“Mommy…why Justin Bieber doesn’t have hims shirt on?”
This was the start of a conversation my 4-year old started one evening on the way home from daycare. After some careful questioning, I was able to figure out that one of the (older and more mature?) kindergarten girls brought in a TEEN magazine that had a photo shoot of The Biebs all kinds of nekked from the waist up. I’m certainly no prude, but I have to say I was a little upset at this.
I want my baby girl to be innocent and naive for as long as possible. Up until that point, I thought it was *cute* how she wanted to listen to his music and talked about being his “girlfriend.” I’ll admit, at the time, we had one JB song that we listened to in the car. But I was in no way ready for her to be looking at half-naked pictures of him!
Here’s the thing: I can’t keep her locked in a tower until she’s 30. (I can’t, right?) So in this digital age, how does a parent protect their child from exposure to things that are just too grown up? And where do you draw the line? Even Disney Channel puts way too much emphasis on kissing and relationships if you watch after 5 p.m. And that’s just the commercials!
My girl loves music and loves to dance. For her dance recital last year, her class wiggled around to “Single Ladies” and let me tell you, it was super cute to see a bunch of 3-year old divas shaking their ring fingers at the audience. I put the song on our iPod so we could practice the dance at home and in the car on the way to daycare. It turned out to be the gateway music, though. Next it was the LMFAO song, Party Rock and then it was Selena Gomez…and then some more Justin Bieber. Before you could say “Teen Mom,” we had full on Bieber Fever.
I accept full responsibility for downloading the insanity in the first place. I know it’s my job as her mom to filter what goes in front of her curious eyes. But if I had to listen to one more Dora the Explorer song I was going to lose it. I just wanted a little variety. I didn’t know that with great power comes great responsibility. Well, I did. I just didn’t know it applied to parenting a pre-schooler and shielding her from the media that’s trying to turn my baby into a hoochie mama.
So now what? I’m trying to find an antidote to The Fever. I introduced her to Taylor Swift the other day. The early Taylor Swift when she herself was innocent too and only wanted to sing about tear drops on her guitar and summer love. Unfortunately my daughter must have heard the phrase “Go big or go home” somewhere. Now, it’s a rare day when we can actually leave the house without ten different Tay Swift (as Zo likes to call her) videos on YouTube…Of course, if Tay Tay keeps dating as many men as her track record is leading us to believe, well, I’m gonna have to find another role model.
P.S. When I was a teenager I always said that I was going to always like popular music and be the “cool mom” who liked the tunes her kids listened to. True story. “How’s that working out for you?” I said to myself.