Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Sound of Music

"Our house is alive, with the sound of la la la..."

J's mom is a hummer; she hums to herself as she goes about her day and it's one of the things J remembers fondly from his childhood. I also noticed how much Jen sings to Eric and decided that I want to be a "singing Mommy" even though I have a terrible voice. No, really.

So, since day one I've been singing to Evie while feeding her, changing her, during her awake time and especially when soothing her. At first I went with standards like "Rock a bye, baby" and "Lullaby and Good Night," etc. Then on my first night alone with her in the hospital (I sent J home to get rest because the couch in the hospital room was terrible), I found myself making up a cheer/song for her that went:

Hip, hip, hooray
Three cheers for Evie Bea
'Cuz she is the baby they all want to see

Ra, ra, ra
Three cheers for Evie Bea
Here in my arms is where she'll always be


Yes, corny, but it was very late and she liked the beat.

After that, I felt comfortable ad-libbing all kinds of ditties. One thing I noticed when visiting Jen is that she has a song ritual for feeding Eric. She sings "chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga, choo" as she's about to feed him and he responds eagerly to the cue. I decided to do the same thing, and although Evie doesn't seem to recognize it yet, I hope that soon she'll understand that when we sing it she should calm down and realize that yes, we do understand her and yes, we are making her bottle as fast as we can! The song goes:

Daddy's gonna make you a bottle (can be substituted with Mommy or anyone else)
Daddy's gonna make you a bottle
Daddy's gonna make you a bottle
Because he loves his Evie Bea.

I sing it to a tune that I know from somewhere but I can't place it. I think it has something to do with old fashioned movies for some reason? Anyhow...

Finally, I have a new favorite song to sing to Evie. I love Peter, Paul and Mary and realized that I can substitute "Evie Bea" into their song "Lemon Tree" and it works perfectly:

Evie Bea very pretty
And the Evie flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor Evie
Is impossible to eat
Evie Bea, Evie Bea, Evie Bea, oh Evie Bea...

and then because "Stewball" is the next track on the Best of Peter, Paul and Mary CD, I start into:

Oh, Evie was a racehorse
And I wish she were mine
She never drank water
She always drank wine
(it's just a song, people)

Her cradle is silver,
Her rattle is gold
And the worth of her wardrobe has never been told...

Finally, on a more serious note, the music during our church worship services has been particularly significant to me in the past two weeks. Our good friend Will, husband to Holly, whom I've mentioned before, is the worship leader at our church, but I know he wasn't "aiming" these songs at me, it just is what it is...a God thing. First, last week Will led worship on solo guitar and one of the songs he chose was "It is Well," which I wrote about back in July on the day we lost Lucy. I couldn't sing along because I was too busy trying not to break down in sobs as I stood there holding Evie, standing between J and my mom and in the same room with my church congregation, which has been amazingly supportive of J and I through everything. It was a full-circle moment for me and made me 100% aware of just how blessed I am.

Then today at church the band started into "Trading My Sorrows." This was another important song for me right after losing Lucy, although I didn't write about it at the time. It is a very upbeat and optimistic tune, and yet I found it running through my head over and over on the day after we lost her. It was driving me crazy because it is such a happy song and I was so miserable! I prayed to God that day "stop putting that song in my head because I am mad at you!" But the song stayed and wouldn't leave my mind until I had released my anger and bitterness (temporarily, of course) and found a place of peace and hope for the future. I firmly believe that it wasn't just God putting the lyrics in my brain, it was the onslaught of friends, relatives and complete strangers who were praying for me at that time. Over the past few months I've gradually learned of how many people knew about what happened and were praying for us; it is immensely humbling. Then something really eerie happened. That same day the song had been dogging me, a blog reader sent me an e-mail and one of her sentences was a line from the song: "His joy comes in the morning" (Psalms 30:5). I freaked out upon reading that line on my computer screen after having it in my head all day and went downstairs to J's "office" to tell him about it. A look of awe crossed his face as he admitted that the exact same song had been going through his head that day. The thought crossed my mind that M & T might call us the next morning and tell us they were letting us have Lucy, but in the end "the morning" came on July 18th. Nowadays, my "morning" experiences are those times when I let myself be still and fully appreciate the gift that Evie is. Once again this morning at church I had difficulty holding back my tears as we sang:

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say
yes Lord yes Lord
yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed
persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse
for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

To return to the title of this post in a corny way, "Mother Superior always says, 'whenever God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.'"

Off topic, here are some photos I'd like to share! This is my mom with Evie, right before a bath. She's doing the smiling thing I told you about and nobody believed. Yes, she's a genius. Accept it. She was also batting at toys today even though "the books" says she can't until she's 3 months or older. I'm going to contact Harvard immediately. Here she is enjoying her bath. We keep the water at 98 degrees and she loves it! Yes, I realize the water level is too high in this pic. Don't call social services, we had 3 adults there to make sure she didn't drown.
Here is a "behind the scenes" shot of our friend Becca capturing those adorable tutu pics:
Finally, here is another tutu pic I'd like to share with you. It's one of my favorites from the shoot because she looks like she's in first position! Awwwww! Makes me want to break out into "Hold me closer, tiny dancer..."

So, what songs do you sing to your little ones if you have them? Which songs do you want to sing to future babies? Any suggestions for me?


  1. i know, i do feel silly singing some of our little songs.... but when payton throws a royal fit as his bottle is warming up, i bounce around the house with him singing "Momma loves her sweet pea, sweet pea, sweet pea, Momma loves her sweet pea. YES! she does!" (to the tune of the "short bread" song)I repeat it over and over again in all kinds of funny voices and he settles down.

  2. Music has a way of touching our soul. It's powerful and moving!

    "Adorable," is right when it comes to that tutu picture!!!

    And lastly, thank you for the lengthy comment about international adoption. I didn't know the specifics you mentioned--and it makes a lot more sense now. It's horrible to think that babies are being black marketed. It makes me shutter to think about it!

  3. The tutu looks GREAT!!! What a sweet picture! Your friend is so talented!

    I love your Stewball variation! Our baby songs are usually the made-up variety, as my mind tends to go completely blank if I actually think to myself, "I will sing something to Elliott." Instead, if I just let my mind wander, I end up with something like this one (from yesterday):

    I'm Elliott!
    Two L's, two T's, if you please, sir.
    That's right---Mr. Elliott!
    Two L's, two T's, if you please.

    Not Eliot.
    No sir, that's French.
    Not Eliot.
    No sir, that's French.
    I'm Elliott!
    Two L's, two T's, if you please.

  4. How did I miss this post???

    You know all the crazy songs we sing to Eric... I LOVE that you are singing to Evie. Trust me, she thinks you're voice is beautiful.


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