I generally make it a point to let my daughter develop her own tastes. This is why right now she’s sitting on the rocking chair in a Little Mermaid costume. Now I don’t wear dresses if I don’t need to. I certainly abhor the color pink, but pink dresses are my daughter’s whole world. She adores everything girly and is constantly putting on lip gloss and checking herself out in the mirror.
This is to say, children come with their own personalities that are completely independent of us, their parents. My daughter is a friendly extroverted princess. As a child I was an introverted dork. I liked science and played with microscopes, read astronomy books, and my favorite place on Earth was the science museum. Often I have a hard time finding anything between us that is even remotely in common.
Now, the way parents are an influence on their children comes into the type of things parents expose their children to whether intentionally or unintentionally. The fact that I don’t coddle her lets her further develop her independence. The fact that I make a conscious effort not to appear afraid of trivial things (like spiders and roller coasters) encourages her to not fear them either.
Of course every once in awhile she’ll catch me by surprise by actually asking and preferring something of my taste specifically. Today we were in the car and she wanted to listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She particularly loves the song “Snow (Hey,oh)” off the Jupiter CD of Stadium Arcadium. Now I know she likes it because I play it in the car, but part of that is taste as well. She doesn’t ask me to listen to the Stooges or Metallica. She likes the Chili Peppers.
This is where the real influence part comes in because if I was the type of person who listens to Reggaeton, then she’d be singing that instead. This is also the case with musicals. She LOVES Musicals. But what musicals am I exposing her to? I broke down and got her High School Musical because I know she’d love it. But besides that she loves Chicago and Connie and Carla.
This morning she wanted to watch Episode 1 of Season 2 of Viva la Bam. Again, my influence. But She likes it because she thinks its funny. She’s not asking me to watch reruns of The Office.
Today we were in Spencers and I was looking at the hats. She calls me over to look at something and when I look it’s a pink neon light-fixture of the heartagram symbol. “Mom, look, it’s your sign from your show,” she says. I laughed. I had watched enough Viva la Bam where my kid could associate the heartagram symbol with the show. Now she can sing along to certain HIM songs as well, but since it’s not a visual, she hasn’t made the connection.
She likes the science museum, the same one I went to when I was a kid. She’s seen the aliens there, and dinosaurs, and penguins. I also take her to the store Claire’s where she runs around looking at jewelry, purses, and hair accessories. We go to Hot Topic and we go to the Disney Store. We watch Batman Begins as well as Barbie Pegasus. We broaden each others perspectives. As different as night and day, but sometimes we blend together like a sunrise.