From a young(er) age, Kathleen has enjoyed music. When I turn on the stereo, a look of joy comes to her face, and she immediately begins directing the music and exclaiming, unintelligibly, how much she likes a particular piece.
As many children do, Kathleen has acquired various objects from the around the house as hers - an old soda bottle, various measuring cups, my brush when she can get it, and most recently, Brandon's pocket hymn book and children's song book. She enjoys walking around the house with the hymn book in one hand, held out in front of her, and waving the other hand while 'singing.' As she can't talk and can't carry a tune, her singing consists of long tones usually beginning with low-a-low-a-low or wal-a-wal. However, she doesn't seem to know the difference, and it amuses her, so we'll worry about the words later.
In addition to her own singing, Kathleen also enjoys Brandon's and my singing. Often after singing a song of her own, she will force the hymn book into our hands and insist that we trade songs. Being a smart mother, I've begun to employ songs to keep Kathleen content while working on some of my own pursuits that don't involve reading her endless repetitions of Mother Goose.
One morning recently, Kathleen was fussing again, and I wasn't ready to feed her lunch, so I started singing. We began with such classics as "Once There Was a Snowman," "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" (at this point wishful thinking), and "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Having exhausted the supply of short songs, I moved on to the longer "The Ants Go Marching" (we made up to fifteen before I couldn't make up any more rhyming words) and "This Old Man" (repeated twice). Following the singing, Kathleen brought me Bill and Pete, which I repeated to her from memory, while she kept turning the pages, looking for where we were in the story.
As it still wasn't time for lunch, and Kathleen started threatening with Mother Goose (of which half of I do have memorized), we started one last song, guaranteed for at least 20 minutes of silence from Kathleen: "99 Bottles of Milk on the Wall." We made it to 45 bottles before lunch.