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I can hear her approach from two rooms away, and I know she's headed straight toward me.
I consider ducking beneath my desk or kicking my door shut and pretending I'm not here.
Emily rounds the corner, the songbook from her music class dangling from one hand. She thrusts it toward me, indicating that I am to pull her into my lap and sing every single song to her, from beginning to end. During this private concert, she will clap her hands and stomp her feet and sing along. She loves this shit. The music is in her blood.
And it has been since she was born, when I used to plop her into her Rock n' Play and dance for her like no one was watching while cooking dinner.
At this point, I can only hope her obvious musicality one day leads to a lucrative music career that offsets all of the freelance income I lose every time I have to stop and sing to her. But what type of musician will she be? And, while we're at it, who will your little entertainer someday emulate?
If your'e just dying to find out, take this awesomely realistic quiz:
1. When presented with a toy chest filled with a plethora of musical instruments, which one does your little one ultimately opt for?
A. She grabs a pair of maracas or shaker eggs and tears around the house as she waves them in the air, her mouth wide with sheer joy and excitement.
B. He grabs the pink, inflatable guitar he got at a one-year-old's rock n' roll-themed birthday party and starts singing the "Hello" song from his weekly music class.
C. He sits down—his legs straddling his Flash Beat Drum, his head bobbing—and pat-pat-pats as lights flare and his family dances around him.
D. She smacks her Flash Beat Drum while it's in background music mode, sprints to the center of the living room as if it is her own private performance platform, and dances her heart out.
E. She points insistently to your iPod's portable speakers until you turn it on and press play.
2. When the music starts, how does your baby's body start moving?
A. He's pretty chill when it comes to showing his appreciation of the music, preferring to remain seated while rhythmically bobbing his head.
B. He puts his whole body into it, flailing and jumping and head-banging around the kitchen.
C. She keeps it simple, adopting that side-to-side hip bump popular among older folks at weddings. Somehow, however, she makes it look so cool.
D. She has somehow known how to twerk since the time she was able to sit up without support and, since then, she has added in... well, you don't know quite how to describe it? Floor humping? Is that a thing?
E. She has a mean shoulder shimmy.
3. What type of music really gets her moving?
A. Those CDs they hand out at her music class at the beginning of every new semester. They contain a mix of lullabies and more upbeat tunes and even some tone-matching exercises.
B. Your husband's rock-heavy collection of Stone Roses, Blur, and Weezer.
C. Your old compilations of music from the '60s and '70s.
D. Britney Spears's "Work B**ch."
E. All of the Top 40 pop artists of our time, including Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor, Lukas Graham, and DNCE.
4. What is your child's musical superpower?
A. A mean vibrato, and the ability to match pitch perfectly.
B. A tendency toward transforming those toddler-sized, at-home ball pits into the wildest mosh pit you've ever seen (you can apologize to those kids' parents later).
C. Perfect rhythm, whether clapping his hands, stomping his feet, or playing the tambourine or triangle.
E. You know those blank sheet music notebooks that composers use? She's known since the age of 18 months that they're music-related and actually pretends to sing songs while flipping through their pages.
Add up your responses, making note of whether your child got mostly A's, B's, C's, D's, or E's.
Mostly A's. Remember when you were young and idealistic and wanted to be the next Jewel, singing folksy songs in an ethereal voice that lifted people up toward ecstasy and enlightenment? No? Just me? (Really?) Today, we have Sara Bareilles and, to a lesser degree, Rachel Platten. Tomorrow, we'll have your daughter. She will play at small bars and maybe, someday, House of Blues and, if she's lucky, she will be discovered by someone like John Carney and star in a movie about Brooklyn buskers.
Mostly B's. Your child will grow up listening to Brit Pop like Blur, Pulp, and Supergrass. In high school, he will form a rock band, of which he will be the lead guitarist and singer, and he will practice in your basement, and you will say to yourself: at least he's at home, where I can watch over him and know he's okay. Later on, in college, he will form and dissolve and form and dissolve many bands, and play many local bars. He may or may not make it big. But he will always have an impressive music collection (though you shouldn't let on how impressed you are, because he is super smug about it.)
Mostly C's. When I see your child, I can't help but think back to those Paul McCartney concerts I went to when I was young, during which Linda McCartney swayed about in the background with her tambourine. Seeing them back then made me wish I had been born earlier, and that I had lived through the days when the Beatles were big. Instead, all I can do is dress up as a hippie every Halloween. As for you child, he will thrive on the yoga festival circuit, playing center stage at Wanderlust, emulating earlier yoga festival favorites such as Caravan Palace and MC Yogi.
Mostly D's. Forget the piano, the guitar, your child's voice box. When it comes to your offspring, her body is her instrument, and she is destined to break dance her way into the big leagues. She'll get her big break on "America's Best Dance Crew," almost immediately being tapped to be a backup dancer for Beyoncé, Pink, or Prince. Tiring of her time languishing in the background, however, she will eventually transition into modern dance, transforming the way the general public thinks about dancers in a way "So You Think You Can Dance" was never quite able to achieve.
Mostly E's. Backup dancer for Beyoncé? Forget it. Your kid is the next Beyoncé. Or Rihanna. Or Adele. Or... wait, who's a dude (besides Prince) who only goes by a single name? That. That is who your child is destined to become. Because your child is a goddamned star.
That or toddler maracas are just a whole lot of fun.