b Papa Dog's Blog: Clap Feet!

Papa Dog's Blog

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Clap Feet!

I’ve written lyrics before, but until recently I’d never written a song. As with many of my life’s greatest accomplishment, I did it by accident. I think I’ve mentioned previously that Baby Dog started getting hard to handle on the changing pad in the past couple of months. Making it through a diaper change without having the lamp get knocked to the floor entails a certain amount of imaginative improv to keep baby distracted from what she really wants to do, which is wreak havoc. Kind of like how if you had a mass of people you wanted to keep docile and pliant while you looted the fruits of their labour you might, for example, invent religion. We would give her toys, make funny noises, make faces at her, anything to keep her still while the bum gets wiped and the diaper goes on.

One of the remarkable things about babies is that they are much more – to use the technical term – bendy than grown adults. Freed from the bulky constraint of diaper, diaper shield, onesie, and union suit, Baby Dog is ready, willing, and able to chew on her feet. Not just nibble her toenails, mind – she can reach the heel if she has a mind to. When the diaper comes off, the feet immediately bend up mouthward. This could actually be a marketable job skill later in life, but I probably won’t ever tell her so, it being my main job as a father to keep her off the pole. If she wasn’t actually pulling her feet up to her mouth for a chew, she’d still kick them up, knees bent, letting her feet almost touch. One of the things I would do to keep her distracted was grab hold of her feet and clap them together, saying “Clap your feet!” This would amuse her almost as much as it did me. Because she was learning to clap her hands at the time, it was in essence topical humour.

Here a natural association sprang forth. There’s a great Tom Waits song called Clap Hands. I didn’t really remember how the song went at the time, and the lyrics aren’t particularly apt for the changing table anyway. Somehow I got it muddled up with the rhythm-heavy tracks from his last album, and the end result was a little ditty I call Clap Feet. It goes like this:

“Clap FEET/Badoom-BOOM-badoom/Clap FEET/ Badoom-BOOM-badoom/Clap FEET/Badoom-BOOM-badoom.” (Repeat until diaper is changed and then finish with…) “Clap feet! Yay!”

That probably doesn’t sound like much, but you have to consider the theatre aspect as well. Specifically, there’s actual foot clapping involved. On the beats, I grab Baby Dog’s feet and clap them for her…a double clap for “Clap FEET” and one big clap for the big “BOOM” beat. I’m telling you, that’s entertainment.

The funny thing is, I thought this was just a private little joke betwixt Baby Dog and self until I heard Mama Dog giving her own interpretation of “Clap Feet” during a diaper change the other night. I came into the room and we made it a duet. Baby Dog really seems to dig all this. Often, she’ll start kicking her legs, trying to clap her feet, in anticipation during a diaper change. Moreover, she’s started singing along. She says “buh buh buh.” I think if that’s layered in right when we cut the demo, it’ll really kill.*
*Full disclosure: I have no idea if that sentence means anything.


Anonymous big sister said...

I wish blogs existed when I had my kids. I might remember more moments like this. I laughed so hard! Why aren't you writing a book? Publish this stuff.

4:06 AM  

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