Every stage in your child’s life manifests something magical and comes with its own set of amusements. Their first steps, their first words, an uncanny aversion to the sound of a blender or a vacuum cleaner – each is special. At this point in my eldest’s 6 year old life, we are entering the realm of not-so-secret crushes and the beginnings of celebrity awe and emulation (which left unchecked will lead to a career as a bottom-feeding paparazzo). In 2010, there is one boy who has a choke hold on the hearts of almost every American girl from age 6-16…and that boy is Justin Beiber. (And if you’re anything like me, you just found out who he is.)
The kids went to a skating party this weekend. Loud hip-hop music permeated the air. Their were strobe lights and arcade games, and at the back of the rink hung a huge screen streaming music videos on YouTube. As the girls wobbled and toddled in the middle of the rink with some of the other beginner skaters, they gripped my hands tightly for fear of crashing to their doom. A pack of three blond girls was hovering near by. You could tell who the “cool” one was and that the girl with the blond pig tails and glasses sporting that Merry Fairy Bug green T was allowed to hang out with the crew because she was the “cool” one’s cousin. As they attempted to get their bearings on the wooden skating floor, I saw them all pause and look just past me. Nadjah stopped moving too. What had captured their attention? I looked around and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Eventually, one of the girls started breathing again and spoke. It was the bespectacled one.
“Justin,” she whispered breathlessly, his name slipping through the gaps in her teeth.
Suddenly, all three girls took of like little rockets, with Nadjah not too far behind. (I would later discover that Nadjah’s two musical ‘idols’ are Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift.) Their spindly 6/7 year old limbs suddenly found grace and strength as they skated to a song called One Time…or This Time – I forget. Three minutes later the song ended and they stood weary but triumphant, certain that they had pleased Justin Beiber (where ever he was) with their first grade efforts at grooving with reverie to his tune. But then Ke$ha came on, and that took away their powers. They were back to the center of the rink toddling and trying to find their footing, as if they had never actually skated at all.
Don’t laugh at these poor little girls. You did the same thing in 1984 when Planet Rock came on at the rink too. You probably still do.