An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Roman Cavalry choirs are singing

This may seem like child abuse to a certain fraction of you, but we don’t let Leta listen to music geared toward kids. Or I guess I should say we haven’t ever introduced it to her because we were afraid it would induce seizures and/or homicidal behavior in her parents. We get enough of the repetitive, seep-into-your-brain-and-rot-it-from-the-inside-out tunes in the television shows she watches. DORA I’M LOOKING DIRECTLY AT YOU.

If I say the word VAMANOS! I think I will trigger an unwelcome twitch in a certain percentage of you who have had to watch hour after hour of that little kid running around with her wretched monkey and talking map AND OH HEY I NEED THERAPY.

So she’s growing up listening to our music, and that means she hears a lot of Radiohead and Boards of Canada and lately a lot of Neko Case. And I recently purchased and am constantly playing the fantastic new Dinosaur Jr. album Farm, but she’s always going NO NO NO, THE OTHER SONG, THE OTHER SONG. And people, do you have any idea how many times we have had to listen to the other song? I don’t even have to break out my superpower here, you know the one, where I tear off my button-up shirt to reveal a golden H on my chest that stands for HYPERBOLE! And I run around labeling things THE ABSOLUTE WORST or THE BEST THAT EVER WAS and when I have to wait on the phone for customer support for ten whole minutes I’m all THEY MADE ME WAIT SO LONG I DIED FROM DEHYDRATION.

That kid loves Coldplay, specifically “Viva La Vida” and we listen to it all the time, every day. We’re listening to it right now. It is her favorite song, no other song compares, and she cannot stop her body from moving to its rhythm. Exhibit A, the child in her pajamas:

I know in some circles it is patently uncool to like Coldplay, and well, those certain circles can suck it. In fact I would have to say GIVE ME AN EFFING BREAK, and please go shave your ironic mustache. I grew up listening to Anne Murray, ABBA, and the Bee Gees, so I would say she’s already ahead of me. My only wish is that we can at some point move on to another song. I know, I know, it’s about as likely as her looking up from her bowl of black beans at dinner and saying, “This again?

  • Deborah

    Maybe bridge the divide by listening to the PS22 version of it. It’s pretty awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Laura — Jaedan and Aedan!??!!? Are you serious — those are their names??

  • Even though that was adorable, I’ve come to the conclusion that following a perfect stranger’s perfectly normal life is sort of odd. Don’t get me wrong- I love to read blogs, and I occasionally grace the internet with my own meaningless thoughts, but just now I felt like a peeper in your kitchen.

  • Have you ever looked into enrolling Leta in dance classes with the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance program at the U? I think she would love it. Such a good program, both the open enrollment classes and the audition-based Children’s Dance Theatre (which starts in 2nd grade and runs through 12th). She is such a natural dancer – she might really get a lot out of it.

  • DUDE! Her dancing and pantomiming the lyrics… she is just the most ridiculous and free and adorable thing FUCKING EVER. Ok, just had to get that off my chest.

    My son just turned 8 last month and we also have never had a single cd of Raffi or Peter, Paul & Mommy Too… or whoever the young kids are listening to these days. I value my sanity way too much. So my kid likes Death Cab, Iron Maiden, Dio, Pedro The Lion, Deep Purple, Gossip, Genesis, and Interpol. Kid’s just gonna have to deal.

  • Yea aside from Wubzy on Noggin, that’s as junior as we get around here. Music wise, my 3 yr old son runs toward Linkin Park and Duffy. My 10 yr old girl & I are obsessed w/ Muse right now.

    When I got pregnant the first time, a wise friend told me this: have a back-up song in your head. When it’s 2AM and you want to PUKE from singing twinkle twinkle little star repeatedly, make sure your tired brain can retreat somewhere safe. I personally went to Alanis, my lord and savior; I will forever thank the woman for “You oughtta know” for the rest of my life.

  • I loved her precise feet movements, and the ending was perfect. Now. AGAIN! 🙂

  • Jennifer

    That was damn cute. When I was a kid my little sister and I used to dance in the kitchen with my mom all the time; only we listened to ZZ Top. To this day I till can’t hear their music without feeling the urge to bust a move.

  • I grew up on my parents music…I remember being strangely touched by “Dust in the Wind” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. I loved the anthem of my parents life and feel connected to them through the music they shared with me. My children are growing up on mine- I laughed as my daughter learned to ride a bike singing “Handlebars” by the Flobots. They might not understand the meaning to our music…but it challenges them. More importantly, you are doing far more than listening to your music, you are singing and dancing and spending invaluable time with Leta…You guys Rock!

  • we did the same thing. boy developed his own taste in music from the music videos played on the channel we had it on (you know, back when music video stations actually played music videos). his taste went to bon jovi, edwin, ricky martin, live and a couple of others. he’s into european head banging metal now.

    oh, get leta in to some dance lessons…poor child has as little sense of rhythm as me (and believe me, that’s *very* little)

  • Oh, Heather. It’s so great to hear you say that you have also boycotted kiddie music. I am embarrassed to admit it to most people, worried they’ll think me an unfit mother or something. But I just can’t bear it. There is already a lot we’re asked to endure, you know? My son is only 11 months, but I’m dreaming of the day when he’ll do herky-jerky little dances to Wilco and Aimee Mann.

    Rock on, sistah.


  • I feel ya. Karis has an affinity for hard core gangsta rap. WTF? Where does this child hear that crap? How on earth does she KNOW THE LYRICS if we stumble upon a random radio station? Oh, and she’s got the slutty music video vixen moves to go with it. Again, WTF?

  • Before getting thrust into parenthood via an “Oh shit!” pregnancy, I was the second in command at, what was then, The Edge 103.9FM, an alternative rock station in Phoenix. Upon discovering that, “Hey, I just missed three months of tampons and pre-menstrual cleaning tirades…” and ultimately that I was indeed preggo, I vowed to my Husfriend (I was his boss-ish…we lived on the wild side) to never expose our unborn Spawn Nugget to music that included instruments like the xylophone or whose album title was alliterated to the point where we never wanted to see or hear the letter M again in our lifetime.

    Coming up on 2 years and we’re still going strong.

    At any given moment, in any given room in our house, there’s an iHome, MusicChoice, Radio, or stereo blasting some sort of awesomeness from the likes of Coldplay to Jack Johnson to Minus the Bear. We’re attempting to hone his ability to get down with his bad self for an oh snap effect on the first day of kindergarten.

    Ere go, it’s nice to know there’s someone out there who doesn’t think I’m insane because “There’s not a single kid song on your iPod”…

  • solaro

    Just got back from a 3 hours commute (no I do not live in LA but in Montreal) and I need my fix of Dooce. Your daughter singing is just what I needed to make me laugh (and 2 margaritas). Coldplay should have been with me during my commute it would have been much more interesting. Leta is great! Keep the good work and play that song again.

  • tricia

    My cheeks are killing me from grinning so hugely through that entire video.

    My 3-y.o. is also a huge Coldplay fan… but I only play it in the car. After seeing this, that’s about to change!

  • Claire


  • side note – I actually saw Cold Play debut that song at the 2008 MTV music awards.

    Good times…

  • She even dances like a scenester!

    Things that are good for kids: Listening to their parents awesome taste in music, I grew up singing along to Penicillin Penny having NO idea what that was about until years later.

  • Brandy

    I fully AGREE!!! We have 6 yr old twin boys, and they not only love Viva La Vida, but they also can tell you the name of each band when a song comes on..
    Three base notes into a song and they shout in unison “Depeche Mode!!” or “Frank Sinatra!” It is a Name That Band challenge at the end of every track when the iPod is on shuffle… and I think there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with that at all.

  • MM3

    Ridiculously cute. I like the way she works that gorgeous head of hair. The girl has got ‘tude!

  • Shannon

    That was incredibly awesome. Made my night. And I have been having a series of unhappy nights lately. Thanks Armstrongs! 🙂

  • Nice moves, I like the hands playing the piano at the start & finish. She knows how to bring it all together. I am *almost* ashamed to admit that I have love for that song, especially since I use to rage against Coldplay. The whole drawing on the arm thing made me think of Eddie Vedder & that just turned me off.

    My daughter is a freakin’ HUGE Elliot Smith fan (she’s 3) wants to listen over & over (that’s my melodramatic girl) and the boys have a host of bands that they love none are “age appropriate.” But all are awesome. IMO exposing to kids to a variety of music early on only helps create a wider range of tastes as they get older, growing up we always heard music our parents listened to. There wasn’t this host of kiddie crap. Although once they got into school it got harder to keep them away from the kiddie crap. But thankfully they still enjoy good music.

  • amy

    love this, thanks for putting it up, you guys are awesome parents!!!

  • That’s so GREAT!! I’m pretty sure my kids would kill me if I put a video of them dancing on the internet. But, I’m pretty sure I’d do it anyway…

  • LOL. Looks like she got her dancing skills from you, Ms. Flailing Octopus Arms. (Oh yes, we remember the SXSW pictures.)

    Not sure about the cuteness, though. Can one inherit things from one’s dogs?

  • acm

    Man, this might be my favorite video ever, and I don’t really even know the song. great stuff! :))

    We have a couple kids’ CDs, either in the sounds-like-current-hits variety (Mother Goose Rocks, volume 3 cracks me up!!), or of the cool TMBG/Barenaked Ladies variety. That way, the repetition doesn’t kill you, but you still have music that the kid thinks of as theirs when you’re on the road or otherwise need a little grounding from home. But sometimes she has to listen to our eclectic mix of music, so hopefully we’ll evolve in that direction. (Our baby is only 18 months right now.) Am inspired!

  • Katie

    SO cute. But I can’t help but be reminded of Elaine Benis from Seinfeld doing her neurotic dance.

    LOVE the video!

  • Milli Vanilli ain’t got nuthin’ on that kid!

  • Louise

    OMG! So cute! We dance to the Beatles in my house.

  • Ah – brings back so many memories of my nephew obsessively listening to “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks. As a teacher my kids didn’t have a music teacher so during “music” which consisted of me and a CD player on Friday afternoons, we sang “Ring of Fire,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” and danced around to various tunes by the White Stripes.

    I actually wrote about my “kids'” playlist a while back on my blog:

    Unfortunately, my nephew did go through a phase where he adored the Wiggles, but at least it was short-lived.

  • megan


  • Sharon

    Go, Leta! You’re a rock star! God, I wanted to be Ace from Kiss when I was 12. (my Coldplay repeater: Violet Hill.)

  • I hope this is your excuse to put her on Toddlers and Tiaras, because she would KICK ASS.

  • Anonymous

    Oh. My. Goodness. I am in the process of recovering from a scary blog experience…please bear with me….

    So. SO, I clicked on the play button to watch Leta dance to Viva La Vida. As the dancing commenced, I was taken aback by the raver-type music playing in the background…something about “taking you to a gay bar”?!? Now, I know you have a varied taste in music, but I couldn’t believe that even Heather Armstrong would play a song with lyrics like that (yes, they were quite specific about what was to happen at the gay bar) for her daughter until she was at least eight. I kept re-reading your post, and was sure that I was supposed to be hearing Coldplay. I watched in amazement, awed not only by by Leta’s dance moves but the song being played as well.

    It was after a minute or so that I realized that I simultaneously had my boyfriend’s sister’s blog up on another page…and on her blog she has music…and she listens to all kinds of music…some of which has very interesting lyrics. So, as it turns out, there is a band, that goes by the name of Peaches, who has a song entitled Gay Bar. And, when I closed the web page with the other blog on it, I did in fact hear Coldplay (and you singing along in the background). What a relief.

  • BEST. VIDEO. EVER! I dance the same exact way to that song.

  • OH STOP IT! That’s the cutest thing I’ve seen all day and I work at an effing PET STORE!


    PS: You probably know this but you guys can’t sing for crap.

  • Ann

    That was a hoot! 🙂

  • Jo Anne

    My now 17 year old niece grew up listening to my brothers music. She is the coolest kid around and this isn’t just because of music. When she was 4 years old she was at a petting zoo and she wanted to leave to go and listen to the Beatles. She has seen U2 about 10 times (for those of you that think they are amazing) and she knows more about music then most people of any age. If she cannot be a comedy writer when she is an adult then she wants to manage rock bands. I don’t think she ever listened to “kids” music at all. She is also an A student at a very great private school and does improv in her spare time. So, Leta, keep listening to that rock and roll!!

  • Kate H.
    Thank you, Leta.

  • G

    Love the comments about Chuck angst-riddenly photobombing… he’s giving a sideways glance and glowering, “this is so not okay with me”.

  • Adorable! And we love Coldplay too. My 4.5 year old wants to know if “that girl has to pee”

  • GinaM

    My 5 year old is the same way, no kiddie music! I love it! I just realized I may have let it go to far when she started singing Britney Spear’s “If you seek Amy” Oops!!

    I have to give another nod to Jon Schmidt’s version of Viva La Vida and Taylor Swift, it’s awesome!

  • solemom

    Awesome video – thanks for sharing!

    My little man is also a ‘viva la vida’ fan, but his absolute favourite lately has been ‘Michael Franti – Hey World’. I highly recommend checking him out – very positive and/or thought-provoking lyrics and a great beat.

  • SO ADORABLE! Get that kid in a dance class ASAP!

    She’s gonna be So Mad! when she’s 16.

  • Kate

    Leta is going to hate you for this when she is 14. Simultaneously, Leta, if you are 14 and reading this post and all the comments THIS IS THE BEST VIDEO EVER. You killed it, girl. I so so so so so love this and I cannot thank you, all, enough for sharing it with us.

  • Sarah

    If the world is at all fair, someday my life will be like that. Perfection!

  • My four-year-old watched this, said Leta dances like a rock star, and wondered if we could come visit you someday…

  • Apparently, I am the mother of Leta’s soul mate.
    I hope she likes younger men.
    A serenade, if you will:

  • Alyia

    Precious. One of the many moments you’ve let us see that makes me convinced that having kids is in my future.

    Also, I don’t really agree with those who say your vocal contribution was Western or Elvis-ish. I’m saying Billy Idol. Totally. Were you doing the snarly lip thing? Love it.

  • Katherine

    Leta is pretty much the coolest kid ever. I’d say I want to hang out with her, but in my 24 years, I have never been as awesome as she is right now.

    Additionally, my parents never pandered to me with children’s music, either. I think I turned out much better, saner and more well adjusted because of it… Not to mention more artistically open minded. So good on you guys.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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