Parents have always been keen to document the adorability and genius of their children, but lately a wave of videos of kids performing either spontaneously or with a parent have gone viral. It’s a good time for all of us to watch and relearn to express our inner divas and front men.
Picking a favorite among the new crop of adorable, largely unscripted, kid performance videos making the rounds this year is a lot like deciding if you want a billion dollars to rain down on your house in $50s or $100s. It’s all good.
I got hooked on this new trend as a means of self soothing about two weeks ago when I was having a terrible day. Our clothes dryer caught fire and it rained for a week so I could not hang laundry on the line.
As I sat there posting about my misery on Facebook, I ran across a video on YouTube posted Sep 10, 2014 of Zariah, 4, who was identified with Downs Syndrome. Zariah is singing and gesturing to the song “Let it Go” from the Disney film "Frozen" in front of a mirror with total abandon and reckless passion that was so adorable that I had absolutely no room left for sadness.
After that I found myself going back to Zariah’s video for cheering up. As time wore on I started to seek out more and more kid-generated sunshine to drive away the emotional rain that occasionally comes with being a busy parent.
On Sept., 14 a dad got caught dancing and singing “the birthday dance” with his toddler.
Then, even on good days I found myself searching YouTube using key words like “adorable child dancer” and “funny toddler sings.”
That’s how I first saw Zaya Sun Crossley , 2, of Atlanta, Ga., dancing to Sia’s “Chandelier” song on YouTube.
Then, I found her mom, Shannon Byrd-Crossey’s Facebook page and learned that the dancers behind Zaya were actually taking their cues from the tiny dancer as the “choreographer” in the emotional, stirring piece created on the spot. The video was uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 14.
One day when I was just generally feeling grouchy and I decided all I needed was one quick little video pick-me-up.
Instead of chocolate – a favorite go-to fix for the blues – I turned to a daddy and daughter dancing to Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off.' It pinged on my Google search alert for cute kid music videos
While this one is obviously staged I was unable to stop watching. When my son Quin, 10, caught me bopping in my chair while watching it he was all-in.
“Mom! You and I HAVE to totally do this right now,” Quin insisted. We did the dance - twice.
Then it was all I could do not to squander my serious work time scouring the Internet in search of more emotional chocolate to brighten my day.
That’s how I found the video that explained for me why I feel so good watching this kind of video.
Uploaded on Mar 31, 2014 by what is essentially a contest akin to “China’s Got Talent”, a pint-sized, incredibly self-possessed child named Zhang Junhao, age 3, is there to dance like he does with his mama at home and on a local plaza where he was spotted and invited to the competition.
This is just one of those kids we like to say is “born old.”
At first, the jaded judges, mockingly put him to the test with questions a slew of tough questions which he calmly answers in a way that both disarms and seemingly unnerves the them.
The child hands a remote control to a boom box bigger than he is to a judge who, instead of just playing the song decides to play with the child further by randomly switching through the vast selection of tunes programmed into the machine.
Yet, for me, the resulting spontaneous dances are not the most amazing thing about the video.
At the end, the now adoring judges ask Zhang why he likes to dance.
“Because I like dancing. When I dance my Mom laughs,” he says with the seriousness of a Shaolin monk. “My mama says laughing is happiness.”
Then a judge asks the standard contest question, “Tell me, what is your dream?”
“My dream is to make people happy, because I’m happy,” the child replies solemnly. Then he turns the tables and asks the judges, “Are you happy?”
Truth be told the judges are now in tears, but the answer is actually “Yes.”
“Yes,” seeing real kids being real about expressing themselves through dance, song, and in other ways makes me happy on a core level that years of parenting and being grown-ups may have cause me - and others - to forget.
Please, parents, in the name of spreading the joy, keep sharing your children’s honest and creative dances.