Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for January, 2008

Times Like These

Music has been a major part of my parenting since the day Iris was born. I still recall the first drive home from the hospital. Beforehand, I always wondered what that would be like and whether I’d be one of those dads that drove 10 MPH the whole ride home, worried that harm would come to my new child. Well, I didn’t do that. I drove the normal speed and didn’t really worry about getting into an accident. That’s not to say the drive wasn’t memorable. Before we brought Iris down to the car, I did a little prep work. I wanted to make sure Iris’ first music out of the womb was some good stuff, so I put in the Foo Fighters "In Your Honor" acoustic CD in the car stereo and got it ready to go for the drive home. Iris was crying throughout the entire time we left the hospital (to the point that we were worried that security would think we were stealing the baby) and into the car, but as I started the CD, the soft voice of Dave Grohl coupled with the hum of the car actually calmed her down and she mellowed out for most of the trip home. As Cherise and I enjoyed the calmness of the moment, we heard the line "I’ve got my hands on a miracle". Seizing the moment, I reached my hand back and placed it on Iris’ knee. Cherise got the reference right away and smiled. It’s one of those moments that I will take with me forever and I can’t hear that song without thinking of October 15th, 2005 and the day we brought our daughter home.

Fortunately, the Foo Fighters influence did not end on that Saturday afternoon (as if I’d let that happen). For the last few months, I’ve been in charge of putting Iris down to sleep at night. For the first few months, we’d go through the same ritual. Iris asks for a song and I say "what do you want to hear?" Iris would respond "Tula Tula" (her way of saying the Irish Lullaby song that Mommy sings for her). I’d say "Daddy doesn’t know that song". She’d reply "Tinkle Tinkle" (as in “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”), to which I’d reply "Daddy doesn’t know that song". Yes, I knew both songs, but I had an agenda. Those were “Mommy songs”, so I’d respond "how about a Daddy song?" Iris would smile and go "sure". That’s when I’d go into a choice of three songs, two from the Foo Fighters and the other from U2. Each night, we’d go into this same ritual with her knowing that I didn’t know the songs she’d originally request and would end up doing a Daddy song. In fact, she’d crack up when she’d ask for the Tula/Twinkle combo, knowing full well that we’d end up with a Daddy song. I figured she’d probably prefer the Mommy songs, but I wanted to keep things balanced and she got Mommy all day. So imagine my surprise when Cherise and Iris went away on a trip and Cherise had to put her down. According to Cherise, Iris didn’t ask for the Mommy songs, but requested a Daddy song. Cherise, not sure which songs I was singing, said "I don’t know the Daddy song. Can you sing it for me?" When Cherise told me this, I thought “oh geez, she doesn’t know the words—what is she going to sing?”. Cherise then shocked me with her response” "I don’t know what songs they are, but she started saying something about ‘looking to the sky…back home". I nearly fell off my chair. Those are lyrics from the chorus from the song “Learn To Fly”. My two-year old daughter was singing the Foo Fighters?!? It’s working!!! Woo Hoo. Well, she gets the lyrics confused at times and combines songs, but she knows the songs. She no longer asks for Mommy Songs and she has even started singing with me at times. It’s now something we look forward to every night. Each time we talk about our bedtime ritual, I’ll ask her "what’s the last thing we do before sleep?", to which she’ll smile and coyly say "Dah-Dee Sawng". The two minutes of the day where the only two people on earth are me and Iris. I don’t know how long this will last and I don’t know how much she’ll remember when she’s older, but I’ve come to appreciate the joy of sharing a common interest. The funny part is that I’ve been singing these songs without focusing on what I’m singing (paying more attention to her reaction than what I’m saying). Last night, I actually listened to myself and realized how appropriate the lyrics were:

It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again

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