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  • Don’t Sing, Just Wipe

    September 7, 2006

    If you ask a room of ten people what is the one thing they wish they could do well that they can’t, nine of them will say sing. The tenth person is William Hung.

    I am in that group of nine. I have no illusions about my singing abilities. I have always wished I could sing well, but I know I can’t and I’m a little sensitive about it. And after you have a kid, there is a lot of pressure to sing and there is even this assumption that your kid will like it. Not so.

    Even though I can’t sing worth a flip, I can compose a song on the spot — another one of my many non-income producing talents. And if you have a baby in the house, you already know that spontaneous lyrical composition is a parenting prerequisite and that they won’t even let you bring a baby home from the hospital if you can’t think of something that rhymes with poop.

    So the other day, I was sitting on the floor bent over Sean changing his diaper and I started singing the “Changing The Diaper” song that I wrote that goes something like this:

    Bottoms up, bottoms up,
    Bottoms down, bottoms down,
    You’ve got the cutest bottom in town!

    After I sang the first line, he reached up and put his hand over my mouth and said, “Okay, but Just. Don’t. Sing.”

    So I finished changing the diaper in smoldering silence. The nerve. He is insulting ME as I’m wiping HIS butt. Before I could make my knees work again to stand up, he grabbed my head and pulled me down to him and kissed me squarely on the forehead, punctuated with a big “MWAH!”

    If my life were a broadway musical, I would have burst into song at that very moment. That is, if I could sing.

    33 Comments »

    1. legalmama says:

      This made me laugh. I am actually an okay singer, and I too make up lots of songs for my kids, one of their favorites being the rocking chair song (the lyrics are “rock, rock, rock, rock, I’m rocking in my rocking chair”, see, I’m brilliant.) I laughed because to this day, my mother cannot forget that when I was a child, I frequently asked her to stop singing, and told her she sang off key. She claims I was the only one of her children not to like her singing. My mother is truly an awful singer, but I do feel bad that I hurt her feelings.

      My first time here. I just read your bio about how your picked your blog’s name. When I went with my friend to Russia to bring home her daughter, the women in the orphanage couldn’t quite figure out how to refer to her politely (age-wise I mean). They finally settled on “old, not young,” just to really bring the point home. (She was “in her 40’s”). So that’s what we call ourselves: old, not young, mommies. I like antique, though. Everyone loves antiques. They are warm, and worn in, not out, and have an interesting texture and a weight and history to them. So Antique Mommy sounds pretty good to me.

      September 7th, 2006 at 12:47 am

    2. Brony says:

      Thanks for making me laugh. I too belong to the world of ‘no singing talent’. Most days my boys put up with it. I loveit even better when they join in.

      September 7th, 2006 at 12:49 am

    3. mamaspeak says:

      I get the “no sing mama” too. But I also get the “find me a song mama” when we’re in the car and let me tell you nothing beats belting out “We Got The Beat” by the Go Gos with your 3YO.

      On the butt wipeing thing; mine tells me she poops her pants “so you can clean it up mama”. So nice.

      September 7th, 2006 at 1:14 am

    4. Bessers says:

      I’m laughing out loud. What a cute story!

      September 7th, 2006 at 7:01 am

    5. nancy says:

      That is adorably hilarious, sorry it’s at your expense though. I just put video on my blog of my DOG singing, and she sings better than me.

      September 7th, 2006 at 7:37 am

    6. bubandpie says:

      Yeah, we’re working on this one: Bub emits the ear-piercing shriek and I translate: “Mama no sing?” and he says “Okay!”

      But lately I’ve been feeling that the inmates are running the asylum, so hubby and I have decided to rebel. Sometimes Bub will give the “no sing” – and WE KEEP ON SINGING ANYWAY, feeling like teenagers who just snuck out the bedroom window to drink beer at the bush party.

      September 7th, 2006 at 7:38 am

    7. Jules @ Everyday Mommy says:

      Mine did the same thing…little critic! Who does he think he is, my kid or something?

      September 7th, 2006 at 7:54 am

    8. Laurel Wreath says:

      That is soooo funny!!!!

      September 7th, 2006 at 8:19 am

    9. Minnie says:

      My boys yell at me when I sing, too. The NERVE! So to make ’em happy, I bust out in my best Opera voice at the top of my lungs. It goes over really well with them. ;o)

      September 7th, 2006 at 8:21 am

    10. Susan J. says:

      When my boys were little they seemed to enjoy my singing. No so much anymore. They are both great little singers, maybe they got that from me. ha

      September 7th, 2006 at 8:27 am

    11. Angela says:

      “He is insulting ME as I’m wiping HIS butt” made me laugh out loud! My favorite Tell-It-Like-It-Is Phrase came from my nephew to my SIL regarding “morning breathe”. “Mom, everytime you open your mouth, this room gets a little smellier”. He was 3.

      Keep singing. And wiping.

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:00 am

    12. chilihead says:

      I love to sing in the car. Max once told me, “Mom, please don’t sing. It just doesn’t work.” Grrrr. At least you got a kiss.

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:29 am

    13. Shalee says:

      Just for the record: Even if you CAN sing, by the age of 10, your child will beg you not to sing or not to sing so loudly. Ahhh, poor girl… Doesn’t she realize that the comment will just make me sing all the more or just a wee bit louder? I love seeing the blush turn deeper in her face.

      Yes, she is slowly learning that life is not all about her desires coming to fruition or shutting her mother up. You’ve got to work with whatever teachable moments come your way, I say.

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:31 am

    14. Shannon @ Rocks in my Dryer says:

      What a GREAT kid you have.

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:34 am

    15. Big Mama says:

      My daughter says “Please, Mama…it’s time for quiet now.” Humbling experience, motherhood.

      September 7th, 2006 at 10:37 am

    16. Wendy Boucher says:

      That is so funny. My Girlie likes to tell me that I am ruining the song when I sing with the radio in the car. What is it with these kids? When they sing (or poop, or draw, etc.), they act like the Earth’s rotation stopped for just a moment to celebrate their talents.

      September 7th, 2006 at 10:45 am

    17. Paulette1958 says:

      I love it. I sing and my daughter and son sing solo’s. I am so thankful to have that talent. It started when my daughter was in second grade and was soooo bored with her spelling words. We put all the words to songs and so she would sing the song in her head at test time and would ace the tests everytime. Everyone of her words for that week were in a song. It was fun and she still talks about it today. Iam in my forties as well and she just turned 21.

      September 7th, 2006 at 11:18 am

    18. Marian says:

      Too funny. I love the shameless, matter-of-fact manner little kids have about you tending to their most intimate/gross bodily needs. You have to appreciate the pure honesty, though, don’t you? You just don’t find it anywhere else! My toddler screams, “NO SINGING!!!!” at the top of her lungs if I sing, hum or even whistle. (Unless it’s one of her few favorite songs. Then she begs for endless repeats.)
      If somehow, some way all of those little ditties we moms come up with in the privacy of our own homes were to become public– maybe a “The Best of…” compilation album!– there would be a lot of head-shaking, uproarious laughter and red faces all across this land, no? Of all the verses I have invented over the course of a decade in mommydom, the one my kids have really latched onto? The “wash your body” song, properly sung as I wash each body part, to the tune of “Clementine.” What verse do they choose to belt out IN PUBLIC? “Oh, wash your bottom, wash your bottom, wash your BOT-tom, little boy…”

      September 7th, 2006 at 11:49 am

    19. Lauarie says:

      I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, even my husband laughs when I sing. But, especially when the kids were younger, I made up lots of little ditties…for the bath, for the car etc. My mom-in-law sings worse than I do. Her daughter once said, as she was being rocked and sung to, and as she patted her mommy on the lips, “Just rock, don’t sing.”

      September 7th, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    20. Code Yellow Mom says:

      I live for the “MWAH!” moments.

      I have always liked to chime in on the 2-year-old’s little banter songs, but I’m not even allowed to do that anymore: he starts a little wordless ditty and if I dare to join in, he yells, “No sing MYYYY song!”

      September 7th, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    21. mikaelah says:

      You are cracking me up!!! I LOVE that potty song! Your son also cracks me up. What a critic!!!! I am also one of those 9 people.
      My son also has this thing that he does… when he thinks I have done something good or need cheering up he says he is going to give me a “wet one” … meaning a juicy lip kiss. I have NO idea where he learned that one but I really do not enjoy them. He things they are cure all kisses.

      September 7th, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    22. Jane Payne says:

      I’m glad you’re back! I missed you the last couple of days. I loved the line “another one of my many non-income producing talents”! Thanks for a great blog.

      September 7th, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    23. Leslie says:

      I found your blog recently and really enjoy it. This post made me laugh out loud. I’m glad to know I’m not the only mommy that makes up songs and can’t really sing.

      September 7th, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    24. nootonet says:

      Only two and already a typical male! You can wait on me, but on my terms! lol Better tell Sean that you are going to sing and sing loudly when you are changing poopy diapers (if you are singing, you are breathing through your mouth) but, if he goes poopy on the potty — you will stop singing. The kiss on the forehead is the touch of a master!

      September 7th, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    25. GiBee says:

      If only kisses were your crown!!!

      What an adorable story!

      September 7th, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    26. Lauren says:

      So does that mean kareoke in October is out of the question?

      September 7th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    27. Momish says:

      Too adorable! I sing as much as I can to my daughter while she still can’t talk. But, its already getting bad, she learned how to shake her head “no”. My days are numbered, so I know how you feel. You’re son is too sweet, those kisses are worth a thousand wipes!

      September 7th, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    28. Tammy says:

      This was so cute. I’m not a virtuoso (sp?) but I am a step up from my hubby in the singing dept. And like you, I have been known to make up lots of little ditties. Some are actually applauded my girls. My oldest has always been more approving of my songs, though. Many a time, my youngest, as a toddler, told me to please stop singing.
      Nothing quite like that feeling, is there?

      Thanks for making me giggle, as usual. šŸ™‚

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    29. Perri says:

      I’m thinking if he can reverse the slam and the kissing order, he has a great future as a politician.

      September 7th, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    30. wife of another atypical gamer says:

      Sing your heart out. Laylee frequently asks me to “please go upstairs and put on some makeup.” Ha. Not gonna happen on a Friday morning when I’m still in my bathroom and haven’t eaten breakfast yet. Besides, I know I’m fabulous without it.

      September 8th, 2006 at 11:37 am

    31. Susan says:

      I am glad he gave you a good kiss to make his honesty easier to take. LOL

      I have to admit, I remember doing something similiar to my own Mom. I love her dearly but she couldn’t stay on key if you nailed her there. I still remember how much my childhood dog loved to howl along. Made me feel better that she had at least ONE musical fan šŸ˜‰

      September 9th, 2006 at 1:17 am

    32. Kit says:

      This made me remember our nappy-changing song, now fallen into disuse now the youngest is three.
      To the tune of Frere Jacques:

      Pooey nappies, pooey nappies,
      What a smell, what a smell,
      Now I’m going to change it
      Now I’m going to change it
      That’s better, that’s better.

      No singing ability required as long as it’s not aired in public!

      September 9th, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    33. Christina says:

      Aren’t kids honest? One time I was giving my kiddo a bath and he says “mom you have a big butt.” when he realized he had insulted me he said this disclaimer; “Your butt isn’t as big as some of the other moms though.” Isn’t that good to know?

      September 10th, 2006 at 2:18 am

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