A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: singing

Rebel Yell

Many swimming things in my mind the past couple weeks…some with the potential to be incredible…some notsomuch, but all have delayed my writing. I ran through my comfortable reserve with no motivation to cobble together the post that has consumed real estate in my gray matter for a month. Finally, here I am, and I hope it is worth the exceedlying long wait.

I posted Warrior Queen’s love of my singing shortly after her birth, something quite shocking to me…my voice is terrible, and generally I’ve never particularly had much yearning to break into song.

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(Nope.)

But, music is good for kids, so I buried my dignity in the backyard and danced on a field in the mountains with the rest of the crazies who get this shit. So imbedded in my routine throughout the last two years that I incorporate music instinctually all the time. It’s actually quite ridiculous. I find myself singing to myself whenever the kids are around regardless if I believe they are listening…Aren’t they ALWAYS listening?

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(Friendship Circle understands the cloak and dagger innate in small children…especially when it’s most inconvenient.)

I make-up random songs for random reasons. Sometimes it’s to announce a transition of little importance. Sometimes to urge Little Man to progress anywhere faster than a glacial meander…or move at all. Shockingly it works a good chunk of the time, and I have absolutely no idea why. Sometimes I’m simply excited…like the arrival of nap time…three-years-old Mr. Man continues to nap two hours in the afternoon. At times my son will ask me to repeat one of my spontaneous little ditties, and I usually can’t remember the lyrics for the life of me. Some occasions my inability to recreate vocal magic prompts a tantrum, but they are typically reserved for when I have a headache or desperately need to use the facilities. All in all, I’m surprised that my singing skill has improved, which is helpful for our broken glass budget allotment.

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(Opera singers…and Pinterest…have nothin’ on me. We started using plastic dishware long ago.)

Warrior Queen benefitted from my singing practices while residing comfortably in my uterus for thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks. Often I would feel her flip or move a certain way while I sang…or read. She was quite active throughout the pregnancy, but there was something unique to her movement during Little Man singalongs or story time. She always knew, and I always loved it. It’s one of the few positive memories from her wretched pregnancy. Consequent to the frequent occurrences of my singing, she’s primed to enjoy my melodious song renditions now that she exists in the outside world…lucky girl.

Her first word in the ten-months neighborhood was, “MMM…Meh…Mmmm…Meh.” It’s her version of Mommy, and I’m not kidding when I say it counts as a word. Warrior Queen utilized this specific speech pattern whenever she needed me. Now that she is mobile, she wails it throughout a pained crawl just to ensure I understand the depth of her displeasure, willing me to prepare and act accordingly. At this early stage it’s about the association. If she said /b/ while pointing to her bottle, that would be another word.

A few weeks ago, however, I witnessed her first and only sign. Little Man had a speech delay, so I’ve never experienced this phase, and let me say, it’s lovely. Having birthed two children, it seems a child rearing standard in our household that all the monumentally wonderful things first happen on the changing table…intelligent design perhaps? Warrior Queen at eleven-months is generally opposed to diaper changes, and forcefully asserts the degree to which she would rather not experience the situation. She doesn’t quite respond to playing with toys during the process like her brother two years ago. But, one morning she was decidedly unhappy with my diaper change pursuit, complaining quite vocally and squirming to grab the plastic bag we use to collect non poop wiping articles. I often sing to my children on the changing table. But, for whatever reason when I began singing my somewhat unique version of “Wheels on the Bus,” Warrior Queen snapped her head to look me in the eyes, absolutely delighted. I ran through the first verse to which she enthusiastically signedmore.” She is little, so it looks more like applauding than anything else, but it is marvelous nonetheless.

Since that first instance, Warrior Queen continues to urge my continuation of music, but she’s discovered that she will be awarded other pleasant things at her request…like ice cream. My favorite moment of late was during my own relatively rare ice cream indulgence. My husband holding our fierce sprite of a girl, but she was facing me staring down my mug of ice cream with a slightly protruding tongue movement that is akin to slow motion lip smacking. I suppose it is never too early to salivate for something as grand as ice cream, and my daughter is certainly a budding foodie like her big brother…and mommy. After a few of my spoon to mouth taunts, Warrior Queen signed “more;” naturally I obliged.

An interesting result I wasn’t expecting as I dusted off my baby signing form of communication; Little Man began doing the same. It isn’t the complete breadth of vocabulary he used before the floodgate of chatter emerged a little under a year ago, but he periodically throws random correct context signs I haven’t introduced to his baby sister quite yet. At times it’s like he forgets he knows how to speak…or his hands move magically without his conscious thought. Sometimes his sparsely signed words are in response to conversation in the background while he sings something unrelated.

Little Man may very well have a gift for music…possibly perfect pitch. He certainly didn’t receive such a skill from me. Warrior Queen is beginning to communicate beyond her wails of displeasure and giddy chuckles. Even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it as such, I wonder what gifts she will bring.

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A Stranger is Home

Even as a two-year-old, My son is exceptional when it comes to sharing.  He takes turns with ease, and is generally considerate of other people.  He certainly has his moments, but mostly he acknowledges the needs of other people.

Little Man did not visit me in the hospital, and I missed him profoundly.  Hearing him uttering his “Yeah” to my questions on the phone the night before returning home had me virtually weeping with a surging and longing heart…but that may have been the hormones.

I finally walk into our home, my husband carrying our tiny fierce one.  My son looked at her a bit and walked off…quite anticlimactic.  But, I know Mr. Man.  He needs time to be left alone and consider things, so my husband and I allowed him his space regarding our new family member even if my parents did not.

The first evening was rough for my little man.  It didn’t appear that he was particularly unhappy having a sister or unwilling to share me.  While I held my fierce girl, I interacted with my first born, and he was content.  There were no tantrums when I asserted that I needed to stop a book or game to feed the Warrior Queen.

But, during dinner I saw a flood of emotions emanate suddenly from his sweet, beautiful, tortured face.  The entire day I focused on my son, giving him all the attention I was craving over the few days in the hospital.  The sudden acute distress puzzled me.  My son barrels off of his chair and runs weeping into our family room.  I follow him and sit on the floor unsure of what he needs.  He finally manages to sign “music,” and I ask if he would like me to sing a certain song.  Calming he asserts, “Yeah,” and sits between my legs.  My poor uncertain boy wanted me to sing the same tune I uttered to his sister during her last bottle two hours prior.  Once I finished, he trotted off to rejoin my husband and parents at the kitchen table, smiles abound.

After that instance and through the next day or so, it became increasingly clearer that my son is willing to share me, but required the reassurance that there continues to be a unique place for him in my thoughts and heart.  Little by little I’m providing him security that he, in turn, expresses with interest toward his sister.

It started with my daughter sleeping in her swing.  My son plucks a baby blanket off our sofa, and places it over her, walking away to play.

The next day my son was the first to rise.  He finished his breakfast but remained at the table when I heard the Warrior Queen stirring upstairs.  I excused myself, telling Little Man that I would be back with his sister.  While I was upstairs, he ventured over to the gate, waiting for us to make our entrance.  He pointed and smiled, following us as I grabbed a bottle out of the refrigerator.  Mr. Man clutched his milk cup, and joined his sister for her breakfast, handing me a cloth to wipe her mouth when I requested it.

Each day there is another effort of care he expresses toward his little sister.  He continues to keep her company drinking his milk while she enjoys her bottled meal.  He still lightly lays a blanket over her when he worries she is cold.  He continually checks on her in her swing, ensuring her well being.  If she isn’t wearing a hat, he will stand in front of her holding it waiting for me to walk over.  Little Man is afraid to hurt her, so even the lightest touch is something he avoids.  My son wants her to be happy, and enjoying pushes in a swing, is quick to do the same for his sister.  Redirected the first time for too strong a force, he is content with light, gentle nudges.

Transitions have never been particularly easy for him; probably a trait inherited from me, but he is a wonderful big brother.  In time he will see it too.

The Power of Song?

I sing to Mr. Man all the time.  I have a fairly terrible voice, but he doesn’t care, and sometimes it prevents him from launching feet into my chest and face while I’m attempting to change his diaper.  Little Man requests all sorts of songs throughout the day, and I love looking at his beaming smile during the multiple renditions of every childhood song I’ve had to learn throughout these two years.  Naturally, the Warrior Queen was along for the ride, unable to escape the tunes my son urged.

I’m also perpetually reading stories to my son.  All varieties from well written to garbage that I can’t remember receiving.  It doesn’t matter what it is; he just loves a tale.  When my daughter had the room to move in my belly, I often felt her flipping a certain way whenever I read a book to my son.  Once she ran out of room, such movements stopped, but I felt confident she continued to enjoy the entertainment.

Now that my fierce girl is born, it is too early to know if she will enjoy books on the level as her brother; I hope so.  But, undeniably my singing provides comfort I never expected.

My first indication was seconds after her birth, wailing as all newborns do when thrust into the outer world.  My singing calmed her so quickly it didn’t completely register at the time.  If my husband hadn’t recorded it, I might not believe it almost a week later.

As I did with my son, I held my daughter throughout those first days in the hospital singing even when she was asleep.  When she was unhappy and uttering her discontented squeaks, a chorus of some random tune would be hushed in melodic breaths, and she would settle.

One occasion occurred just after I fed her a bottle.  Within minutes of my placing her in her hospital Tupperware container, she began to fuss, clearly not ready to be on her own quite yet.  I returned her to the crooks of my arms, wide awake she focused on my eyes as I sang.  With every ounce of effort she kept her eyes open, but they became heavier as the moments passed.  My girl fought sleep as long as she could, peering through barely visible slits before losing the fight.  The slumber kept that time, but I continued to hold this sweet girl who already knows what she wants.  And, times such as these I’m only too happy to oblige.

Where the Stars Shine

I could lie and claim great operatic genius with my renderings of traditional lullabies when my son sits on my lap only moments before sleep.  In close embrace, his tired body leaning against my chest in perfect stillness.  And, I sing as though I possess great efficacy while my son listens.  I utter the final words, and he signs, “More,” with his tired, enthusiastic hands; who am I to argue?  With slight seam another round of low, quiet keyed Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  Another request for encore at its close, and I comply.  If only this could continue all night, or until my son slips off into his dreams noted by a light snore.  A third request met with my sign for the experience to conclude, but even in his drifting state, he shakes his head, “No.”  We sit precious seconds before I lift him to his crib.

He rolls onto his belly, arms and knees tucked beneath, half-heartedly listening to his nightly story.  Deep breaths as I cross the room and close the door.  I linger with my hand on the knob, unclear of what action I await permission.  Perhaps the gentle sting of transition, but I walk softly to my marriage bed hoping to preserve the moment for just a few more precious seconds.  I sigh entering our bedroom; how I love the little being who derives engrossed, simple pleasure from the minutia I offer.

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