OK Computer?

As I was driving home recently, I was daydreaming a little bit in my head about stealing a CD from my daughter’s room. In the future, like when she’s a teenager — yes, I think about my children being teens sometimes. First: it’s going to happen. Second: Monkey already acts like one. Three: If I can create the scenarios in my head, then maybe I will be able to deal with them when they happen (piercing, sneaking out, hair dying, boyfriends).

(Okay, I’m never going to be able to deal with boyfriends.)

The daughter in question in my little daydream was Bun. It was Bun because I was listening to Siouxsie Sioux on the radio, and I was thinking, “This is probably something Bun is going to like; I’ll have to borrow it from her when she buys the CD.”

And then I thought, “By the time Bun is old enough to pick her own music, CDs will be dead technology.”

So how am I going to share music with my teens? How am I going to be aware of what they are listening to? What am I going to hand to my daughter and say, “Listen to this”?


When I was 2 (and probably when I was 4), the music in my house was primarily the classical music my mom played on the radio. My parents’ cars had AM radios. I don’t know when they bought a stereo, but it had a turntable and my dad owned vinyl records (LPs, albums). I don’t recall an 8-track player.

The point being: these things are tangible. I have a CD collection of about 300 CDs — actual, real, shiny compact disks, with jewel cases and liner notes. One of the things I hate about downloaded music (and I don’t even know how many “downloaded” albums I own. More than 10, less than 50, probably) is its lack of liner notes I can hold and flip through, with lyrics and musicians and back-up/guest singers.

What are my kids going to have? Their own computers and their own iPods? I don’t even own an iPod yet. That and a compatible iPod dock for my car are probably my next technology investments.

I could not tell you whether or not my parents kept tabs on my musical artist selection. My guess is not. As long as I listened to my dad’s John Mellencamp and U2 albums, they probably figured I was all right. I can’t see me being so laissez-faire — but not because I can see myself being a super-nosy mom, but because I am a huge fan of good music.

I actually want Bun to listen to Nirvana, and Sleater-Kinney, and the White Stripes, and M.I.A. Monkey is already into the Beatles, John Lee Hooker, and Fountains of Wayne. And she loves classical music, especially Mozart. (Bun, on the other hand, would choose TMBG over Mozart any day.) But I will want to know what else they are listening to when they start making their own choices.

I think about reading, too. I love my books, especially my hardcovers. There are certain books and authors I will only buy in hardcover. Most of my books come from the library. That’s why I talked DearDR out of buying me a Kindle for Christmas (well, that, and we couldn’t afford it). I don’t want a Kindle, I want a book. With pages to turn. And I want the option of free books, from the library. Is that something a Kindle can do for you?

My children, though, will probably have ebooks and Kindles. Their shelves — if they have shelves — will be for… for what? My shelves hold books and CDs. I guess my children’s shelves will be for pictures (digital pictures printed out and framed — or, digital frames) and knick knacks. Monkey is already a knick knack girl. Wait until I explain dusting to her. That’s why I’m not a knick knack person.

All of this is to say: Not only do I wonder what the future holds for my kids, but I wonder what type of media will deliver it to them.

How do you think our children will be reading, watching, and listening to their books, TV, music?