Wednesday, May 31, 2006

busta rhymes, sunbeam

Back at Christmastime, Granny Great gave David a book of children's Sunday School songs that includes a little electronic music box. It has buttons for each song and plays them in that high-pitch mobile-phone ringer timbre. He enjoyed it mildly at the time, but about a month ago, it became his most favorite book ever. So, we spend a portion of our bedtime routine running through the songs that I first learned in the basement of West Side Baptist Church. All except "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam." I had heard of this song before, but I hadn't ever actually heard it. In my humble opinion--and I think Jesus would agree with me--this is a terrible song. Equal parts half-boiled sentimentalism and neo-gnostic-cabalistic mysticism set to a tune so catchy that I need a drill to get it out of my head.

So, I won't sing it.

So, it is David's favorite.

He attempts to push the "Sunbeam" button over and over while I block it with my thumb and insist that I won't sing it. Eventually, he gets past my thumb and pushes it. The music plays, he prompts me "sing daddy," I remind him that I refuse, and sit in silence. I suspect he loves this game. Someone has been singing it for him, though, because he knows most of the words.

The high point is "Jesus Loves Me." I will concede that, as poetry goes, this is not a great hymn, but I learned it just moments before I learned to be critic, so it falls into the sacred realm of "good because of nostalgia" along with the Thompson Twins. In David's mouth, it becomes the hymn of the Angels. He still doesn't have much sense of tune or rythm, so he provides a churchy, hip-hop, Orkish-war-cry interpretation. This morning, I was putting my shoes on, getting ready to leave for work when I heard him get out of bed upstairs and pad across his room to the song book. Then, the "Jesus Loves Me" ringtone starts and I can hear him singing/rapping. It's no St. Symeon The New Theologian, but it is more praying than I did this morning.

But "Jesus Loves Me" is not his only rhyming. I recently picked up a copy of Mother Goose rhymes, which is now the other half of his bedtime routine. His favorites are the songs like "Three Blind Mice" and "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep," as well as "The Man in the Moon," "Humpty Dumpty," and the one that ends "How do you do, how do you do, how do you do again." When we get to "Jack be nimble" he always points to the picture of Jack and asks what he is doing, then I read the poem and he asks again, and I read the poem, and on and on until I decide to turn the page. Most of these he knows partially or completely and we can recite them together while playing.

As you know, I am a language-development fan, so it thrills me to hear David tackle these little ditties. Additionally, singing with David and reading Mother Goose (he calls it "Another Goose") fits that idealistic vision of parenthood that I held before becoming a parent. Most of those dreams get dashed by inconvenient reality, but any frustration simply melts away when I hear my two-year-old work out the line, "With supping cold plum porridge" while sitting on my lap in a rocking chair at sunset.

later, sunbeam fans

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