Our Five-Year-Old Gleek

There's no doubt that Mali, like me, is a third child. I watched the entirely inappropriate Fantasy Island and Stir Crazy (we had one of the first VCRs in town, with bootleg videos to match), she watches Glee and Lord of the Rings. But whereas I longed to be best friends with Loni Anderson and learned to swear like Richard Pryor, she (and her big sister) are learning to love music from multiple genres, and learning geek lore and cred that will benefit them forever.

Here is one of Mali's latest bursts of enthusiasm:

India the Five Year Old Glee Fan

It reads, "My favorite Glee songs: Bust the Windows, Hate on Me, Defying Gravity" and then has drawings of Mercedes ("Mrsadis"), Kurt ("Kirt") and Rachel ("Ra," she ran out of room).

The most fun part of having two Gleek girls is introducing them to the songs under the Glee covers. After watching Rachel nail "Don't Rain on My Parade," Iz spent hours on YouTube, watching Barbra Streisand videos (she is also starting to imitate Celine Dion's spangled dress sense, but we're working on that). Mali tends to like Mercedes's songs, so I showed her Jill Scott's original take on "Hate On Me"

She watched the video, then turned to me with saucer eyes and gasped, "She's AMAZING!!" And now, when she draws flowers, she likes to give them "Jill Scott hair."

I'm so pleased that she likes music beyond the kiddie tunes. It makes our car time especially so much more pleasant.

As for LOTR, I caught her reading the Two Towers last night (the movie photo guide) after lights were supposed to be out. She didn't fuss when I took the book from her, but did insist that I give her back her "Precioussss," as she is calling her stuffed cheetah.

Oh yes, raising them right.


  1. Wow, I guess I'm overprotective... I don't even let my 12 year old watch Glee. Yes, the songs are fun and catchy, but the whole teen pregnancy/ lying about who the father is/ discussing getting pregnant in hot tubs/ grown woman faking pregnancy to hold onto her disinterested husband/ throwing slushies on the unpopular kids/ hmm 'what else that grownups can see the sarcasm and humor in but elementary age kids can't' ...anyway... I know you're a good mom and probably use these topics as conversation openings. I just worry I guess with some of these types of shows that what the message ends up being is "this is what typical high school kids and adults do" rather than "this is entertainment because it IS over-the-top". (I also was dismayed when my friend let her then-8 year old watch Grey's Anatomy... wayyy too much casual sex, and glorification of casual sex).

    Anyway... just another take on it. We're getting similar results at getting our kids (12, 8, and 5) into rock music with the Wii games like Band Hero and Lego Rock Band.

  2. Understood. And I suppose I'll have to stop being so chirpy and give actual details: I prescreen the episodes, and I watch them alongside. Mali finds the drama parts boring and ignores the show if no one is singing, and re-watched the musical numbers online. Z craves high school drama, and I'd much rather she watched Glee than the tawdry cruelties of Gossip Girl.

    I consider the sexuality of Glee tame and cautionary compared to Grey's Anatomy, and I appreciate Glee's skewering of the chastity movement/abstinence programs -- it's all on about the level that Iz encountered during her session of our church's Our Whole Lives youth & sexuality program (http://www.uuabookstore.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=719).

    So, I feel as though we're on top of it. We're a fairly frank household. But she's not going to be seing anything with gratuitous sex in it any time soon, so, no Buffy the Vampire Slayer for now.

  3. That sounds very reasonable! The drama would probably go over my 5-year-old's head as well.

  4. Anonymous6:29 AM

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that lets her five (now six) year-old watch Glee! She doesn't really pay attention in between the songs, and I'm there watching with her to explain things if she asks, so I don't worry about it too much. She seems to know it's silly, because it's certainly not what her school experience is like. I'm really quite strict about what she gets to see on TV, but this is like our little naughty secret together :-)I am far more disturbed by what she's learned watching Disney Princess movies at her grandmother's, frankly.

  5. I haven't gotten into the Glee thing, but I must agree - That song and her hair ROCKS!

  6. I am a 34 year old Gleek. Admitting is the first step.

  7. Jill Scott lovers should also check her out in HBOs "Lady's number one detective agency" She is AMAZING in that as well.

    LOVE Mali's note, especially the creative spelling - what a bright little 5 year old girl! :)


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