Finally, a Children’s CD Parents can Enjoy

April 2, 2008

I’ve listened to enough Wiggles songs to make my head explode.  I’ve heard every song that Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego have ever recited.  I know all the words to the Sesame Street classics.  But what else can I do?

You see my children like music – I mean really like music.  And in my effort to be a good parent, I try to cultivate that interest by surrounding them with music they enjoy.

Anything is PossibleAnd while they might treasure the sounds of their favorite TV characters, the repetition of that music on a daily basis is enough to test the sanity of even the best parents.

But when I’ve overdosed on children’s music, I can hardly put in Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones.  Not only is the language and references to sex and drugs questionable content for two year olds, but my kids find most of my music choices too loud (I know it’s only a short amount of time before I have the same claim about their music).

That Baby DVDBut I think I’ve finally found a CD that the children and I can enjoy together.  That Baby CD combines music made famous by some of my favorite artists with a nice acoustic sound that my kids can enjoy too.

“We are one of the few out there that have decided to take children’s music into a new direction,” said Rob Wolf, co- founder of OyBaby LLC, company behind That Baby CD.

That Baby CD has pushed children’s music further than ever before by trying to create “something that the entire family can enjoy,” Rob said.

And I think That Baby CD did just that.  The music is danceable.  The children can clap their hands to it.  Parent can – and will want to – sing along with the music, music they know from artists like Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley. 

This CD has something for everyone.  It’s perfect for those long car rides when tensions run high and boredom sets in.  Parents can feel comfortable about putting in That Baby CD to liven up those long trips with some snappy music that gets your feet tapping and your voice singing along with the familiar words.

“I think the music has to accessible to [the children].  It has to have melodies that are catchy and words that are appropriate,” Rob said.

Rob combined his hobby video editing with Lisi’s photography skills and the pair’s love of music to produce their third children’s album.

“We struck a chord with a product that fits a need for a lot of families,” Rob said, adding that it’s a labor of love for him and Lisi.

The Wolfs first venture, OyBaby, and its sequel OyBaby 2, focused on Jewish music for babies and kids.  They wanted a way share their Jewish heritage with their children.  Both albums were well received with more than 40,000 copies sold in the U.S. and 15 other countries.

So when non-Jewish friends started asking the Wolfs for a CD that they could enjoy with their children, Rob and Lisi were happy to oblige.

In 2007, the Wolfs decided to take the things that succeeded in OyBaby and turn them into a non-religious product.  And it was only natural for them to turn again to their friend Stephanie Schneiderman, and her sisters Lisa Schneiderman and Kim Palumbis, to record their songs.

Stephanie, who has done the arrangement for all three of the Wolfs’ children’s albums, is an accomplished musician in her own right with five solo albums under her belt.  She and her sisters sing 10 of the 14 songs on the CD.

And the 14 songs came out of a lot of brainstorming on Rob and Lisi’s part.  After weeks of looking for potential songs, they came up with a list of 30 which they eventually pared down to those on the CD.

But don’t ask Rob to pick his favorite:

“That’s like asking me which is my favorite child,” he said.

I, on the other hand, have already selected my top choices – The Pretenders “Brass in Pocket” and 10,000 Maniacs “These are Days.”

The kids and I put the CD in and dance around the living room to those two tunes all the time.  It’s a great chance for them to experiment with their own dancing style.

But if you are afraid that that your little one won’t identify with the words, then you should try out That Baby DVD that comes with a child-friendly video accompaniment for each song (the picture at the top of this article is from video for Jonny Lang’s “Anything is Possible”). 

The DVD gives the children a chance to “visually put their mind to” an image when they are later listening to the CD in the car.

So if you are looking for music for your children that won’t drive you crazy, check out That Baby CD


Where do your kids go on the web?

September 4, 2007

My twins are only two, but they are already fascinated with the computer.  While I’m extremely proud of their interest in technology, I’m also a little afraid. 

Both of my children love to get on my lap while I’m working and play with the mouse or pretend to type.  They love to get e-cards from Grandma.  And they like looking at the Playhouse Disney site with Mommy because it has all their favorite characters.

My husband and I have discussed it and think its time for the twins to get their own computer. Nothing fancy.  Just a basic model, making even a refurbished one.  But what computer is not the difficult decision.  Besides, some learning games we buy, where else can my toddlers go safely on the computer?

The Internet opens up a whole wide world of information and activities, but it also opens up a world of creepiest scum out there peddingling stuff I don’t want my children to be exposed to.

I recently came across this list of 50 Sites for Kids that I’ll be bookmarking.  Some of them are still to old for the twins, but they’ll be handy in the future.  Like the list of sites for help with homework and news.

For toddlers, I think these are my top choices:

Playhouse Disney — Games and activities featuring all the twins favorite characters — Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and My Friends, Tigger and Pooh.

Seussville — Games revolving around our favorite rhyming author.

Sesame Street — Games involving the lovable muppets from Sesame Street.  Includes printable coloring pages.

Nick Jr. — The twins can enjoy activities with Blue, Dora, Diego, The Backyardigans and Wonder Pets.

Boomrang — I want my children to be able to enjoy the classic cartoons from my youth including Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, The Flinstones and The Jetsons.

Crayola — A plethora of arts & craft activities for every age.  The site has online coloring pages.

What are your children’s favorite website?  What would you recommend me bookmarking for the toddlers?

Damon to Guest Star on ‘Arthur’

August 15, 2007

I’m guessing that it won’t be his box office success with The Borne Ultimatum that will capture Matt Damon’s daughter’s attention, but his latest guest starring role.  An animated Damon will guest star on the September 3 episode of Arthur, according to the Boston Herald.

Matt DamonDamon, complete with animal ears and nose, will host “Postcards from You” that encourage children to send in homemade videos and will cause the friendly aardvark and his friends to produce their own vidoes for submission.

I think it’s great when actors and actresses take time to guest star in children’s programs, especially stars that are parents too.  Tina Fey was on Sesame Street this week.

Personally, I don’t think my children would know who Matt Damon is, but then again they are only two.  But it’s still a great idea.  Also, guest stars like Damon are a great way to get the parents to watch these shows with the kids.

Elmo Heads to Primetime this Christmas

July 24, 2007

Parents make sure you set your Tivo for ABC this holiday season because Elmo and friends are headed to prime time for a Christmas special with a host of guest stars.

Elmo’s Christmas CountdownAccording to the Hollywood Reporter, the Muppets from Sesame Street have been signed up for their own one-hour holiday special.  “Elmo’s Christmas Countdown” will air on ABC this holiday season. 

Ben Stiller (Night at the Museum), Tony Sirico (Sopranos) and Steve Schirripa (Sopranos) will be on hand to help Elmo, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, the Count, Grover and Snuffy count down the days until Christmas.  Stiller, who gets his own muppet — Stiller the Elf, will serve as narrator.  Sirico and Schirripa will play Bert and Ernie.  Not sure how Bert and Ernie feel about that.

Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Hudson, Brad Paisley and Ty Pennington will provide musical entertainment on the special.  I didn’t realize Ty has musical abilities.

It’ll be nice to see the Muppets back in primetime, but personally I would’ve preferred Kermit and Fozzie.  However, my kids will be delighted with more Elmo.  Even if we watch it live, I’ll be DVRing it so the twins can see it over and over.

“Elmo’s Christmas Countdown is scheduled to air on December 23 at 7 p.m. on ABC.