Next Monday, we will have an ultrasound to find out if our little critter will be a boy or a girl. This will give us a head start on indoctrinating this kid on its gender role. Just kidding. If anything, we will “reverse-indoctrinate,” meaning if it’s a boy, we’ll expose him to dolls, things that are pink and soft emotions. If it’s a girl: trucks, video games, discreet scratching, etc. Jameelah has been very excited about this ultrasound. Mainly because this baby has not been doing much. “Boring!” she says. “It’s so boring! I wish it would kick or do a backflip or something!”
“You should sing to the baby,” she said one day. She’s been reading up on all sorts of research about how babies can recognize and respond to their parents’ voices and other noises if they’re exposed to them in the womb. I’ve been trying to be accommodating, but somehow, it just seems silly to be talking or singing to someone’s stomach. “Hey,” I said one day at her request. “Hey, little critter. What’s new in there? How are you hanging? Getting nutrients from your mommy, growing and stuff? You got like two arms now? You’re developing your hypothalamus gland or something? … You know what? I can’t do this. I’ll talk to the baby when it comes out.”
It is not always fun being pregnant. Jameelah has been having heartburn and a weird leg pain. But the worse seems to be when nothing is happening. It must feel so surreal: carrying a life and having no sign of it. She was looking sad one day, so I thought I would sing to the baby to cheer her up. Her eyes lit up, and she broke into a smile.
“What are you going to sing?” she asked. I thought about it for a moment. “I know!” I said, “‘No Diggity’!” “Uh-uh,” she said, “you’re not singing ‘No Diggity’ to the baby! Sing a lullaby.”
This is my kid we’re talking about, and “No Diggity” is one of the best songs ever written. Ever. This baby is going to be exposed to good music, like the Zombies and Creedance Clearwater Revival and Blackstreet. It’s not going to listen to the crap that kids listen to these days: auto-tuned hip-hop/pop and breathy women who sing songs with whimsical lyrics that are then used for commercials. (Seriously, if I see one more car or gadget commercial where a woman sings with a breathy voice some song about bumblebees or something, I will seriously lose it). Like this irritating “Prius for everyone” commercial, where the annoying woman is all like “Let’s hum, hum, hum, hum/A Prius for everyone.” It makes me want to punch, punch, punch, punch someone in the pancreas.
But that is neither here nor there. There is no use arguing with a pregnant woman, so I started singing one of the only few lullabies I know: “All the Pretty Little Horses.”
“Wait,” she said. “Lay your head on my lap so you’re closer.” She was sitting on the couch. I laid my head down one inch from her stomach, and started singing. “Hush-a-bye/Don’t you cry/Go to sleepy little baby/When you wake/You shall have/All the pretty little horses.” It felt silly at first, but it was a lot less weird than talking to the baby. I finished the song and looked up; Jameelah was beaming. I turned back to the baby and started the next song.
“Shorty get down, good Lord/Baby got ‘em open all over town/Strictly biz, she don’t play around/Cover much ground/Got game by the pound…” Jameelah started laughing. “I can’t get her out of my mind (wow)/I think about the girl all the time (wow wow)…”
I finished the rest of “No Diggity” (“You’re blowing my mind/Maybe in time/Baby, I can get you in my ride”), and I swear the kid kicked me in the head. OK, it didn’t. Seriously, this baby is kind of boring. Hopefully it’s developing its hypothalamus gland, or whatever part of the brain that controls music appreciation. I’m already lining up songs to cover for the post-ultrasound concert, and it will include some Vietnamese traditional lullabies, classic Mexican love songs from Los Panchos, and Juvenile’s “Back Dat Azz Up.”
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