Mothers of small children are rarely trained in the arts, but are required to perform at the drop of a hat (or the onset of a tantrum) various musical numbers, frequently accompanied by proscribed dance moves which will be sorely missed if forgone or misapplied. In our house, these spontaneous shows occur at set hours (before and after naps, during station breaks on PBS, and while snacks are being prepared) as well as on demand at random intervals throughout the day, and at all times in the car.
This command performance, though tedious, is not the least pleasant part of my parenting regimen. I love to sing, and teaching songs to children is a great language training tool. We live in a “singing house,” which has always been one of my visions of homey happiness. We sing together as a family. All of us. Even those of us who can’t.
Husband, for various reasons, can’t carry a tune in a tin pail. But by the grace of the Lord and a miracle of childhood adoration, our babies don’t seem to notice. Of course, that can’t last; and by the time they hit three or four, stuffing fingers in ears is a common sight. But in the tremendous toddler years, nothing beats a snuggle and a song with Daddy. Even if that song stays on the same note throughout and the words are improvised on the spot.
I wish every tired mom of a two-year-old could know the joy and delight of turning away from the dishes in the sink and catching a glimpse of the man she adores stretched out on the couch clutching – not the remote control and a beverage – but that precious child. The one who spent two hours in the tub followed by thirteen seconds with a magic marker and now looks as if he has possibly never been bathed. The child who asks for Spagettios with such a cute voice that her mother temporarily forgets the darling’s tendency to wear in her hair what she didn’t use to fill the pockets of her overalls. The one who picked up the phone during Mommy’s sixty-second shower and dialed Fiji or Athens or Riyadh saying, “Hewwo, Gwandpa. I wuv you.”
The sight of that sleepy little head cuddled into Dad’s chest turns the headaches of the day into at least comic relief, and at best golden memories to savor over the years – accompanied by the beautiful sounds of an off-key lullaby. Thank Heaven for Daddies who love their kids (and their wives) enough to take their moment on the stage.
*I wrote this little tribute thing a few years ago and just came across it. Lucky me.