Sunday, March 21, 2010

Songs for Lola

As readers of this blog will recall, on Superbowl Sunday we added another member to our family, one Lola Elizabeth Buckelew. My step-daughter Sara found herself getting to the end of her fertile age and was without a partner, as so often has happened with high achieving professional women, alas. Sara is a double-boarded pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist, with a subspecialty in adolescent medicine, and is director of the UCSF eating disorders program. We’re very proud of her, but it does seem she has paid a price.

So Sara bravely decided to have a baby on her own, and the happy result was Lola. For the first six weeks Sara and Lola have been staying with us, which is just fine with us. It’s been a long time since a baby has been in the house, our youngest, Pete, now being 26. And thankfully Lola is a very good baby, no excessive crying, regular habits. She does grunt a lot in a very unladylike fashion, and is a regular fart and poop machine, but as grandparents, we figure that’s mostly Sara’s problem, and we just chuckle at little Lola.

Both my wife Ann and I have regained our newborn skills. We do well with soothing. Lola likes to be held, and we hold her. Lola looks askance and we jump. We each take her and walk her and keep going, terrified if we stop she will wail, but she never really does. When Lola poops we hand her to Sara. We are, after all, grandparents.

So as Lola has matured in these six weeks, she has demanded songs. Babies without songs are bereft indeed. Ann and I have had to go back into our memories and come up with songs. It has been a long, long time since we sang to babies. Not sure we did such a good job of it with our own. But now with all our years of experience, and the luxury of having just one baby and three adults, we can search for the proper songs.

It was hard at first. I came up with “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard Want Victory Today.” Dunno, just trying to come up with a song. Sara objected and tried Roar Lion Roar, her Columbia fight song, but could remember only that line. We looked it up on Google and got some other lines, but she couldn’t quite get the tune. Sara isn’t that musical.

Ann came up with the California fight song. It was more like a response to my Ten Thousand Men of Harvard than a real solution. A counter-non-solution, I guess you could call it.

Farmer in the Dell was OK, and seemed to capture some attention, but that’s pretty dull. When the Bough Breaks did it for a while, but it’s hard to continue that one.

So, I made up a song. I kind of like it. It goes like this: “Lola is a good girl, a good girl, a good girl, Lola is a good girl,” and then you add any final line that you want. Like, for instance, “She has very cute nose.” Or, “She poops all of the time.” Or, “She loves me better than you.” It’s a good song for improvising. Its downside is that it’s one of those songs that sticks in your head, so you have to be careful with it.

Anyway, that’s a pretty good solution for right now. But it didn’t quite fit Ann. She had to come up with her own, which she did.

Now, you have to know Ann a bit to understand that she is not in the least saccharine. She always looks at life a little aslant. You’re never quite sure what she will come up with. But I have to say, her solution to the song for the grandchild took even me by surprise. I think it took even her by surprise.

Picture Ann with Lola lovingly in her arms, as she purrs to Lola, The Theme From “Cops.” “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you – bad boys, bad boys!” “Whatcha gonna do???” “When they come for you????”

We just had to laugh with the power of the unconscious. It’s just pretty funny. Her version of Rockabye Baby isn’t everyone’s. Could it be coincidence that we have two sons in law enforcement, do you think?

Just had to laugh.

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Don Madison from MI5 said:

    What? And you never thought of "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets" ?!

    I've never heard you sing, Budd. Next time we meet I'm requesting "Ten Thousand Men of Harvard.'

    A super informal essay. And my best to Lola and to PooperScooper Mom Sara.