Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Set List

There are times when a full belly, an empty bladder, a clean diaper, and a pacifier just won’t soothe the FTS. When all else fails, I turn to the set list.

The FTS was born in the evening and delivered via C-section. Because the FTM had the post operative woozies, I stayed on a cot in her hospital room that first night. (The cots are designed by the same company that designs furniture for McDonald’s. They’re purposely made to be comfortable for 20 minutes and 20 minutes only.) The next morning, while the FTS was in the hospital nursery, I made a quick trip home to shower and change. On the way back to the hospital I listened to a mix CD I had made a long time ago, long before I was thinking about babies and how to quell their anxieties.

When I got back to the hospital, I found myself holding the FTS and I just started singing to him. I wasn’t singing “Rock-a-Bye Baby,” or “London Bridges,” or any other kids’ song; I was cooing the last tune I’d heard on my mix CD – Seven Spanish Angels as performed by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles:

He looked down into her brown eyes
And said say a prayer for me
She threw her arms around him
Whispered God will keep us free
He could hear the riders coming
He said this is my last fight
If they take me back to Texas
They won’t take me back alive

There were seven Spanish Angels
At the altar of the sun
They were praying for the lovers
In the valley of the gun
When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven Spanish angels
Took another angel home.

Even at 17 hours old, the FTS was transfixed. I was the Pied Piper and Saint Peter all rolled into one. Since then, when we need the boy to mellow out, I carry him around the house and sing. Seven Spanish Angels is always the first and/or last song of my performance, but the set list has grown to include:

  • Amazing Grace (which is truly amazing because I’m agnostic)
  • Van Diemen’s Land (U2)
  • Rosie (Jackson Browne)

  • Two original songs
  • An original spoken word bedtime story (I’ll save that for a future post)
  • And Folsom Prison Blues

    I spent years playing in a band – I dropped out of college to go on the road – so music is in my soul. But never did I imagine I’d be using music like this. It does get a bit weird when I (really we, because the FTM sings to him, too) change the lyrics. Case in point, the second verse of Folsom Prison Blues:

    When I was just a baby
    My momma told me son
    Always be a good boy
    Don’t ever play with guns
    But I shot a man in Reno
    Just to watch him die
    And when I hear that train a-rollin’
    I hang my head and cry


    Now that I’m a baby
    My momma tells me son
    Always be a good boy
    Don’t ever suck your thumb
    But I made a poopy diaper
    And I don’t know why
    When I feel that squishy mess
    I hang my head and cry

    When I stop and think about the horrible lack of respect we’re showing for such a timeless song, I kind of hang my head and cry, too. My apologies to Johnny Cash and his estate and may the possibly non existent God have mercy on my possibly non existent soul. But gotta do whatever works.
  • 1 comment:

    Manager Mom said...

    Hey... look at it this way. Didn't Johnny Cash father about a million kids? This is good karma make-good for him, because I don't think he was such a stellar father.

    Wait til you get older, and start to impart the Philosophy of Life According To The Rolling Stones. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" has been a foundation for our quest to keep our kids from becoming spoiled brats. And you'd be surprised how much kids love Bob Marley.

    We must swap kid playlists soon. Just AVOID THE WIGGLES if at all humanely possible.