Shhh...I like Justin Bieber (and his mother)

Justin Bieber with mama Pattie MalletteJustin Bieber with mama Pattie MalletteIt's time to get personal, maybe even make myself a little vulnerable. It's the moment when I say aloud what we've been quietly whispering about in our home. My parenting confession? I'm kinda into the Bieb.

Perhaps to most parents, the pop star's presence in their homes, cars, piping up from the basement during a play date -- those "Oh baby baby baby"s over and over and over in a mind-worm that somehow gets deep into a parents' brain even more than it affects small children -- just means that their kid's are entering that awful rest-of-life phase of listing music that is beyond their control. While going from shimmying to Justin Roberts to pop-locking to Justin Bieber overnight is alarming. But before my boy starts idolizing someone singing lyrics I can't even begin to decipher or recreating some full-body rocker tattoo-piercing thing, I'm going to embrace this leap to the the feather-swept hair singer.

Of course, we'd heard Justin Bieber songs around, but my six-year old son and I really took notice when we saw him on Shaquille O'Neal's summer series "Shaq Vs." He challenged the dreamy teen to an on-stage dance off. Although Bieber's freestyle skills and personality actually stood up to Shaq's big stature and ego, he still stood out as a kid who was grateful as he is talented.

It was about that time that my son started pulling his hair across his forehead. I'm not sure if that's fully conscious Bieberization, but I will be on alert about baggy pants and cocked trucker caps. I'm even more OK with him catching some of that "dare to dream" and "never say never" schmaltzy confidence and empowerment than the hair flip, to be honest.

Maybe that good-kid-ness is what stops my ears from bleeding from his sugary songs. It could also be that, in a time of kooky Taylor Momsens and time-bomb Miley Cyruses (or is that Cyri?) and oh-God-not-more Gaga, I like the positive energy this kid's putting out there to other kids.

OK, I also like that he was raised by a single mom
, who says her parents were instrumental in building stability for her boy, and surrounding him by a circle of people she trusts.

And when I saw this clip, when I heard her say words that I related to and respect, it made me even more invested.

"I think it's really important to dream. I think it's really important to set goals and go for it," she says. "But I want Justin to be able to find his identity and worth, not from what he can do, but from who he is."

(This is the part where you force your child into you lap to catch all of your tears and motherly aspirations.)

How wonderfully sane and centered is that? I don't know what else happens in their family (although I love love loved that clip of the grandma making the big, bad Bieb clean his room before he goes out), but that was so refreshing (yeah, I'm looking at you, Mama Lohan and Papa Simpson).

Tomorrow, after my boy tests to get his next belt in Tae Kwon Do, we'll be celebrating in the theater by watching the documentary about another single mama's boy. And I admit, just as I did watching this little bit, I might get a little teary. And my kid? Well, he's apt to smooth his kindergarten coif and get a little dancy.



photo credit: Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic