Mamas and Cowboys

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!

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3 Comments

Filed under kids, Life Death & Random Musings

3 responses to “Mamas and Cowboys

  1. Matthew Brech

    I can relate to this. These days, when I put Chris down for a nap (which can be easy or hard, depending on his mood, my exhaustions level, and the exact position of Mars in relation to Jupiter nad the moon), I take him up to his room, we sit in the rocker next to his crib, ann I read to him while I rock him. Usually it’s a Thomas the Tank Engine story. He lays with his back against me, and I read. I know he’s going when he turns and nestles against me. I finish the story, rock him for a few minutes, then head downstairs and usually nap with him on the couch.

    But when he was a baby, Beth and I split the duty. I’d get up with him at around midnight for his feeding, change him, burp him, and rock him back to sleep. She’d do it at about 4am, since I had to be up and at work at 7. I’d always sing “Sunshine on my Shoulders” to him while I rocked him. My mother used to sing that to get me to sleep. I haven’t really needed to sing that to him for a while, but I can’t hear it now without welling up a bit at the memory; those early days, bonding with him, him getting to know us, us getting to know him.

    Parenthood does strange things to you, and no one can ever prepare you for it. The other day, I was feeling pretty low with my layoff and everything. Chris just walked over to me and for no reason gave me a hug. I started bawling. He looked a bit confused, then gave me another hug. After I managed to get myself under control he looked at me and said “You feel better now?” I smiled and said yes. He then said, “You sick?” All I could do was laugh, hug him again, and say, “Not anymore.” Then he demanded I draw him a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine. Again. There is no cooler thing.

  2. I didn’t even know who Waylon Jennings was

    Bwa? Sang the Dukes of Hazzard theme song and was the narrator for same?

  3. skyeblog

    Matt, was that the song that you & your mom danced to at your wedding? It was such a beautiful moment, I’ll never forget it!

    Jeff, we weren’t allowed to watch Dukes of Hazzard. My mom thought it promoted unfair stereotypes, and was “simple”…not that we didn’t watch it at the Sharpes, anyway – but shhhh… don’t tell.

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