Covid Chronicles: Punk Rock 2s

I haven’t written a blog entry for a while. Just before my last post, I discovered that my journey with my partner to become parents again had officially begun. To have children, we need a significant amount of medical support. I had just taken the blood tests (two blood tests and several regular impatient pregnancy tests along the way) and gotten the news that my daughter had rooted herself.

It was a time of change. I was still on parental leave, just about to return from sabbatical to direct my teacher education program for single subject/secondary teachers, more actively establishing two businesses, parenting a toddler. When I did come back to full time work, I did so knowing that I would not complete the semester. From my first classes back, I was preparing my students and my program for the day that I would leave again.

I never knew that we all would be saying goodbye to physical proximity far earlier. None of us did.

The pandemic began and we all began to consume the news. My partner’s family lives in Italy and so as an epicenter arose there and Lombardia was shut down and then all of Italy, we were filled with concern and worry. By the time that the pandemic began to arise here in the States, we knew that we would also be quarantined for a while and that so many lives would be lost. Being pregnant in a pandemic added additional layers of complexity and an exponential rise in concerns.

I’ve returned to my blogging as part of a rededication to a daily writing practice, whatever the length, topic, or genre.

In this first return blog, rather than talk about that journey of pregnant in a pandemic (those posts are coming), I want to focus on the moments of parenting joy. These many days later there have been so many. My son has offered so much of it.

Ever since he was a crawling baby, we have been surrounding him with music. When the local community and arts center, La Peña had workshops, we took a workshop series, twice, on plena, learning how to play our panderos as a family. When my in-loves came to visit from Italy, we even took them to a class and played as an extended family at home. Our home has a clarinet, various keyboards, a cello, several trumpets, panderos and various other percussion instruments, and now the full piano I bought myself when I achieved full professor (the third Black person and first Afro-Latinx to do so at my university). In thinking back, R has been shaking a maraca since he was something like 4 weeks old, and I have the pictures to prove it.

So, when he started rocking out to punk music, I wasn’t surprised.

It started with signing up for Rockin Kids Sing-a-long on the recommendation of a dear friend. After the first class, for a week, R would grab any percussion instrument or anything he could make into a drum like the two bamboo sticks and the patio furniture that was his instrument for his first son, “‘Cotto” or Helicopter in English. Everywhere there was music … and a lot of guttural screaming. It reminded me of punk. A little noise, a touch of anarchy, a lot of critique, and always a push towards freedom. As my ears would ache a bit, I would chastise myself any time I thought of dulling his shine, don’t you want him to be free? Don’t we all want to raise free children?

In response to that first week, our family music tastes have changed: punk, ska, rock, funk, jazz. We signed up for SF Jazz Fridays at 5 concert series and, as a family, watch a concert together each Friday. We watch Rockin Kids together and rock out, as parents sometimes more vigorously than R. He’s at the age when he has a lot of tantrums; he’s got a lot of big emotions, I say. He’s just developing the language to express those emotions, especially as someone who is immersed in Italian, English, and Spanish with some ASL as well all day. There’s a lot to take in, but rather than call this exponential period of change the “Terrible Twos”, I call it the “Punk Rock Twos”. Reframing how I see and engage with his behavior changes everything! My son is not terrible. He’s so sweet, giving kisses to everyone before he goes to sleep and, unprompted beginning to clean the house to help his grandmother, or pulling a blanket over his tired father. I like to think of him as a punk rock 2, deeply caring for the world and others with his mind, body, spirit, yell against … whatever urgent issues a two-year-old is against. And I’m a punk mama, emerging.

#babyplaylist for punk and more (sourced from here and here and friends on Facebook), #punkrock2s #punkrockbaby #funkybaby

  1. Ricanstruction
  2. Bad Brains
  3. Bikini Kill
  4. Fishbone
  5. Rebelmatic
  6. Tower of Power
  7. Headhunters
  8. Lettuce
  9. Kashmere Stage Band
  10. The Dead Milkmen, Punk rock girl
  11. Ramones, Sheena is a punk rocker
  12. Meet Me @ The Altar, Morris farm drive
  13. Bloodywood, Machi Bhasad
  14. Big Joanie, Dream No. 9
  15. Big Joanie, No Scrubs
  16. FIDLAR, Why Generation
  17. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, I believe I can fly
  18. Big Joanie, Fall asleep
  19. Paramore, That’s what you get
  20. Motion City Soundtrack, Everything is alright
  21. Face to face, Blind
  22. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Over the rainbow
  23. The Hives, Tick tick boom
  24. Big Joanie, Cut your hair
  25. Joan Jett, Bad reputation
  26. Nirvana, Sliver
  27. TCIYF, Beds are burning
  28. Rancid, Time bomb
  29. Sleater Kinney, No cities to love
  30. Weezer, Undone – The sweater song
  31. Save Ferris, Come on Eilee
  32. Dan Vapid, Robot with a human heart
  33. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The impression that I get
  34. Ramones, Blitzkrieg bop
  35. TCIYF, Band practice
  36. The Thunderlords, I like Dirt
  37. Against Me!, I was a teenage anarchist
  38. Teenage Bottlerocket, They call me steve
  39. The B-52s, Rock lobster
  40. Ramones, I wanna be sedated
  41. The Sonics, Strychnine
  42. Kepi Ghoulie, Bye Bye Brains
  43. The Aquabats!, Super Rad!
  44. Siouxsie and the Banshees, Spellbound
  45. Ramones, Rock ‘n’ roll high school
  46. Talking heads, Psycho killer
  47. Ted Leo, The Pharmacists, Me and Mia
  48. The Offspring, Nitro (Youth Energy)
  49. The Clash, Should I stay or should I go
  50. The Pogues, The Dubliners, The Irish Rover
  51. MxPx, Punk Rawk Show
  52. Less than Jake, All my best friends are metalheads
  53. Fugazi, Waiting Room
  54. Green Day, When I come around
  55. Peelander-Z, Taco taco tacos
  56. The Distillers, Beat your heart out

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