I’ve written little in the last two months. It seems that preparing for a new baby whilst also looking after a 3 year old and also doing my actual job is not conducive to finding time to write. My nesting instinct also truly kicked in during the last couple of months of my wife’s pregnancy, as I tried to get every possible job around the house complete before our boy arrived. I finally ticked the last item off my list the evening before the due date, and was a surprised as anyone when he hurried into this world at 3.50 am the next day, as if he sensed we were finally ready.
The birth couldn’t have been much more different than our daughter’s. She came into this world in an operating theatre, after seemingly endless trips to and from the hospital, as contractions stopped and started over the course of more than a week. Our boy, in contrast, was born less than twenty minutes after we walked through the hospital doors, barely more than an hour after I’d been asleep at home. A few minutes later leaving the house and it’s doubtful we would even have made it as far as the delivery ward.
I was away from home this weekend, catching up with some old friends (and seeing a live show by a rap legend). Before the trip I realised it would be the first night I had spent away from my daughter in her two and a half years on the planet. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The first night after she was born I spent at home alone, as partners were not allowed to stay overnight in the ward in the hospital, which made for one of the lonelier nights of my life. Every night since though, we’ve been either at home together or away together.
I didn’t make a conscious decision not to go away alone for so long, it just never happened until now. Time and money have been scarce these last few years, so there haven’t been many opportunities for weekends away for any of us (not that I would expect my daughter to be gallivanting off by herself quite yet). I felt weirdly guilty in advance of the trip. Not sure why, as logically I knew it wasn’t a big deal for me to take a rare trip away. I also know logically my wife is perfectly able to cope for a couple of days without me, and that my daughter might miss me, but would hardly be distraught. Since I became a father though, logic and feelings rarely align.
Just over a year ago I wrote about the songs that were making my then one year old daughter dance. Of course, at that time, her dancing mainly consisted of wriggling around in her high chair, so it was mainly my own interpretation of which songs she was reacting to.
A year on though, things have changed. She’s now perfectly capable of telling me which songs she likes, and “I like this song” and “I like this music” have become two of her favourite phrases. Endearingly, she thinks each song is called “a music”, and when each song comes to an end she’ll say “I want another music”. Songs she doesn’t like will be swiftly dismissed with “I want a different music”, often within seconds of beginning (the younger generation, no attention span you see). Here’s some of he recent likes and dislikes:
- Amy Winehouse
- Johnny Cash (especially Ring of Fire)
- Aretha Franklin
- Beirut (I was a bit surprised by this one, to be honest)
- Arctic Monkeys
- Miles Davis
- New Order
- R.E.M.(Liked The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite, not sure about the rest)
- Blondie (Liked everything except Pretty Baby strangely)
- The Be Good Tanyas (Completely ignored this, may have just been listening raptly)
Not quite sure what, if anything can be determined about her taste in music from the above list, but i’ll continue to put different types of music on and see what she likes, although I may spare her some of the more, shall we say, experimental elements of my record collection for now.
It’s not (entirely) about indoctrinating her with my own tastes in music, of course. I just love the fact she seems to genuinely enjoy music now. I love the fact that when we go downstairs in the morning, the first thing she says is “play some music, daddy”. Well, usually the first thing she says is “I want Rice Krispies”, but music is usually a close second.
The other morning before work I found myself dancing around the living room with my wife and daughter to Amy Winehouse, and if there’s a better way of starting a day, I’m yet to find it. Some memories become treasured over time, but that was one of those moments that, even as I experienced it, I knew I would always look back on with fondness. Here’s hoping that music brings us many more moments like it.