When Milo was very little, less than a week, we the desperate eyed, hopelessly out-of-our-depth parents were of course trying anything and everything to help the little guy sleep; holding him out at arm’s length in front of the clothes dryer like some kind of perverse laundry offering as it spun around noisily (because it is well documented that the womb sounds like a public pay-per-kg laundry), walking up and down the stairs with him in various impossible positions (upside down, perpendicular to your torso, slung over the shoulder like potatoes), nestling him in with the kittens in their bed so he could be raised as one of them.
The other thing you do of course is sing, anything you can think of, it seems to distract them long enough to forget all the very sound reasons they had for not sleeping. The limiting factor, we found, is lyrics. There are just not enough 10 minutes songs that I know all the words to, particularly not at 2 in the morning and certainly not when your future sleep is on the line. And Milo is wise to lyric looping, or a lack of confidence. You’d find you could establish a nice rhythm, his eyes would be slowly descending into slits, and then you’d pause and think “oh hang on, how does the second verse of Wonderwall start? Backbeat? or Today, did I do that already? And how many ‘I said maybes’ are there at the end?” Milo is onto this hesitation immediately and screaming smugly at you as your ‘maybeeeeee’ trails off tepidly into a defeated nothing.
At least for me the obvious choice was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; long, reasonably well paced, well-known lyrics that present themselves for you naturally out of habit at 2am (as that is usually when I have sung that song out loud in the past). But as it turns out all of those scaramouches are very jarring and always lead to failure. ‘American Pie’, another long rambling classic. Very nice build up, can be sung at whatever pace you like. But once you get into the whole “did you write the book of love?” business it is altogether too peppy and the child is awake, and a loop at this point back to the beginning is too easy for my son to spot and he’s up with renewed vigour. ‘Wonderwall’, as above, the repetitions and non-repetitions always stump me when I am bleary eyed and it has never worked. ‘Let it snow’ by Dean Martin, another great tune, easy to sing but just not enough lyrics to get you where you need to be, and no obvious point for a loop. Kuepps has had steady success with the German classic ‘Schlaff Kindchen Schlaff’, which includes the (translated) lyrics “your father is a sheep, your mother is a camel, there is nothing you can do about it, so sleep child sleep”, but the pronunciation has always stumped me late at night.
I am not entirely sure how it happened, clearly desperation played a role, but the song I eventually fell upon, that Milo for some reason responded positively to, was ‘My Little Buttercup’ from the movie Three Amigos:
Not sure why this song has worked. Charming lyrics, pace can be altered as required and a natural loop perhaps? Not sure, but Kuepps and I have sung this Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short classic potentially 50 times a day on loop for the last 8 months.
Anyway, of late I have noticed that Milo is becoming somewhat immune to the song’s charms; understandably it has become a bit stale over time. So this morning I tried to pep it up a little by including all the additional bits from the sweaty Mexican bar flies “a while, a while” (for example). Needless to say Milo was none too impressed, scowled at me, and I returned quickly to the standard version.
After Milo’s first sleep we headed out for our first house visit; lunch with grandma (Ama) and one of his many fine uncles. To add to Milo’s culinary repertoire he enjoyed Rigatoni Bolognese, salmon quiche, broad beans, candied apple and most importantly haloumi which seemed to awaken some deep Grecian hunger within him. An impressive level of consumption for a little body. As his uncle pointed out Milo seems to have inherited the innate family instinct to covet food on dad’s plate.
In the afternoon we watched a beautiful double rainbow over Sydney, although Milo was more interested in watching the escaping cats skip and leap through the puddles, before Kuepps arrived home at dusk to much fanfare in preparation for family fun-day tomorrow.
- Total minutes watching NBA basketball – 48 (alas the series is not a best of 65 so we will now have to find something else to fill our days)
- Number of old travel journals scanned – 0
- Total hours on bicycle trainer – 0
- Total hours spent learning how to craft homemade button-hole flowers – 0
- Total minutes spent planking – 0
- Podcasts listened to – 2 (we are now addicted to ‘Serial’)