In response to several requests for “stories” about our Vivienne Linda and new parenthood, I’ve decided to give it a go (and to avoid mass email by entering the blogosphere). The problem is – as those of you who have visited Viv already or have had little bunnies of your own can attest – newborn babies spend their days in a cyclical and predictable way, which makes for a fairly terrible plot line. It’s like “Groundhog Day” wherein subtle changes are all that distinguish one day from another, only without the resolution. Of course if you’re the parent it’s like being a volunteer usher at the ballet (actually, think more Channing Tatum in “Step Up” or Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” – the janitor image is a better fit for many early parenting duties): the whole show is fascinating every day both because you notice the tiniest of changes and because the standard routine is downright riveting. Long non-story short, we wake up, eat, struggle with stomach cramps, sleep, and start over. The routine takes up about 90 percent of our time with a little alert and engaged time in there somewhere each day. While I personally love to watch her sleep – following the series of facial expressions she makes (see the video clip), feeling her little breaths warm my skin, smelling her downy hair as it brushes against my face, and all kinds of other moments whose descriptions sound like they could be pulled from a bad romance novel – I doubt you all would find emails about that topic scintillating. As a result, all I’m left with in the way of entertainment and update are a few observations and anecdotes. Of course I’ll let you know when Viv hits major milestones, but for the most part I’ll offer random musings. If nothing you read is consequential, assume that V is healthy, happy, and getting bigger by the day.
To start us off, it turns out our daughter loves singing – not music, singing. The only way to get her to sleep (unless of course she falls asleep while nursing which much to her delight happens all the time) is to sing to her while rocking her. Singing paired with exaggerated dance moves is also pretty much the only way to calm her and tame the dreaded angry cry when stomach cramps attack her little system. This preference would be fine and easily catered to with the amazing CD Kaitlin and Adam made for her (yes, they made it as in Kaitlin sings as Adam plays the guitar; they even layered Kaitlin’s back up singing over her lead vocals) if it weren’t for one problem: she only really loves her mommy’s and daddy’s voices. If Ian didn’t have to work, we’d still be okay. But alas, she’s stuck with me most of the time. As you all either know well or likely can guess, I don’t have a musical bone in my body. So much so that Kaitlin, who adores all music and wholeheartedly supports the most amateurish of attempts, once famously suggested in college that maybe I “should just not.” She’s repeatedly apologized for the remark and since encouraged me to explore my very limited and steadily waning potential (like those lines in math that approach zero by getting half again as close each step of the way), but the fact that I was able to drive her to it in a moment of weakness illustrates my point. I don’t just suck at singing in an average way; I really excel at sucking at singing. So poor little Viv is stuck biologically hardwired to enjoy the sound of my impressively underwhelming voice. This misfortune would be bad enough alone, but since I never could sing I didn’t bother to learn the lyrics to very many songs. In sum, I present you with my blog’s inaugural amusing image: a veritable angel being lulled to sleep with versions so far off key that they’re off multiple keys only rendered more ridiculously awful by love-fueled enthusiasm of (1) Britney Spears numbers, (2) AOII songs (including the drinking songs; my repertoire is too limited for censorship of entire songs, but I do edit swear words and change “beer” to “milk,” as in “come, drink milk, come drink milk with me, for I don’t give a darn about any old man who won’t drink milk with me, raise up that old silver goblet with that C-A-L upon it, and we’ll all have another round of milk, more milk”), and (3) Christmas carols.