Mothers are funny creatures. I can say that because I am one. I have two wonderful children who I love more than life itself. I would do anything for them. I would walk through fire. I would scale a mountain in my bare feet using only dental floss for rope. I would jump in front of a Mack truck. I would surrender the last cookie in the box to them – which, those of you who have lived with me know, is big stuff.
So now that I’ve established my fondness for my children, I feel that I can safely talk about how difficult my daughter was as an infant. She was a sweet loving baby (to me), but she had a set of lungs on her that could rival any opera singer’s – and her range! She could hit notes that would not only make the glass in our house shatter, I feel certain that if there was glass on Neptune, it would have been destroyed as well. I am not kidding. The scream of a banshee would have sounded like Mozart next to her wails. The only thing that calmed her down (most of the time) was if I sung “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” . I don’t know why. I never listened to Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings when I was carrying her. I didn’t even know who Waylon Jennings was before I looked up the song to learn all of the lyrics! I had, out of sheer desperation, started to sing the first thing that came into my head one day – and that was “Mamas…” – but not the Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings version. It was the Alvin & the Chipmunks version that I was thinking of complete with “Aaallllvvvviiiiiiiin!” But the version playing through my mind at the time matters not, the important thing was: by Jove, it worked! She was instantly captivated & stopped crying mid-wail. Since learning the “Mamas” trick, I branched out & started to listen to Willie Nelson quite a bit and have added a few other songs to my “calm The Muffin down” repertoire. I can’t tell you how many times, though, I have sung that song. I would sing it over & over & over & OVER again for months & months & months & MONTHS until she ceased to be the fuss-pot that she was & began to be the absolute sweetheart that she is now.
Tonight, The Muffin did NOT want to go to bed. She threw her milk. She squirmed. She kicked. I had to wrestle her into her crib & she straight-up refused to lie down. “No naps, Mama! No!”, she said. “Yes, Muffin, it’s time for naps. Time for bed, ” I said. “No! No naps! No lie down! No!”, she said. Then I remembered my secret weapon & I burst into “Mamas Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…” – and it still worked!! She layed down right away & with thumb in mouth, snuggled deep into her blanket. When the song was over, she asked for it again … and here is where the strangeness of motherhood comes in – I turn into a weepy mess, and with tears streaming down my face, barely get the notes out. Apparently, the memory of me singing this to the “baby Muffin” (mid-song), has reduced me to this state. I’m even teary as I write this. But WHY?? I’ve sung that song a million times! And the whole reason I sung it in the first place, was to avoid having my ear drums blown out. I am so completely glad that The Muffin is not that baby any more! I am so completely glad that she is a happy & contented 20 month old, I cannot even tell you – nor, I am sure, can the people who babysit her. So why, does me singing that song evoke this strange “awwww, my Muffin!!!” response. Maybe I’m just tired. It has been a long day. Or maybe it’s all part & parcel of the “Motherhood Packet of New Emotions” that was delivered to me the instant my first born was. I signed on for many things (blood, vomit, poopy diapers, bandaids, school projects, laundry, family dinners, etc & so forth), but I had not counted on this. I had not counted on instantaneous tears at the mere memory of no more than like 10-12 months ago. No one tells you this stuff before you become a mother – but someone should. Not that it would make any difference, because tears & all, becoming a mother is still the coolest thing I’ve ever done. But enough of this, I have to help my son get past the Venus Fly Traps on “Lego Batman” …. not that I signed on for that either – but it’s DEFINITELY fun!