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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Family that Rocks Together


My three-year-old son is a drummer. For his birthday in January we got him an honest-to-god drum kit with a bass drum, a floor tom, a snare, and a ride cymbal. It’s small (“ages four and up”), but it’s a real kit. He has already broken one of the drumheads rocking out.

Rewind to the Spring of 2002. As soon as we got pregnant, my Old Man and I began joking that we wanted the kid to be a drummer. We both play guitar and bass, and neither of us plays drums, so in order to fulfill our dream of having an in-house rock band, we needed a drummer. (Hell, we could even take it on the road. Can anyone say Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players?) So you would naturally conclude that we have pushed O. into his current drumming frenzy, but actually, we haven’t. Like the slackers we are, we sort of dropped the ball, figuring we’d get around to pushing him to begin fulfilling our dreams for him later – like maybe when he was four or five.

But our friends were more proactive. One friend, a drummer herself, bought him a little wooden drum with a mallet when he was only five months old (O. used this mostly as a toy wheel for the first two years we had it). Then other friends bought him a little skin drum with a wooden stick for his second birthday. At around two and a half he began losing interest in drums-as-things-to-roll and spontaneously started using his drums as things to hit with sticks, in rhythm. He dumped his matchbox cars out of the tin box we were keeping them in, turned it over, and improvised a third drum for his makeshift kit. He asked to watch the White Stripes live DVD over and over, imitating the beats and scoping out the kit of his favorite drummer, Meg White. He started calling the skin drum his “bass drum” and the upturned tin box his “crack drum” (the term he still uses for his snare). He started trying to figure out how to hang or prop the drums up so they’d be at an angle. He was clearly ready for a kit of his own.

Now it’s a common occurrence in our house to hear O. shout “Mama! I want to rock out in the basement!” or “Daddy, you play bass!” I’ve taught him to say “Louder, please!” instead of just barking “I want it louder!” when we’re listening to music. Yesterday as his dad was unbuckling him from his car seat (after a trip with soundtrack by Wilco), O. observed “Daddy, listening to Wilco makes me want to go in the basement and rock out.” So they went down and rocked. Weekday mornings before I leave for school often find me playing my until-recently neglected Fender Jaguar to the beat of O’s drums. I’ve played more guitar in the three months since O. got his drum kit than I did in the entire three years prior (i.e. from AB to AD – After Birth to Anno Drumkit).

I’m a mighty proud parent. Barely out of diapers, my kid can keep a beat and figure out the patterns in his favorite songs. He’s even come up with a cool drum part for one of my songs, which I often play around the house on my acoustic guitar. (I can’t claim credit for figuring this out – the Old Man, who has a better ear for drums than I, said “E, I think he’s playing a beat for Song X!” I played along, and sure enough, it fit like a charm.) And, O. is more socially adept and far less irrational than the drummer from the last rock band I played in. (Victor, wherever you are, I don’t miss you.)

The family that rocks together… (I challenge you to come up with a rhyming ending for that sentence that is in no way obscene.)

6 Comments:

Blogger Esereth said...

If you're gonna encourage a child in an advanced pursuits, this is WAY better than making your kid wear big hair and sparkles and compete in Texas beauty pagents.

And even if I'm not making sense tonight, I still like your blog and am glad to have found it.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

My husband plays the bass and my two daughters (7 & 9) are budding guitarists. Last Christmas he bought them both mini Fenders that they are teaching themselves to play. Me? I would've gone for the Toys R Us versions, but nooooo....

I love the Trachtenburg Family. So, we can expect to see the Oral Hygiene Players on a marquee soon?

(Have not forgotten about my tag. I am a lazy-ass blogger.)

4:18 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Excellent. The world needs more girl guitar players, and starting young is so great. I realized, learning to play guitar in my early twenties, that all these guys had such an advantage over me b/c they'd spent hours on end of their leisurely adolescent years noodling on their guitars. By the time I started playing, I had to make time to play. But being in a band is the best way to force yourself to practice your ass off.

The Oral Hygiene Players has a creepy kind of ring to it. (I can envision the costumes.)

7:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

God DAMN it. I just wrote a long and possibly endearing comment and my slow-assed wireless card just ate it.

Bah.

Ok, so I said, "a family that rocks together shocks together."

And the rest was mumbo (but fairly funny) jumbo about being smitten with the lot of you now, rather than just your husband. Something about me being a groupie type because my musical talent is measured in negative exponentials.

blah blah: you guys are my heroes.

7:11 AM  
Blogger E. said...

Well, Lisa, that was a pretty endearing comment, too, though I'd've loved to see the original as well. (I hate it when I'm writing a long comment and it gets eaten.) I like the idea of a groupie for the whole family. Someday when I figure out more technologically interesting aspects of blogging, I'll put up some sound clips of family jams (or at least some pictures of O. wailing on his drums).

12:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Aw! That would be sooo cute. And yes, post soundclips of family sessions, too. Now that my silliness has passed, I wanted to emphasize my true awe at your son's musical proclivities. That's just GOT to be exciting for you guys. Verrry cool. And your shirt sounds sexier than/as sexy as mine. When I wear it out and about I throw a camisole under it, and the lace peaks out the top and it's still ruther nice. :)

4:05 PM  

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