Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"I will entertain my child by singing Dylan, U2, and Leonard Cohen. I will read Bukowski and Dylan Thomas. Phrases you will never hear coming out of my mouth include: itsy bitsy, gently down the stream, was his name-o, and see Jane run. Infants and toddlers only want to hear drivel if that's what you give to them. If I start my kid on great poets and songwriters from day one, he or she will be one step ahead of most kids and I will be way ahead of most parents. How many girlfriends do you think my future son will win over with his knowledge of Old MacDonald Had a Farm? Why should I have to listen to shit that sounds like a cross between Mister Rogers and Enya. If I play Kraftwerk at bed time, my kid will go to sleep to Kraftwerk." These exact words never came out of my mouth, but I have rather foolishly made quite a few assertions of this type in the past. The statements were true, given a particular context. It turns out they aren't true in the world where I actually have children. My daughter screams, and there I am on hands and knees begging her to follow my spider up the water spout. I can't even count the number of animal sounds I have mastered. I am actually quite proud of myself. I can't tell you how happy I was when my wife told me that I had impressed my in-laws with my sing-song-ability. I do play Dylan once in a while for Seren, but about the coolest I have been able to be on a consistent basis is Counting Crows, and that was a while ago. I have read a poem or two written by someone who doesn't normally appear in a costume and I have managed to read a non-chewable book or two, but very little of that kind of thing has happened while the child is awake. When I can throw in Frost or Eliot, I always have to chase it with Brown Bear or Pat the Bunny. Even six months ago, I would have told you I would never be singing those kinds of childish songs to my child. I was right, in a different world from the one I now live in.

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