The proudest moment of my career as a proud papa occurred a couple of years ago, when Weevy was about to complete pre-K. We were walking home from school and the subject of songs about New York came up. I started singing Leonard Bernstein’s “New York, New York” (from On The Town — “the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down, and the people ride in a hole in the ground”). After listening patiently to my warbling for a minute or so, she said, “Do you know this one?” And proceeded to croon, at age not-quite-five, a letter-perfect version of Sinatra‘s “New York, New York.”
A little background: I am, to put it mildly, obsessed with Frank Sinatra. My wife likes to say to her friends that I’m “one of the three foremost Sinatra collectors in the world.” It’s not true, but I can’t deny that I’ve invested far too much time, energy, money and apartment space amassing a pretty nice collection of Ol’Blue Eyes ephemera. I haven’t, however, tried to convert Weevy to Frankie fandom, or to any other music I love, for that matter. I remember my own father playing his beloved classical music, both on record and on his violin. And as we all know, at a certain point, anything your parents love becomes hopelessly square. So maybe as a result, I gravitated to rock, pop, jazz… pretty much anything but classical.
I wanted to let Weevy find her own music to love, without Daddy shoving it down her throat. I hoped she’d develop a passion for music to match my own, but I never forced her to listen to anything. And in fact I deliberately avoided playing her any Sinatra in particular. Which is what made her “New York, New York” even more jaw-droppingly awesome. It’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to crying tears of joy in her presence. Turns out she’d learned it for her school play, which involved a whole lot of sea creatures singing it as the big finale. (I’d wondered why she sang “I want to wake up in a sea that doesn’t sleep.”) But she genuinely likes it, and I’m damn proud. Even if I try not to tell her so.
My other big shining moment as a proud music-obsessed papa happened a few weeks ago. Ever since we found out we were going to have a girl early in my wife’s pregnancy, I’ve made no bones about looking forward to her inevitable love affair with tweener pop music. I’m a fan of a lot of it, from the Jackson 5 to New Kids on the Block to the Spice Girs and Backstreet Boys. I’d lost touch with the teen scene in recent years, so I was counting on the still-unborn Weevy to get me caught up in a decade’s time.
Weevy does love a lot of Top 40. And while I’m not too crazy about Katy Perry, who she loves, she digs some Carly Rae Jepsen, who my inner ten-year-old can definitely get behind, and she loves “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, which I, like millions of squealing girls, think is a first-rate pop song.
Anyway, back to the story. Weevy’s not shy about telling me which songs she likes and commanding, “Put it on my mix.” I’m like, fuck yeah, you want it, you got it. I do get tired of the incessant demands for toys, but I’ll never say no to a request to plunk down $1.29 for a new tune, even if it’s a cheesy ballad from a My Little Pony soundtrack. So this time, her request went like this:
“There’s this song they play in my movement class. I don’t know what it’s called, but they say ‘Mmmbop’ a lot.”
Now I am not the world’s biggest Hanson fan by any stretch. But I do love that song. And my wife knows I love that song. And she knows that Weevy liking this song is, like, one of the crowning achievements of my life thus far. And she looked at me and I looked at her and we both bellowed this triumphant “OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!!” so loudly and enthusiastically that we scared the shit out of poor Weevy, who started crying. Once we calmed her down, however, I put on “Mmmbop,” cranked it up, and we had ourselves a party. And then I told her about the marvelous evening I spent backstage with singer Taylor Hanson one night about five years ago, drinking and chatting about music, family, and God knows what else. Weevy didn’t really care. And I doubt anyone else would care, either. I just wanted to let it be known, on the record, that Taylor Hanson is one fucking nice guy.
Next up for Weevy: the Spice Girls. She’s already announced she wants to be Posh Spice. Of course.