Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rocking My Toddler At Christmastime

Last night I was rocking my restless toddler, trying to have him fall asleep and stay asleep. I was exhausted, and it was almost midnight--nearly four hours past his normal bedtime.

While rocking him I am often quiet and mindful; even more so if I feel tested. I take in the sensations of my arms around him; feeling the weight of his little body in my lap. His babyhood is passing quickly, and I want to savor every moment.

Soft Christmas music played from his radio: "O Holy Night," sung by Celine Dion.

After that, the menacing onslaught began. What could have possibly prepared me? It began innocently enough. Soon, though, it became clear: this would be no ordinary holiday favorite.

Odd inflections. Tuneless caterwauling and sour notes. Braying. Was this some drunk customer at karaoke night, stoned, trying in vain to carry a tune? No.

It became apparent that Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders were butchering "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Every fiber of my being wanted to lunge for the radio, raise the window, and toss the offending electronic ouside. But my son was finally sleeping, and I didn't dare risk waking him.

I listened on; rapt with horror. Isn't there someone to "fix" that stuff so a person who can't sing gets to pretend? I thought that's how it worked.

Hynde warbled on interminably, until finally, mercifully, the attack ended. I nearly shed tears of relief; clutching my son gratefully. He slept on, totally unaware of what just transpired.

Listen if you dare. But I'm warning you. Clinical depression or explosive rage may be triggered in otherwise healthy individuals.

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