b Papa Dog's Blog: Songs for Baby Dog

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Songs for Baby Dog

I sing to my daughter. It’s not easy for me to type that. Other than Mama Dog, probably none of you have ever heard me sing and maybe weren’t aware that I was capable of producing such a sound. I am, sort of, though I’m cripplingly self-conscious about it. World-class speaking voice, remedial class singing voice. Happily, Baby Dog is still too small to make such discernments. All the sounds we make entertain her, even Daddy’s off-key drone. Singing is good, story time is good, saying “Booga booga booga wub wub wub” is good, though I wouldn’t recommend trying that last without a little practice first.

The other day I was giving Baby Dog a little concert, and finding her a rapt and worshipful audience. I sing her mostly stuff by The Clancy Brothers, John Prine, or The Pogues – stuff I know the words to and have for years. It’s embarrassing, you know, if you forget the words when singing to a three-month-old. Nell Flaherty’s Drake is a proven favourite, so I sang her that. Then I tried out Blue Umbrella, which is a lesser-known John Prine song – heaven forbid she should be the kind of kid who only knows stuff from “Best of” albums. She was gazing solemnly in my eyes as I was singing her Boys from the County Hell when I noticed that Mama Dog was looking on not entirely approvingly. I guess she thought the third stanza wasn’t age-appropriate: “I recall that we took care of him one Sunday/We got him out the back and we broke his fucking balls/And maybe that was dreaming and maybe that was real/But all I know is I left the place without a penny or fuck all.” Actually, the first two stanzas aren’t really age appropriate, either, but she didn’t stop me then. It was nursing time anyway, so I stopped without getting to the part about “the junkies, the drunks, the pimps, the whores.” Well, hey. She's going to hear about this stuff eventually. Might as well be in a nice song when she's too young to form a lasting memory.


Blogger Robert said...

You remember lyrics? My singing to the baby goes like this: "Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top, something something something, and then the tree will drop, hum hum hum, rock-a-bye baby" I usually run out of breath on the second stanza, too, so there's this kind of breathless humming that sounds more like Bulgarian throat singers than lulabies.

But as a parent of a six year old too, let me warn you to listen to your rock albums NOW, because once she hits two, you lose control of the car radio and the family stereo and it will all be Barney and the Wiggles from then on. I haven't heard any new music, outside the office, in five years...

5:32 AM  

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