Island Packet – There are a lot of things you give up when you have children, such as going to see movies within eight months of their release dates, much of your contact with adult humans after 9 p.m. and the ability to decide what song will be playing in your car for something like 20 consecutive years. (You also forfeit the ability to ever say, “No, I don’t know what the Backyardigans are,” and not be lying to protect your image and, of course, claim to not have to clean pee out of things much.)
Yet these days, parents are getting better at multi-tasking, and a growing and increasingly spendy percentage of them are feeling less inclined to abandon the pursuits that occupied their free time before they, hypothetically, turned the entire living room area over to what I believe to be the Lowcountry’s third-largest Thomas the Tank Engine collection, the components of which I believe are secretly alive and conspire to move around by themselves every time you turn the lights off, ensuring that no matter how careful you are, you’re guaranteed to impale an important toe on a toy caboose on the walk back through them. Hypothetically.
All of which brings us to Baby Loves Disco.
Baby Loves Disco is a movement started by the same group that produces the “Baby Loves Music” series of CDs, the first of which, “Baby Loves Jazz,” features extremely good musicians like Sharon Jones and John Medeski and which you should seek out if the threat of hearing anything sung by an anthropomorphic gerbil today may drive you to karate chop yourself in the forehead with a toy. (The most recent release, “Baby Loves Hip-Hop,” was produced by De La Soul’s Prince Paul and comes out in April. It’s also good, according to my finicky 4-year-old, who when presented with it in the car did not do the thing he usually does when he objects to a song, which is throw a SUBLIME FIESTA OF WHINING until I put “Boat Drinks” back on. Yeah. He likes Jimmy Buffett. We spend a lot of time at the Tiki Hut.)
Now to be fair, I confess that I’m writing this from a distance — the baby/disco craze is not a problem for me, because I regard dancing in much the same way I might regard having my feet stapled to the carpeting while someone uses piping hot salad tongs to remove my eyelashes. To say that I am not a dancer is to laughably underestimate the power of the word “not.” I am aggressively opposed to dancing, I loathe dancing in the same way I do dictators and disease and Donald Rumsfeld and I would dance, if I did dance, as though I was being repeatedly jabbed in the thyroid with an electric cattle prod and no, this doesn’t have anything to do with having a handful of really bad experiences at high school post-basketball game dances or anything, so don’t even ask.
But for parents into this sort of thing, it looks and sounds like … well, what I imagine a real club to look and sound like, had I ever actually consented to enter one. It’s real music with real DJs and real juice bars, though the playlist seems to have a good bit of Midwestern wedding thrown into it: “Night Fever,” “Dancing Queen,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “We Are Family,” that sort of thing. And at these clubs, when you stumble out at 4:30, you’re probably looking more for your SUV rather than a place to get a bowling-ball sized burrito for under three dollars.
But it also speaks to a larger movement, that of something that doesn’t separate the worlds of parents and kids quite so much — listen, I have nothing against Chuck E. Cheese, or “Dragon Tales” or “The Polar Express,” except that the last one is extremely creepy and all of the characters have dead eyes, so I guess I do have something against it — but if there’s any way to occasionally bridge the gap between what they’re going to cry about doing and what you’re going to cry about doing, I say jump at it. Even if it requires you to absorb a few minutes of the Bee Gees.