Monday, May 26, 2008

Ask STL Homeboy

From this week's mailbag:

Dear STL Homeboy,

My three year old daughter has discovered her singing voice and has been walking around the house singing pretty much non-stop for almost a month now. At first it was cute, but the truth is she has a terrible singing voice. I'm not going to sugar coat it - it's bad. Every time she starts to sing like she's Ariel from The Little Mermaid, I silently curse whoever introduced her to that movie. My husband is a stay-at-home dad and encourages her singing, saying things like, "she is exploring her voice" or "any interest in an art should be encouraged" or other touchy-feely nonsense. But there's a fine line between encouraging your child to something they're not good at and being that mother on American Idol who tells her daughter that the judges were wrong after the worst audition in history. I blame the mother for not telling the daughter that she wasn't a very good singer before embarrassing herself on national television. What do you think? Am I OK in asking my daughter not to sing?

Thank You,
STL Workgirl

Dear STL Workgirl,

OK, I know this is you, Megan. I agree that Clara's singing is for the most part excruciating and I understand that it drives you up the wall. Like you, I also want to throw The Little Mermaid into the river. But some of her other songs aren't that bad. What about the little speckled frogs song she learned from school? Her "take me out to the ballgame" isn't bad - she just kills it by singing it over and over. But if we start to tell her that she isn't very good at something she might have some self-esteem issues down the road, and that's just not something I want to risk. Besides, everyone starts out bad at something before they get better, right? If the singing gets so bad that you can't take it anymore, you could always try to distract her into coloring or playing with a puzzle. How about you carry around some earplugs in your pocket? If you think, however, that her singing is worse than this...

...then maybe you should tell her she's not a very good singer.

Your husband,
STL Homeboy


Tracy said...

So, Clara sings like Alex did when she was 3 huh? I have to confess I held my hands over my ears when she couldn't see me. However SHE loved to sing and still does. In her case practice made her better. She's been in the choir and has sung solos to which the other parents have applauded her for.

Michelle said...

I can just imagine this conversation. In fact, it was hard not to imagine the two of you sitting right here with us. At the time I was asking DadWithoutAMap why he continues to encourage the kids to eat more food by bribing them with dessert. There is no need. They will eat what they want... and we don't need to make them another statistic within the category of childhood obesity. Nevertheless.... thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I was the villain who introduced Clara to “The Little Mermaid”. I seemed like a good Idea last summer when you were on your cruise and I was looking for 5 minutes of quiet. I guess that translated to “You cruise, you pay”.

I’m glad Tracy chimed in with the Alex story. It was all we could do to keep ourselves from begging her to PLEASE STOP. But now she sings with the choir and is given solos. Who would have guessed.


Anonymous said...

By the way Megan - American Idol? No!

Anonymous said...

Um, I can tell you where to find the person who introduced Little Mermaid! (Thanks Nana!) I'm just glad that video lives in STL so Elena hasn't seen it yet. Don't tell Nana or she'll bring it to her!

The latest at our house is The Sound of Music. Davis likes the story. Elena likes the music. Perhaps you should introduce that to Clara---it does have a little singing lesson built right in! And, if she works on it then we could have a duet of "Doe a deer" at the beach!


Anonymous said...

Okay. I'd like to clear my name. I didn't really tell Joel that I don't want her to sing. In fact, I sing with her and to her everyday. I sing to both girls every night when tucking them in, we sing in the car, in line at the store. I've embarrassed myself in many public places for the benefit of my children. I love most of her songs - except The Little Mermaid. Dear God! I can't stand it! The worst part is that she has to admire herself in the mirror while singing it. I really should just video tape her so I can embarrass her later in life.