As you may already know, I’m an ultrasound technician, and these days, I specialize in high risk obstetrics. For those of you who don’t know, that means I spend my days looking at babies in the womb who have something unusual going on, or who’s mother’s are at a very high risk during their pregnancies. I get to know some of my patients very well, and generally, when I am well established with a patient who is visiting us for the last time before she delivers, I ask her one simple question.
“What are you looking most forward to when this baby comes out?”
The first time I asked this question, I asked it to my husband as we were expecting Jake. Ryan was looking most forward at that time to playing baseball with his little man. When he posed the question back to me, my answer was ‘dancing’. I simply couldn’t wait to enjoy making music and dancing with my little bundle of soon-to-be joy. I fondly remember dancing around the living room to AC/DC with my mother, singing Johnny Cash songs to my Dad and exploring Rock & Roll with my stepmother and her amazing record collection. I would day dream about a little boy who would hold my hands and dance around and around the living room with me. Music has always been a part of my life, so long as I can remember, and I wanted to share that passion with my children. Little did I realize that it would be as fun for them as it was for me! It turns out that both of my children, like most children, can’t resist a good wiggle.
I played music of all genres for Jake nearly every day of his early life. He very quickly showed a distinct liking for Baby Einstein’s classical collection. As early as a month old, he would focus on a Baby Einstein VHS cassette that we would put on for background noise while we cleaned up our apartment. But a more stand out memory of Jake, one of my most favorite moments ever (in my entire life) was the first time I saw him “dance”. Jake was probably about 6 months old, and I had him sitting up on the floor, playing with toys, as I did house work around him. Noggin, a children’s programming cable channel was on the television for background noise, and their short commercial type segment- Move to the Music came on. Move to the Music was featuring an up and coming artist, Laurie Berkner, and she was singing a song called, “Bumblebee (buzz, buzz)”. As with all of Laurie’s music, it was the perfect combination of actual musical talent that most adults could appreciate mixed with the fun and whimsy that a could captivate any child. The song caught my attention immediately, and so I sat down next to Jake to watch it. To my surprise, I looked over, and here my 6 month old was shaking his rattle and wiggling as much as he could get his body to muster at that age. He was dancing! He got rocking so hard that he knocked himself right over… (poor kiddo, his head was pretty big in proportion to his body at that time, and so he was a little top heavy….) but I sat him right back up and he continued without missing a beat.
This single event started what would become a very big part of both of my children’s lives. I researched, found out that Laurie Berkner had many more, equally as impressive songs. Meanwhile, I found a little red toy guitar that my dad and stepmother had bought for Jake when I was still pregnant for him… Jake would put that guitar on and stand in front of the TV, studying Laurie’s fingers and movements. (Jake has a tendency to become obsessed, but that’s yet another blog altogether.) He knew all her songs, and he would be entertained for hours on end (literally) just watching her videos, even on the computer. Our absolute favorite thing to do would be to put on “Laurie’s website” (Noggin’s actually) and jam. We would pretend to be a rock band, jumping up and down on our stage. (Our stage just happened to be our guest bed, which accommodated the jumping really well.) I was usually the lead singer, and Jake was the front man on lead guitar.
As the years went on, so did our musical adventures. Our band grew when Ben was born, and Ben usually played either the electronic keyboard or percussion for us. Ben also enjoyed the musical stylings of the Laurie Berkner Band, but Ben took a strong liking to the Curious George Soundtrack, and pretty much any other song that Jack Johnson performed.
While Jake was more concerned with matching the look of the technique specifically (and it was impressive how he would strum and pull up the neck of his guitar in perfect unison with the guitar players, even if the red plastic toy in his hands made a hideous noise), Ben was more concerned with being a performer than with the music itself. Ben loves to sing, but doesn’t care much if he’s carrying the tune, or even getting the words correct, for that matter. (And Ben could hold the attention of almost any audience while he performed. He is certainly something to watch.) Ben will put his whole heart into each performance.
Now that the boys are getting older, Jake is more reluctant to dance around the living room with me anymore… and Ben will still dance but he’s not so into playing as part of the band. I thought I would be disappointed when this stage came, but really, I still get glimpses into their musical genius… Just this morning, I awoke to Ben singing to me. “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merry merry merry, gently down a stream…” (Jazz hands, along with jazz feet….) And though they keep growing, it’s nice to reflect on my dream and to know that I got to experience what I had been looking forward to most; They are my little music maker, my little dreamers of dreams….
On the bottom here, you’ll see Jake at his first rock concert, Pajamara, featuring the Laurie Berkner Band as the headliner!