Parenting: Teaching your kids culture, but it is OK if they don’t know a 40 year old band, and don’t be an old fart.

When our kids were small we decided that part of their education would be teaching them the classics. On road trips Teddy would play music and the kids would identify the classic rock bands. At a young age (by the time they were six or seven) our offspring could identify Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimmi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and a myriad of other bands. This included my husband’s favorite summer road trip band Van Halen.

Just to keep the record straight on this: He prefers Diamond Dave. I prefer Sammy. But hey, it’s all good.

This all is leading us down a path to somewhere, and I’m sure you know where (or maybe not.)

The extremely popular and talented seventeen year old singer Billie Eilish said in an interview that she didn’t know who the band Van Halen was.

Asshats all over the Internet jumped right on it. They criticized her for her musical knowledge. Seriously? Does it matter that she doesn’t know a band that started out in a time that seems like centuries ago to most teens?

In an attempt to educate my children and make them into cultured little Vampires we’d have Saturday Night Opera Bath. I’d plunk the babies into the tub and turn on the radio. Now twenty years later they don’t listen to opera and can only recognize a few songs. Does it matter that their Uncle Andy is a trained opera singer? Not really. He sings to the kids but not opera. That’s ok. Opera isn’t for everyone and neither is Van Halen.

Over the Thanksgiving break my daughter didn’t know who Steely Dan was. Do I care? Not really. I don’t go out of my way to listen to them and neither does her dad. At twenty she knows who Glen Miller was but not Steve Miller. That’s ok.

As a parent you have to make sure your kids don’t grow up in a cultural void, but you can’t teach them everything. They learn things along the way and they won’t know it all by the time they’re seventeen, twenty or even fifty.

For example my kids know art. They can tell you if a work is Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Dada, Pop Art, Medieval (their least favorite and what they consider the weirdest), Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Surrealism, and many many other movements. Art is important to us, so we passed that love on to our children.

They can’t tell you who any of the presidents between John Quincy Adams and Abe Lincoln were, or anyone right before or right after Teddy Rosevelt. If they really think about it they might be able to come up with some trivial facts, but neither one are American History Majors, or Music History Majors.

We all teach our kids our own culture. In my house it is art and music we like, and how to grow herbs, and bad puns. They’ll catch up on all of the other stuff. Believe me, they can, and will, beyond your wildest expectations.

The fact that Billie Eilish didn’t know who Van Halen is is OK. She is only seventeen. Maybe her parents didn’t like Van Halen. Nobody is going to play music to their children unless they like it. Some people do play music to their kids that they don’t like but they’re just weird and read too many child rearing books.

Ms Eilish obviously had caring parents who shared a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to their child.

One of the things I like best about her is that she is her own young woman and a good role model to other teen girls. She doesn’t rely on dressing like a later day Playboy Bunny to get attention. It is her music not her T&A.

Another thought…

Don’t EVER stop learning about and listening to new music. My kids introduced me to so many new bands. Of course as Vampires we have to keep up with things as a matter of survival, but that’s another blog post. Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to were with my kids. I even went to Warped Tour with them. Yes, we had more fun than I could have imagined years ago at a Black Veil Brides Concert. Parents and other adults – don’t be old farts. Expand your musical horizons. If you have questions just look it up on my blog. I think I’ve written a dozen posts about going to concerts with and sharing music with my kids.

I’d like to think that most people reading my blog are life long learners.

So keep learning. Keep sharing information. And keep encouraging others not tearing them down (unless they’re assholes, then you can tear them down as much as you want.)

I’ll leave you with some music. I’m off to hang lights on my Christmas tree, and then maybe dance the night away.

~  Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Don’t Bother Me (I bet you feel the same)

I still own the small adorable house (1,100 square feet) I purchased when Teddy and I first started dating. I don’t live there, but I rent it out to a little nice family. About once a week I get a call, text, or letter from someone wanting to buy it. I always tell them $650,000 cash by Friday, small bills. Nobody has taken me up on the offer yet.

The latest guy asked where I got the price. I responded with, “Dude it is my current selling price. We are in California, plus the property has the added bonus of being haunted. Ghosts cost extra.”

I have to give the guy some credit because he responded with “Good luck! No ghosts for me! I was thinking of $900k; now that there are ghosts I’m not interested.”

What else is going on today?

I’m not seeing any ghosts at my house (where I live.)

I have seen a dozen or so squirrels who no doubt were the ones who took one of my humming bird feeders yesterday. There were also two coyotes out back who had ALL of the neighborhood dogs barking. Something large flew over. I have no idea what it was because I only saw the shadow.

As with most Vampires, I don’t like to be bothered. I let the dog bark and growl at the door. Yes, my dog is a total goof ball filled with sweetness and preciousness, but she is also a ninety pound German Shepard with a loud hell hound bark. Then there is that low growl that would put fear into just about anyone.

Just like the random animals that wander in and out of my yard… wait, that isn’t correct. The animals aren’t so random. I see the same ones every day and every night.

Be it home repair, religion, or anyone asking for money, I don’t like strangers at my door. I don’t like strangers calling me on my phone. I don’t like them sending me mail (traditional or email.)

My twenty year old daughter keeps getting invitations to move into local senior communities. I forward the invitations to her with the note, “Skip college and go straight to retirement.” When she was in high school she was flooded with coupons for baby formula and sent diaper samples.

My husband gets advertisements for burial plots.

My twenty three year old gets mail about gun shows and male “enhancements.” I don’t forward those to him.

We all record everything we watch on TV so we can fast forward through the commercials.

I’ve worked in marketing. I know how it works. Unfortunately things are totally out of control and so random. The invasion of personal privacy is out of control.

That’s all. Now I have to go search for the missing humming bird feeder, and maybe one of my ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

 

 

The Presence of Evil

Halloween is coming up but the real world is filled with horrors that can rival any horror story or ghostly activity.

My friend and neighbor Kelly told me a story the other day that still sits in the pit of my stomach.

From Kelly:

With all of the news about child abuse I thought about a woman I knew who beat her child.

She joyfully told anyone who would listen, and she was the type who demanded an audience, that she had books on the subject.

Let me go back a bit…

She had never intended to have children but found herself pregnant. She was a triple A type personality, aggressive and always the center of attention. She was an expert at all things.

So into her life came a daughter. Unlike her aggressive mother, the child was quiet and meek.

That did not please the woman one bit. She couldn’t bond with this wonderful little child because the child did not live up to her expectations.

So she started to read books, because of course one MUST read parenting books to be an expert. She started to read books by people who advocated beating children. This was all based, she said, on what the Bible said. There was a culture of child beating, to beat the will out of children who did not live up to the expectations of their parents.

I grew up in a world where the Bible of Jesus was about love, not pain or control. Maybe my beliefs aren’t so mainstream.

This mother spoke in a gleeful voice of buying paddles. There were entire catalogs of paddles and other torture devices to be used on children. She attended seminars so she and her husband could learn how to properly beat a child and how to make them obey and force them to bend to the will of the parent.

A quiet meek and willful child has no chance against such monsters. Maybe the act of being willful was really the act of self preservation and fear.

She spoke of locking her child in a dark room. She spoke of missed meals. She spoke of forced activities. By that time a son had come along. The son was perfect and like his mother – he wasn’t quiet or meek. He didn’t need to be beaten. He was loved.

My daughter was about 8 months old at the time, so that would make the poor daughter of the woman I knew about 18 now. I wonder if she hates her mother. I wonder if she has run as far away from home if she can. Does she cut herself? Does she take drugs to numb her pain? Does she sleep with countless boys to feel loved? I wonder if anyone called CPS or if the father cared at all.

I should have said something. I should have done something. I should have told her that she was an evil bitch but the words failed me.

Of course this woman was like any “popular” girl at parties and well, it was all so vile and twisted that I never wanted to see her or speak to her again.

So that is it. I don’t even remember her last name. I remember her first name. I remember her face. I remember that I was in the presence of evil.

______________________________

I know this wasn’t a pretty story and we don’t have any answers. It was a story that needed to be told. I used my own words… next time I’ll record it or write it down exactly but I hope there will be no next time for a story like this one.

I will have happier things for you later. I promise.

And remember to talk to your child, listen, love, learn, hug, accept and cover your babies with kisses and accept them for who they are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

We’re all entitled to our opinions (tell that to your children RIGHT NOW)

Warning: I’m going to say things about your favorite books, movies and musicians that you might not agree with.

There are things that I don’t like in popular culture that people (most) rave about and I simmer with disgust.

I don’t mention a lot of these things to avoid reactions. It is as if I said “I don’t like puppies or kittens.” I mean everyone loves puppies and kittens.  I really love kittens but I just used that as an example.

But I’m not one of those rabid haters who goes into Facebook Groups or other online forums and spreads negativity and acting like, well, an asshole.

That said, there are things I don’t like. I don’t like the books “Eat, Pray, Love”, “The Bridges of Madison County” or “Little Women”. But that is just me. Go ahead and love them. Just don’t hate on me because I don’t share your love. I don’t like Sylvia Plath either (please don’t send me hate mail). There for the first time THAT is out in the open.

The very idea of watching Steel Magnolias makes my teeth hurt. I can’t stand Forest Gump. But you can watch those movies all you want – just don’t expect me to watch them with you or listen to you talk about them with joy and wonder.

Music is something that really gets to people. I hear Fleetwood Mac is coming out with a new album. I’ll hide under my house in a coffin for a month to avoid hearing any of it. I didn’t like them on their first album and I don’t like them now. Those voices put me on edge and make me want to scream. Just like I can’t stand listening to Neil Young, most female singers from the 1990’s, most music from the 1970’s, Bob Dylan and Babs Streisand. But if you love them then listen to them. If it makes you happy listen to them. If you want to read Twilight for the 12th time go ahead.

And that is something that I try to teach my kids. They talk about the rabid haters for some of the bands they listen to. Some of the bands might seem weird. And some of the fans or weird. But worse are the haters who do everything from online hater talk to peeing on graves of band members who have passed away. One band that has a lot of almost violent haters is a band that promotes “being yourself” and also has a strong anti bullying message. Go figure.

If we all listened to the same music then every radio station would be the same and everyone would be bored. Music would die. And with any hope it would be reborn from the lone kid in her bedroom with a guitar doing something different and new.

So back to parenting…I don’t want my kids to ever describe themselves as “jaded”. But I don’t ever want them to not have opinions – even strong opinions. But there is a time or place for those opinions. Teach them to have filters and know when and when not to speak up. And it is ok to speak up, but speak up in an informed and educated manner. Speak up in a friendly manner. Don’t be a hater about it.

A good rule is to wait a second, like the delay on TV (for bad language etc), then if the words in your head seem right speak your opinion. Same with posting something online.

Don’t hate me because I don’t like your books, music or movies. Like me because even if I don’t like your taste in anything I think it is ok for you to like it. I’m cool with it. I don’t care.

All of that said, if you don’t like puppies or kittens there might be something seriously wrong with you and have it checked out by a professional.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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