When I was little, I loved listening to Broadway musicals. It started with Annie, of course (wasn't every kid who grew up in the Suburbs surrounding NYC in the late 70s/early 80s obsessed with Annie?). But, spurred on by my involvement in a singing group, I was soon belting along to Grease, Chicago and Bye Bye Birdie. I never thought about what the words meant, I just sang. It wasn't until college that I learned what half of the things I'd so gleefully sung about actually meant.
I assumed the same would be true with M. I made her a mix CD recently of "princess music," consisting largely of songs from Disney movies. But I had some room on the CD, so I snuck in my favorites from Annie, Hairspray and Bye Bye Birdie. I (correctly) figured she'd like the music. My big mistake, however, was in assuming she'd just listen and maybe sing along without thinking about what the words mean. My folly has led to some interesting lines of questioning:
"What's a hard-knock life, Mommy?"
"Why are their lives hard?"
"What's an orphan?"
"But why don't orphans have Mommies and Daddies? Are they dead?"
"Are you half and orphan, since your daddy is dead?"
"Are you going to die?"
"when you go back to work, will I be an orphan?"
"What's a flasher?"
"Why does that girl's mom tell her 'no'"
"Why doesn't her mommy want her to dance on TV?"
"Can I dance on TV?"
(she also, incidentally, insists that the Tracey who sings "You Can't Stop the Beat" is a different girl then the one who sings "Good Morning, Baltimore," because they sound different.)
"Why are they on the phone?"
"Why are they singing on the phone?"
Seriously, if I'd know she was actually going to listen to the songs, I'd never have put them on the CD. The point was to get her to stop talking in the car, not to open up new and uncomfortable lines of questioning.
At this point, I'm just glad she's never heard any of my Avenue Q cd.