Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Voice

Bedtime every night consists of reading books to our boys. While the older two usually choose only books and a little banter, Van requires both books and songs, in that order. Try to do the songs first, and you'll have yourself a bucking, writhing little boy quickly getting himself red-faced and noisy.

Like many young tots, Van enjoys a wide range of songs. His favorites, however, belong to two distinct genres: a) songs from the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men, and b) Christmas songs. His favorite Of Monsters and Men song is undoubtedly "From Finner," which is literally a song about a city of people that take a long ride through the ocean on the back of an apparently large and friendly whale. We love the band and we love the song; Van has a real obsession with it. He seems particularly taken with the nautical sound of the "Na na na na HEY HEY!"'s at the end of the tune, and he walks around the house singing, "So ha-ppyyyyyyy na na na na HEY HEY!" Show him any YouTube video in the world, but you'll find none that he loves as much as this one, an acoustic live version of his beloved song:

If I'm not singing Of Monsters and Men to him then, I'm typically singing him Christmas carols. He comes by his love of Christmas carols honestly, as I have always chosen to sing Christmas songs to him year-round. Regular readers might recall the post "The December Birthday Dilemma," in which I named Van as my favorite-ever Christmas gift. I wrote then, "His very identity is part-Christmas to me, and I think it always will be that way." So, for my favorite Christmas gift of all time, I often choose bedtime songs that remind me of his sweet birth. The ultimate Christmas song for me is "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" by Nat King Cole.

Even though I come from a lineage of singers (my maternal grandfather, among others, had a lovely voice and was a recording artist), there is no talent whatsoever in my vocal ability. Ce la vie. The wonderful part about these nightly songs is that I have a singing partner nowadays. I never expected my sweetest duet partner to be my toddler, but he dutifully joins in line by line with his age-appropriate quips and additions. Here is an honest verbatim of a song sung last night, with no exaggeration on my part of what his vocals were. A couple of things you should know about Van are that his voice is inherently a little deep, and that he often adds "mama" to the end of his words and phrases when he is speaking to me. In this case, he did so on literally every line we sang. The duet weaved itself together so that our lines overlapped, such as one might hear in "Baby It's Cold Outside." I was proud and amused.

"The Christmas Song" performed by Van and Jenny

J: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
V: Fire, mama
J: Jack Frost nipping at your nose
V: Nose, mama. Eyes, mama
J: Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
V: Carol, mama
 J: And folks dressed up like Eskimoes.
V: Moes, mama
J: Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
V: Turk, mama. Toe, mama
J: Help to make the season bright.
V: Help to, mama
J: Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
V: Tots, mama
J: Will find it hard to sleep tonight.
V: ...
J: They know that Santa's on his way
V: His way, mama
J: He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
V: Goodies, mama
J: And every mother's child is gonna spy
V: Child, mama. Spy, mama
J: To see if reindeer really know how to fly
V: Fly, mama
J: And so I'm offering this simple phrase
V: So so, mama
J: To kids from one to ninety-two:
V: Kids, mama
J: Although it's been said many times, many ways
    Merry Christmas to you.
V: Christmas again, mama. Again.

Note: Van's favorite Christmas song is "Jingle Bells," because he gets to shout "HEY!" after the words "one-horse open sleigh." My son has a thing with shouting "HEY" during songs, apparently, which makes Of Monsters and Men the perfect band for him. They do that a lot.

Apparently I like to only wear this Oklahoma City Thunder shirt, as seen in both photos.


  1. How sweet and precious. Thank you for sharing....a little bundle of Christmas Love...

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