I grew up never really “getting” the concept of musicals.
The fact that all the people in each scene just happen to know the lyrics and melody of the same song about the event happening in real time, not questioning where the musical accompaniment is coming from…
Not to mention, the fact they typically never acknowledge, after finishing the song, that they indeed just sang a song.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love The Lorax movie so much: It opens with a hilarious musical number that not only satirizes the stereotypical overindulgent American lifestyle, but it also mocks musicals themselves.
I love how at the end of the song I’m referring to, “Thneedville Song,” that the O’Hare delivery guy sort of gets stuck after finishing the final note of the song and has to be escorted away by two other men.
“What happened to that man?” you recently asked after seeing that part.
So, yes, I’ve always perceived musicals as impractical, unrealistic, and just plain absurd.
Because this is what I know as normal: All throughout the day, you’re either A) making up a song about what you see around you or B) singing a pre-existing song that relates to what you see around you.
Here’s a perfect example:
I love the hilarious twist ending of this video when it is revealed that you are serenading a toy lizard in a plastic boat.
For me, it’s equal amounts precious and hilarious.
Tonight as I was tucking you in for bed, you made a special request, “Daddy, sing “Gorillas Are Angry.’”
Knowing that you were asking me to make up a new song on the spot about the first random thought that came to your mind, I just went with it, singing, “Gorillas are angry, gorillas are angry…”.
Sunday afternoon as we were pulling out of the Kroger parking lot from filling up Mommy’s car with gas, you shouted:
“Red Jeep! I want to see it!Bow! Red Jeep! Bow! My red Jeep!”
I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the red Jeep Wrangler you were referring to, but we weren’t going to turn the car around just so you could take a peek at a red Jeep, which you are guaranteed to see at least 5 of on the drive to daycare everyday.
(Nashville is overly saturated with Jeep Wranglers; not that that’s a bad thing!)
With a very confused look on my face, I asked Mommy, “Wait, what is he saying? Bow? Like it rhymes with pow or how, except it’s bow?”
She explained, “Yeah, that’s his new word he yells out when he doesn’t get what we wants.”
Turns out, you’ve been using “bow!” on a daily basis, as I later learned from Mommy. You even have a hand gesture to accompany your exclamatory word: You pretend to throw a ball at the person you saying it to.
Basically, it’s a lot like like that scene on the movie Step Brothers where Rob Riggle just keeps shouting out “pow!” and no one really understands why or even what word he’s actually saying.
You’ve learned you can’t get away with yelling “no!” to us, so you’ve crafted a new defiant word that makes it difficult for Mommy and me to take you too seriously.
I’m actually quite impressed by your creativity. For now, “bow” will remain a parent-approved curse word for you to use.
Personally, I enjoy watching and hearing you say it because it’s so hilarious to see you so passionately shout out a word that is ultimately meaningless, though it does a good job of helping you express how you feel.
Because I’m usually the one to put you to bed at night, as well as for your daytime naps on the weekends, I become responsible for knowing the lyrics to lullabies.
Unfortunately, I don’t know any.
So you’re pretty much stuck with hearing me sing parts of the very few songs I actually know the words to…
“Jingle Bells,” “Away In A Manger,” “How Bad Can I Be? (from The Lorax soundtrack),” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Then, out of desperation for new songs last week, I started singing “Let It Be” by The Beatles. After all, it’s pretty easy to remember the words when most of them are “let it be, let it be…”.
You now ask me to sing it to you every night. So I had an idea… why don’t I let you hear The Beatles’ version of it?
On the way to daycare Monday, I played “Let It Be” for you over the stereo speakers thanks to my old-school iPod with an extremely cracked screen.
Your response: “That’s a man?”
I then explained to you that yes, Paul McCartney is a man.
From there, I introduced you to “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Come Together,” Here Comes The Sun,” “All You Need Is Love,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Am The Walrus,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Then I made you a playlist of those 10 songs called “Beatles For Jack.”
By Thursday, you told me that The Beatles are your favorite band and that your favorite song is “Yellow Submarine.”
It turns out, The Beatles made some pretty good songs for a 2 year-old. The songs that ended up on your playlist are filled with bizarre nouns that you recognize like “walrus,” “egg man”, “octopus,” and “submarine.”
Plus, several of those songs include random sound effects, like the interlude in “Yellow Submarine” or the chorus/title of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”
Speaking of, you love it in “Come Together” when John Lennon says “shoot me” throughout the song. You think he’s just saying “shoop,” or making some weird animal sound, so I’ll just let you believe that until you’re a teenager who appreciates irony.
You have a dad who is obsessed with good music. I have over 800 albums on my iPad, but The Beatles are definitely my favorite band ever.
I think it’s so cool that you like them too. When you get a little older, I’ll tell you all about the “Paul is Dead” theory, based on their album covers like Abbey Road.
This makes me happy. I just didn’t realize we would get to start bonding so early over good music. I thought you’d be at least able to ride a bike first. I’m starting you young, kid.
While I am definitely more mindful these days of trying to avoid the use of bravado in my letters to you, I must admit, my ego took a bit of a hit when I recently had to start riding in the backseat with you.
Something always seemed awkward, if nothing else, about seeing a wife drive the car while the husband was in the front passenger seat.
Well, at least it’s not that bad. The new normal is that Mommy drives and I accompany you in the backseat.
I have relinquished my role as the family chauffeur; a role that I feel is supposed to be mine, as the dad and husband.
But, as I had hoped when I implemented this plan, you are a lot less anxious, needy, whiny, and hungry now that it’s me sitting next to you in the back seat.
You see Mommy as the nurturer, which she is.
However, with me, you just want to chill out. Either you contemplate your life, deep in thought, as pictured right; or you like to be goofy with me as we sing the few lines we know of the songs from The Lorax movie:
“How ba-a-a-ad can I be?”
I’m curious to see how our new driving method will work on our next road trip.
We drove two and a half hours to Alabama last month, but it felt more like five. There was nothing Mommy could do back there to make you happy. Plus, you needed a nap, but that never happened.
Since I’m not the nurturer of the family, I wonder if it will be easier for you to fall asleep in the car if it’s me back there with you next time.
It’s just that your expectations are so much different (and lower?) for me as your seatmate, as opposed to Mommy.
You treat us differently. You are much more low-maintenance with me; you always have been.
Like I’ve mentioned last July in “The Hunger Games: Toddler Edition,” you are not as hungry and you ask for food less with I’m the parent caring for you. You can go for hours without thinking about food if it’s just you and me.
But with Mommy, you’ll eat two meals in a row.
So for now, I’ll be your backseat buddy. I shall entertain you, make you lose your appetite, and bore you to sleep.