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November 15, 2005


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I bought the CD about 10 years ago and LOVE it.


I think it's fantastic that you're blogging about things like this. The Peanut will someday really enjoy reading about things she was too young to remember but are memories she will hold dear.

My family's bonding music was "Weird" Al Yankovic. Go figure. Ah, how I loved watching his videos with my dad.


Your post brought back a flood of fond memories for me. I loved "Free to Be You and Me." My mother (who sadly passed away recently) used to sing me the songs from the album constantly. Thanks for reminding me of those lovely memories. I'm going to go sing some of the songs to my daughter now.


Metro...you are the coolest, most sensitive dad of the new millenium.

Helen C.

Oh, the memories! My favorite was always "Boy Meets Girl" with Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas!


I LOVED "Free to be...". So many great songs, I still know all the words to "William has a doll" and "Ladies First"...

Such great memories. I bought the CD before Bean was born. I can't wait for him to love it as much.

Now, N. has never experienced it... I believe he called it "hippy propaganda" when I explained it to him.


Thsi also made me think of an other childhood favorite... "Really Rosie" based on the Maurice Sendak books with music by Carol King.

Check it out... counting, manners, alphabet songs... and a budding diva.


THE POINT by Harry Nilsson is my childhood record nostalgia tipping point and is available on DVD, I have a long-standing stoner crush on CHRISTMAS WITH JOHN DENVER AND THE MUPPETS, and there exists a great DVD version of the titanic YELLOW SUBMARINE movie - here's to forcing subversive, smart hippie propoganda on Generation XBox!


Luper...over the years, you and I have gotten high together more than once. Usually, we played Scrabble, discussed one of your screenplays, or watched SportsCenter. Why have we NEVER watched "Christmas with John Denver & the Muppets" together???


I think I'll put this on the kids' holiday list. Somehow, this is one piece of hippy propaganda that I avoided growing up, but I always wanted to be able to sing those songs.

FYI, for next year--check out PeeWee's Playhouse. My kids (especially the two-year-old) LOVE the 1st season DVDs. And you get to see S. Epatha Murcheson & Larry Fishburne (yes, back when he was still Larry) looking all skinny.


Hippy propaganda rules!


dude, I believe, to the bottom of my naive heart, that the wiggles can be avoided.

I am 100% for digging up weird shit from the 70s to show my kid, though.


Ooooh! I love that whole recording. And I also had Peter, Paul, and Mary albums for kids (Inch by inch, row by row...), rocked the John Denver and the Muppets album many a time, AND my dad would play me "Puff the Magic Dragon" on the guitar and sing to me when I was little.

He and I actually performed it together a couple years ago at a coffee house -- me singing, him playing. It was a brilliant moment. And no -- we weren't high.

JJ Daddy in Savannah's Baby Momma

Damn your normal upbringings! Dad was tone deaf, but played Elvis in the car, Mom was an opera singer, so we grew up listening to her belting mezzo arias while vacuuming. I'm still clueless as to what normal children listen to, but the twins seem to like trip hop, and Little Mary Sunshine like to sing along with Beastie Boys and K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Are we just passing the baton on another generation of musical bizarreness? Do I need some manditory Raffi?


We are a Raffi and Wiggles-free household. Barney is tolerated only on roadtrips with the portable dvd player. When our daughter isn't watching Noggin, we allow her to watch some of our favorites from our youth. PeeWee's Playhouse ROCKS as does the Muppet Show. We are also enjoying Schoolhouse Rock with our girls.


Both Big Daddy and I loved that album as children (it's one of the things that attracted me to him, and I still have the LP), but I have to say that my absolute favorite was my Elvis Sings for Children album, although I had to skip Old Shep each time I listened. Only so much dog killin' was tolerable at age 6. I still know the words to all the songs on both albums, and it will be fun to share them with my Peanut.


I've loved music all my life. And its sincerely amazing to me how many of my own memories are stored away then brought back to life by music. I figure, if I start Mia off young, I can hopefully help the same thing happen for her. If not, well, at least I tried. Trying to get my daughter to love music the way I do would be a great gift though.


Lesbian friends gave us the FTBY&M CD at our baby shower with a note saying how much it influenced them both (!!) Until recently, when Maceo Parker took over, it was or bathtime music. (Apparently Momma singing, "Pass the peas! Pass the peas!" is a whole lot funnier than "A doll, a doll...")


Do your readers dare bad talk The Wiggles? Have you seen how hot the blue Wiggle is? Yes I know four grown men in a big red car who play with a grown pirate with a feather sword is a little strange but come on people...those Wiggles sure can rock! I realize they are no School House Rock, but I'd say they are pretty good. In fact if I ever met those wiggle face to face I would look that blue Wiggle right in his lovely, desirable, seductive blue eyes and….wait. What was I talking about?. Anyhow, Nothing can shut up a screaming 18 month old like a good ol’ chugga chugga big red car tune.


My kids are huge Muppet lovers. Also Sesame Street, but the ones from the eighties, my dad somehow put them on DVD. Oh, also School House Rock. Did you know you can purchase them on DVD? I would rather eat a toads ass than watch or listen to the Wiggles, Barney, Barbie or DORA. All are banned in my house. We listen to a lot of different types of music in my household, so my kids are extremely eclectic. It’s easy to influence them now, but who knows what it will be like when they are teenagers. Hey, did you have fun with Jay and Kim?


Just hearing about that album brings back so many memories. As a young girl, I loved it! I would play it over and over on my record player until I drove my family crazy. My future children will certainly be including this in their musical repertoire. (No Wiggles though!)


Oh, I loved that album as a kid, and I love it now. Do you know, my mother in law gave me this horrible book when I had my son called "Bringing up Boys" or something written by a really conservative doctor who claimed that things like Free to Be you and me were the reason little boys grow up to be gay. I kid you not.
Anyway, thanks for posting this, just reading about Free to be you and me makes me smile.
I didn't even know there was a video!


I somehow missed FTBY&M growing up. It was all Schoolhouse Rock and New Zoo Review for me. I don't know much about the current batch of children's stuff, but I have a hard time imagining that they rise to the level of those classics.

I hear that They Might Be Giants have a couple children's albums...I may have to get those...


I'm with Dutch on boycotting the Wiggles. It CAN be done.

Now I have to go out and buy that DVD...


For fun, playful, and musically eloquent songs for children, check out Gunnar Madsen. He was one of the founders of the groundbreaking a capella group, The Bobs. His songs for kids are quite fun, and since he is a skilled musician, they are good to listen to as well. His song "Are We There Yet?" is one of the most touching songs about childhood I've ever heard.



I was deprived, my parents never got the album for me. But I heard it at a friend's and ended up buying the DVD for Christmas last year. The boys love it. They get all huggy.

Mama Muse

Ah yes, the sting of my own childhood. Wait until you can relive old films like the Gremlins and Ghostbusters!

To the list of memorable childhood albums, I'd like to add Carol King's 'Really Rosie'.

(oh man, I hope my grammar is correct and all...)


I'm from an (ahem) earlier generation, and the album that does make me all teary eyed and nostaligic is Danny Kaye's "Mommy, Gimme a Drink of Water". I still have the album I had as a tot. My baby brother colored all over it with white crayon about 40 years ago, and I painstakenly cleaned it off, tape recorded it for my nieces and nephew, all of whom are out of college now, and then passed the tape on to my kids. I'm sort of embarassed to admit this, but I have the whole album on my ipod. Honest, there is just something about listening to Danny Kaye sing silly songs that makes it all ok for me. I'm taking the ipod to the hospital when I have my surgery on Thursday! I'm sure I'll do some Danny Kaye for comfort.


as the un-parent commenter on this blog, i have to say that i love, absolutely love the idea of playing my child to sleep with Tori Amos or Belly. wierd, but soothing somehow. and with dutch et al. on avoiding the wiggles. can't we have fun and visually amuse our kids with "the wall"?


My home is a Wiggle free zone. They creep me out, "fruit salad, yummy yummy..." YUCK!

I was not allowed the FTBY&M album. But a friend had it and I can remember sitting on the hideous (then hip) green shag and singing along...I especially remember the conversation between the boy baby and the girl baby. Is that still on there?

the weirdgirl

I feel the same way about anything with the Muppets, and Schoolhouse Rocks (me and Keen bought the DVD way before we even planned kids). Music was big in our house, seeing as how the parents were hippies AND musicians, but somehow I missed the FTBY&M album. Did anyone else listen to the Agape records? It was, like, Christian hippie propaganda. We're already grooming the kid's music education.


No Wiggles here. Bunny is three and has no idea who they are. I consider that an achievement. I love FTBYAM, too. I have my record album and book from the 70's, still. When I found out I was pregnant with Bunny, I did update and bought the CD. Love the music and the message so much. I know every song by heart.


Just this evening I recited this to little Eli... "Just because I was the last one across the icky river with the crocodiles and the snakes means I have to share a mango? No matter how last I am it's still ladies first. So hand over a whole mango, please. AND THEY DID."

Also. Marlo Thomas put out a new album that we just got with the same mix of celebrities, music and stories called Thanks Giving. It's got some good stuff on it. Maybe for an older crowd.


1. Schoolhouse Rock;
2. The Muppet Show (particularly the Belafonte and Elton John episodes);
3. Sesame Street; and
4. Electric Co. (if i could only find the show on DVD).

My son loves the 1st 3, too.

As for my 2.5 yr old beastie boy's musical taste, he thoroughly digs Elton John, Dan Zanes, Ray Charles (especially "Hit the Road Jack", which he can belt out), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Johnny Hodges ("Everybody Knows Johnny Hodges). He will drop whatever he is doing to karaoke and dance to any of the named artists.

As for television programs, he liked Little Bear and Oswald early on and has graduated to Calliou and Bob the Builder. Since we live in Miami, where construction sites abound, Bob the Builder is particularly attractive to him. He is able to reify the characters on BTB when we go on our morning runs.

Chief Chef

Hi Metro,

Long time reader, first time commentor. I just had to chime in here because I'm simply fascinated by all these parents who are "too cool" to let their kids listen to the Wiggles. What kind of self-indulgent crap is that? What's wrong with the Wiggles? Kids absolutely love them. And you know what? Anything my kids love is fine by me. I don't want to impose my own tastes on them. Let them figure their own out.

It's the same way that I feel about Chuck-E-Cheese. All I hear around me are parents who swear that they will NEVER take their kids there! But have you ever seen kids at Chuck-E-Cheese? They fucking LOVE the place, it makes them so happy. As a classically-trained chef, I'd prefer they eat something healthier and less processed but I'm not going to deny my kids of the pleasures of their childhood.

I think you get me, Metro, because you talk about exposing your daughter to your own tastes ans still letting her listen to the Wiggles. I just don't get these other parents who feel that the Wiggles are beneath them. It's KID music, people! Wake up and stop being so full of yourselves!


My parents were fully into the hippie granola lifestyle of the 70's. Hence, my sister and I were exposed to all sorts of weird crap. But the one thing that has always been a treasured memory is FTBY&M. We used to sit around as a family and sing all the songs over and over again. My sister and I would pore over the book religiously for hours at a time. We loved doing the "I'm a boy" skit with one another.

Now that I'm older and have my own kids, I've been exposing them to FTBY&M. I was curious to see whether they'd enjoy it in the same way that I did. Sure enough, they do. There's something about it that's so universally appealing to children that it almost restores your faith in humanity. It's truly a work of wonder.

Queen of Ass

Good God, you're old!

(I will never admit to knowing every silly song the Veggietales ever sung. NEVER.)


Oh, MD! You just socked me in the nostalgia area of my stomach with FTBY&M! I f-ing LOVED that shit as a kid. Almost as much as the entire Schoolhouse Rock collection, which, sadly, I downloaded as an adult about a year ago.

I have a vision of you and the BossLady, being the grammar proficianados that you are, singing the Peanut to sleep with "Conjunction, junction, what's your function?" only giving it a punkish little tempo. And that truly warms the cockles knowing there are parents as cool as the two of you.


"It's easy to look back at this record as a dippy, feel-good paean to the sensitivities of the 70's."

You mean "sensibilities", not "sensitivities":) Normally, I would not comment on the language usage in blogs, but your previous post inspired me:) Anyways, it's great to care about expressing yourself correctly and effectively, but there's a point when it becomes obnoxious. I could see why the person taking your order would be annoyed by you. You could have just stated your correction once and left it at that instead of pressing on. Anyways, we all make mistakes, even grammar perfectionists such as yourself:) Keep that in mind.


I'm going to disagree with jstele, MD. I think "sensitivities" is acceptable because I think you were referring to "the quality or condition of being sensitive." This was certainly an attribute of many people in the 70's (esp. those who listened to FTBY&M!)


I have that cd. I mentioned it on Michele's blog just today. My kids loved it. My students loved it. Holy scheisse, Michael Jackson was a real PERSON in the video! I mean, with a nose and everything!

How cool that you mention this on the same day I did.

Are you my long-lost twin?


I bought the FTBY&M DVD and book for my daughter about 2 years ago. We live in England, where they assume all girls aspire to careers in princess- and fairy-dom. Pink, pink, pink with sparkles, please! Needless to say (but I will anyway), I wanted her to have media-sponsored alternatives to Angelina Ballerina and whatever else parents dope their kids with. And while we all love FTBY&M (well, frankly, the Italian husband finds it a bit too corny-American), watching it can make me more miserable than nostalgic. I realise how little progress we've actually made in implementing the optimistic 70's sentiments of individuality and equality expressed in that programme. But the biggest tragedy is that my 5-year old daughter does not see the irony in "Ladies First"! Maybe I'm trying too hard...


My daughter watched the Wiggles once. Only once. As a result, I now hear her scream "fish" every night at bathtime so I will sing her "Swim Like a Fish." It's like crack for the toddler set, people. Scary. Very scary.
We also have a bit of a Bear in the Big Blue House love going on in our house. "Everybody Clean Up The House" is a very effective tidy-up song so I will keep that one on rotation until she tires of it.
Of course, there's no accounting for taste...she also loves it when I sing the Monkees theme song to her! :)
I never did get much exposure to FTBY&M as a kid due to an ultra-conservative, country music laced upbringing but I will have to run out and buy the DVD now. It's fun to have a kid...I get to do all the fun kid stuff I missed out on!


I will always remember those two babies in Free To Be You And Me discussing the physical differences between boys and girls! I just cannot see the Wiggles having a lasting impression on my kids the way some of the shows in the seventies had for me. I also recommend renting, or even buying, the Fat Albert DVD's. They are also wonderful tools to teach kids to care!


Oops, I mean the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids series, the one that Bill Cosby used to host. Hope I cleared up any confusion since I just realized there was a Fat Albert remake movie not too long ago. Not the same as the cartoon series!!!!

Mr. Wonderful

Let's Michael Jackson singing When We Grow Up...ah weird.


I loved "Free to Be You and Me".

If you want an extremely cool book about non-sexist childrearing, check out "Growing Up Free" by Letty Cottin Pogrebin. It's out of print and somewhat hard to find, but sometimes people sell used ones.

I have two copies and would be happy to lend you one via mail if you want.

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