A great poet once wrote, "Whistle while you work." Okay, so she wasn't a great poet, and she probably wasn't the sharpest of tacks in the technicolor box (she was, after all choosing to live with and clean up after seven men, small though they were), but they are golden words I live by. Whistling can put quite a strain on your lips though, and, at my age, I certainly don't want frown lines that make me look like a chain smoker, so I often choose singing as my choice du jour for making the time pass by more quickly, particularly when I'm elbow-deep scrubbing a toilet (and, remember, I have BOYS in my house), or wondering how to get crayon marks off my carpet. Sometimes I actually do it to stay awake at the end of the day when I'm praying with every available breath for it to be the boys' bedtime. Recently I was struggling with exhaustion, watching with droopy eyes as my boys enjoyed the last few minutes before starting our bedtime routine, and I burst into song. Now, I must note that my oldest has more than once in the past requested that I cease and desist such behavior. "Mommy, please stop singing . . . why are you singing?" Thankfully my baby is more of a music connoisseur and enjoys shaking his jiggly thighs and baby booty to my own interpretation of "Bust a Move" or "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" or, on bad days, something from "Les Miserables."
Neither kiddo seemed to be much into "Memories," although I'm sure if I was dressed up like a cat from the play there would have been a different reaction (probably of sheer terror), so I decided to dig deeper into my repertoire. As the day had been somewhat rainy, I immediately was taken back to the lovely thunderstorm scene in "The Sound of Music" where the mother of all mothers, Maria, cured bedtime fears of thunder with a song. Do I dare? Do I dare channel Maria? Yes. I do. "Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens . . . " The audience is listening. "Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens." Huh? "What's that, mommy?" "Brown paper packages tied up with strings . . . these are a few of my favorite things." At this point the baby is hooked. He crawls over to me smiling and sits on the floor in front of me hypnotically shaking his shoulders, roughly to the rhythm. "Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudel; doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles." The oldest? I had him at schnitzel. Okay, so maybe he was driven more by the attention his little brother was getting at his acknowledgment of my singing prowess, but regardless, I now had two boys, "captively" engaged in my singing, sitting cross-legged in front of me on the floor and hanging on my every word. Cue volume control. Now singing at the top of my lungs, which surprisingly doesn't carry the range Maria's does, I whisk the boys off the floor and begin swirling around the room. Giggles and laughter and mommy awake and life is good! "When the dog bites . . ." No Captain Von Trapp to interrupt our playtime, but the clock tolls 8:00. Mama has successfully made it through another child-laden day and hopes the smiles will carry us through teeth-brushing and into dreamland where I'm certain my boys will be dreaming of strudel and schnitzel and wondering what in the heck that is.