The Music of Motherhood

I’ve always loved to sing. It used to drive my brother crazy. I’d sing as a way to combat car sickness, and something in my voice (or perhaps my very presence as the little sister) hit his eardrums like the screech of fingernails on slate. Long car trips must have been a nightmare for my parents: either one kid whined or the other kid puked. At least my singing didn’t seem to bother them.

I dreamed of becoming a singer, but my brother’s reaction alone was enough to tell me that wouldn’t happen. Still, I tried. I tried out for a solo in my fifth grade Christmas pageant; I didn’t get it. I was in the school choir all through middle school, and when I couldn’t squeak along with the sopranos, I lobbied for the creation of an alto section despite the teacher’s protest that a twelve-year-old girl couldn’t be an alto. She compromised by letting me sit closer to the boys. In high school I did get a few chorus parts in musicals, plus one small solo as the referee in Stuart Little, but my range was small and my voice untrained (I was fine singing a well-practiced part in front of an audience but one on one with a vocal teacher, my stage fright kicked in). In college, when I cajoled explanations out of teachers who didn’t cast me in their plays, I was once kindly told that I just couldn’t sing.

Of course, that’s never stopped me. I sing all the time. If I’m not singing along with the radio, my husband asks me what’s wrong. But still, I’ve always wanted an audience who would appreciate my voice. My dad wandering into the room to ask me to turn off the radio when I’m singing and fiddling with my guitar doesn’t count (Thank you, Dad, but who do you think you’re fooling?). I once landed on a song that killed at karaoke (Peggy Lee’s “Fever”) but after a while the regulars got sick of it and so did I.

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally found the audience I’m looking for–rather, I’ve created it. He might not know anything about music, but nearly every time I open my mouth to sing, my son stops what he’s doing and listens. The right song can calm him out of a frenzy or lull him off to sleep. My many diaper-themed* parodies make him giggle (“Diaper Filler” to the tune of “Psycho Killer”, “Wipe It” to the tune of “Whip It”) and he finds my attempts at show tunes fascinating. He also finds his feet fascinating, but you know what? They are.



*My parodies have many themes. Others include “Naked Baby” to the tune of “Angel Baby,” “The Crib” to the tune of “The Pit,” and more recently, a baby-fied version of “Santa Baby.”

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