How Caspar Babypants saved my life
In 1993, scientists from the University of California at Irvine released a study that sparked The Mozart Effect. Even though the study had nothing to do with children (it involved college students listening to Mozart before a test), claims flooded the market that introducing your young child to classical music would make them smarter, faster and better human beings. While this effect has since been somewhat debunked, the children’s music industry continues to release instrumental versions of your favorite rock songs every year.
Even before The Mozart Effect, pregnant women were encouraged to place headphones on their belly to expose their fetus to music. My mother claims that I would kick whenever John Cougar Mellancamp blared through her belly speakers. Doctors now have different suggestions about belly headphones, but many agree that being introduced to music both in and out of the womb can benefit those important neural connections happening in a baby’s brain. Playing music for your child can have a positive effect on their mental and social development, but what kind of music is best?
Enter children’s music. As a children’s guide at Anythink and mom to a toddler, I have heard it all. I have listened to the kids singing censored pop/rock songs. My car stereo has been subjected to singers who utilize baby talk singing styles. We've been exposed to fart sounds, bubbles popping, and lullaby renditions of Metallica. While I applaud those in the children’s music industry for their important role, I am just not a fan of most of it. My husband simply refuses to listen to almost all of it.
For a long time, we just did our own thing when it came to music for our kid. My husband often turned to The Beatles or Charlie Parker. Lilah’s bedtime lullabies were often me singing jazz standards or 90s hits. While I was creative with changing certain words, I was often choosing songs that were not really appropriate for a crawling babe. I am anticipating some questions about Lauryn Hill’s "Doo Wop (That Thing)" sometime in the future.
Enter Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew, former front man of The Presidents of the United States of America. As a child, I knew all the words to "Peaches" before I probably should have and followed the band through their multiple break-ups and comebacks. Inspired by his own children and the art of his wife, Kate Endle, Caspar Babypants’ music is bright, witty, and fun. I checked out a CD from the library and over 16 albums later, he is still a go-to in our house.
The major reason we love Caspar Babypants? Even though the songs can be about rolling pancakes or disco hippos, the lyrics are intelligent and the music never crosses into cheesy territory. Yes, playing music for your child is absolutely important, but Caspar Babypants showed me that the grown-ups in the room should enjoy the music, too. Sharing a love of music has outstanding benefits that go beyond those you will earn by just putting on your basic kid’s songs – unless you like fart noises or kids singing about broken hearts. (I will admit that Kidz Bop 30 is my favorite.)
So, browse the music collections in the library or head over to Hoopla to download or stream albums free with your library card. Still don’t know where to start? Here are five songs my family has been jamming to at home:
I’m curious. What are your kid’s favorite songs? Do you love them or hate them? What are favorites that you share? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.