Our one-year-old loves music. He’ll ride in the car and sing along to the radio in his baby way. You can’t understand any of what he’s saying, but you get the idea that he’s attempting to express himself musically. To my 45-year-old ears, that makes it a lot like Hip-Hop.
Music has been useful in soothing both of our children. When he was a baby, the big boy used to respond well to the soulful blues of Luther Allison. Somehow, my wife supplanted Luther with Robin Thicke this time around. I’m not thrilled at this development, but if it keeps the baby happy, so be it. The Wiggles will probably take precedence over everything in a few months anyway.
Babies are geniuses at mimicry. This explains why the baby loves to sing. I mentioned previously that we have a new cuckoo clock. They baby loves to mimic this too. He points at the clock and says, “Uh-oh, uh-oh,” which is not exactly “cuc-koo, cuc-koo,” but he has the inflection down perfectly. The baby’s impersonation is that of a cuckoo who has spilled his juice all over the carpet precisely at two o’clock. “Uh-oh, uh-oh!”
Mimicking simple sounds is standard fare for babies. When they put enough sounds together, it can blow your mind. The other day, the baby was sitting on the floor playing with some toy, or maybe it was a strand of cat fur – who can tell with babies? What mattered was that he was quiet and content.
I was working on the computer. From somewhere behind me came the soft melody of the theme to the 1960s Batman TV show. I turned very slowly as my mind ruled out possible sources of this music: the TV was off; the big boy and his mother were out; the cuckoo only knows two notes, and he was nailed to the wall in the other room anyway; and the cat can’t carry a tune to save his life.
I steeled myself to face a cheesy-TV-show-loving housebreaker, but there was no one there. There was no one except an unusually self-contented 14-month-old. The baby looked up at me and crooned, “Soba soba soba soba sot, YAN YAN!”
Okay, the vocals weren’t all that discernible, but he’s a child of his musical era. The melody was dead on.
His big brother likes to watch old Batman reruns on Saturday nights, so it’s not a mystery where he got the tune. The thing that blew my mind was that we had missed the last couple of Saturdays. It had been nearly three weeks since we’d heard that theme. The baby sat on those notes all that time so he could pull them out of his diaper weeks later and give Daddy a good shock.
Since then, we constantly goad him into singing the Batman theme for the amusement and amazement of our friends and acquaintances, because, to the best of our knowledge, that’s how parents are supposed to garner attention by exploiting the talents of their children.