
I consider it a challenge to clean it all off your face
And I will not lose!

I get a little carried away with this song…

We also sing the real versions of these songs very frequently:

All Star by Smashmouth

Blood by My Chemical Romance

Music Theory #4

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Interesting Concepts, Music Theory

This post will conclude the Music Theory series.

As I am sure you are already aware, music has a profound effect on young minds. It teaches them to understand patterns, complex rhythms, and assists in language development. Research has shown that children who are exposed to music at an early age tend to develop stronger math and problem-solving skills.

I believe I have also previously stated that music is a big deal to me. When Kol and I are out on errands and I haven’t spoken to him in a while, I like to describe the music we are listening to and the history of the artists or genre. It’s likely that none of it is getting through, but some day it will and he will have a huge working knowledge of modern music. My husband sings more than he speaks to Kol, and we find ourselves making up songs about the most mundane activities (thus the soon-to-be platinum hits “Kol has a Filthy Butt” and “Let’s Puke on Daddy’s Shirt”). Unfortunately Justin Bieber has stolen credit for one of our favorites, a cheerful tune in which we simply chirp, “Baby, baby, baby!” again and again.

The previous Music Theory posts, while cute and entertaining on their own, were meant to make a point. Allow me to explain:

Music Theory #1: “Alouette.” I sing this song an awful lot because it’s one of the only children’s songs I can recall. Left to my own devices I seem to draw upon Queen, The Offspring, and Garbage, so when I remembered “Alouette,” I began using it almost every day. This song is a fantastic example of how songs can use repetition and simple melodies to help babies understand patterns. If I were to mix up the words in the middle of the song, Kol would notice and he wouldn’t be happy about it. It’s also great because I am acquainting him with various body parts; sometimes I switch up the order, sometimes I choose entirely different body parts. Maybe he’ll even pick up a little bit of French (hey, I can hope).

Music Theory #2: “Evil Laugh.” This is a beautiful example of using music to improvise, which will be a great help to Kol’s speech development. Ken instinctively makes little pauses in his song where Kol might be able to reply, which is great for constructing the idea of a conversation. You’ll notice also that he is extremely animated and keeps the baby’s attention engaged; Kol is 100% focused on what his father his doing. Additionally, this will make an excellent home movie someday. Talk about an amazing performance.

Music Theory #3: “Raptor Dance.” I watched a video recently called “Ten Things Every Child Needs” and music got its own category. On the film, a professional children’s entertainer explained that music must be tied to movement; children need to physically engage in music. This is why baby music classes are so successful, why children adore dancing with their parents. I recall having music classes in elementary school in which we clapped rhythms and made various movements as we sang songs. Connecting music to movement is a fantastic way to boost mental and physical development. It also tends to encourage a lifetime love of music and dancing.

So while the videos were meant to be entertaining, they also serve to elaborate on the different ways we incorporate music into parenting. I hope this was an interesting series!

Music Theory #3

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Music Theory

This is a collection of dances Kol has performed over the past few months (with the help of his father). I apologize for the poor lighting and sound quality.

Music Theory #2

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Music Theory

This may require a little explanation.

As I was washing the dishes, I heard some sort of melody in another part of my house. By the time I found my camera, I had determined three things:

1. It was my husband singing to my son.
2. He was singing an improvised song about how Kol is an evil super-villain who will ultimately destroy all of the heroes who challenge him. (Ending with a lesson in cackling)
3. It was hilarious and needed to be recorded.

Unfortunately I missed most of it, but I captured the very end. Enjoy!

Music Theory #1

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Music Theory

This is the first of a 3 (maybe 4) part series regarding music. It is for posterity and to make a point, and it is also highly embarrassing.

Yes, I am aware that I cannot carry a tune. I am also aware that my French is very rusty.

And without further ado…

What’s the deal with breastfeeding, people?

Maybe I should explain. The Raptor is currently exclusively breastfed (almost three months now, hooray!) and will remain so until I introduce solids around six months. Since I am not a caveperson and do occasionally leave the house, I inevitably find myself feeding him in public, much to the awe of other individuals.

You guys saw my post on the breastfeeding cover. I’m not ripping off my shirt and making a spectacle of myself. The most that gets exposed when I feed my kid is the occasional strip of lower back when my shirt creeps up, but I generally find a way to conceal my midriff. Otherwise, there’s no extra skin revealed. And yet I am increasingly aware of people making note of the fact that I am breastfeeding and they seem embarrassed, uncomfortable, or even disgusted by my decision to do so in public settings. Washington state law states that breastfeeding is not indecent exposure and that women have the right to breastfeed in any public area, yet it seems like people are unaccustomed to the practice.

The more I think about it, the more confused I am. At what point did formula replace breastfeeding as the socially acceptable fashion in which to feed an infant? Formulas came into production as long ago as the 1800’s, but they were only used in severe cases where a mother could not nurse and a wet-nurse was unavailable. In the early 1920’s evaporated milk hit the shelves, cheap enough for families to afford when breastfeeding failed. The problem is that this time period promoted the idea of medical progress, but did so without scientific fact to back it up; formulas were thus hailed to be healthier nutritional choices than breastmilk, so that by the 1960’s 75% of all babies were formula-fed. Only recently has science proven that breastfeeding is in fact the ideal choice.

This explains why cartoon babies always hold a bottle, why until I was pregnant I hadn’t even considered the option of breastfeeding, why my grandmother was shocked when I told her that Kol will be breastfed for the first year at least (provided that things continue smoothly). I am sure this is also why most people are a little taken aback when I feed my kid. Mind you, no one’s going to tell me to stop or make any complaints about it; it is generally understood that when a baby is hungry, he should be fed. Yet I notice people averting their eyes or talking nervously with me as though trying to prove they are unaffected. I try to make everyone more comfortable by showing that I am comfortable; if I act like it’s awkward, it will be awkward, and that’s not going to help Kol fill his belly. Even worse are the people who pick a fight with me about formula. Here’s a conversation I had today:

Lady: “Those breastfeeding covers are just the best invention ever.”
Me: “Yeah, it’s a good thing to have. Babies can’t wait like adults can, so it’s nice to be able to feed him wherever we are.”
Lady: “My daughter tried to breastfeed, but it just didn’t work out. She really tried though.”
Me: “It’s a shame that it doesn’t work out for everyone.”
Lady: “Well she tried. And formula is just fine, too. She was raised on formula.”
(I nod politely.)
Lady (starting to look flustered): “They kept trying to get me to breastfeed when my daughter was born, but I just really didn’t want to. Nursing just wasn’t something I wanted to do. But my daughter tried, and her son couldn’t get enough nutrients so she switched him to formula.”
Me: “It can be difficult for a lot of people. We are lucky that it worked out so well for us.”
Lady: “Well that baby was just starving, so she had to switch.”
(Again, I nod politely.)
Lady: “She made the decision herself, but when she told her doctor he completely agreed.”

Do you see what I mean? It’s like my very presence is interpreted as an attack on every woman who didn’t breastfeed. I know for a fact that there are excellent mothers out there who simply cannot breastfeed. It is not always easy, and in some cases formula is literally the only option. I acknowledge that women who had children in the 60’s and 70’s were often told their milk was not good enough because science had not yet proven otherwise. Somehow public breastfeeding is interpreted as, “I am better than women who did/do not breastfeed” when it should come across as, “My kid is hungry and I am feeding him to the best of my ability.” It’s true I personally think women who can breastfeed should breastfeed, but similarly I think it’s none of my damn business what a family decides. Formula is not as bad as it used to be, and it doesn’t mean a child is doomed to poor health. It’s just that breastmilk gives babies a really, really good start in life.

Here’s what I propose:
1. Breastfeeding should be accepted as the primary method of feeding babies. In most of the world (excluding America) this is already the case.
2. Women who must (or choose to) use formula instead should not be ridiculed or looked down upon for doing so, but they should be educated in potential risks (increased chances of child obesity and pediatric diabetes, for example) and prevention of those risks. We should encourage breastfeeding, but ultimately aim for healthy babies. Additionally, I support hospitals, clinics, and childbirth classes that implement programs to assist and prepare women for breastfeeding; the more resources women have available to support them, the more likely they are to be successful with breastfeeding.
3. Mothers should not be ostracized for feeding their babies in public, regardless of the method they use. While I don’t mind when people come up and praise me for breastfeeding, I don’t think it is necessary. If we all accept it as the norm, there won’t be any reason to praise.

So there’s my rant for today. Quit freaking out when I feed my offspring. And if you weren’t convinced that it’s a great idea to feed him in public before, two minutes of his blood-curdling “FEED ME” cry will convince you otherwise.