The morning daycare for Amandine is working out great so far. She seems to like it, and I’ve been able to get some revisions done on my book. I think the manuscript is just about ready to send out to some of my friends who’ve said they’d be willing to take a look at it. Apart from that, I’ve been filling out loads of federal job applications, some of which require the applicant to write more or less a novel-length description of their KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities). So the writing stamina I’ve developed by getting novels down on paper has stood me in good stead. You can’t say novel-writing doesn’t have its collateral benefits, even if one never gets published.
A friend lent me The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I finished that this week. I enjoyed the book as much as the movie, even already knowing the main plot points. The prose style was nice in the English translation, although obviously I can’t say how well it reflects the original Swedish. It’s kind of Ikea-style writing—clean and uncluttered lines, with function taking priority over form, but concern for pleasing design as well.
Amandine, who’s going on two-and-three-quarters now, is becoming very talkative and using complex sentences. She also makes up long, interesting songs about cats and bunnies and naps and diapers. I was particularly impressed the other day when she modified the lyrics of a lullaby that I’ve sung to her a lot. There is a children’s book by Sylvia Long with beautiful illustrations and alternative lyrics to the “Momma’s gonna buy you a mockingbird” song, that go like this:Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mommy’s gonna show you a hummingbird. If that hummingbird should fly, Mommy’s gonna show you the evening sky. And when the night-time shadows fall, Mommy’s gonna hear the crickets call. As their song drifts from afar, Mommy’s gonna search for a shooting star. Etc.
The author’s idea was that the traditional lyrics are too materialistic—“I’ll buy you this, I’ll buy you that.” So instead she wanted to make the song about a mother comforting her child with the beauty of the world around them and her own love. I liked the idea, so I’ve always sung that version to Amandine as a bedtime song. The other day she was putting her favorite stuffed cat down for a nap and singing the song to the cat. Except Amandine’s version went like this:
Hush lillel baby, don’t say a wook, Mommy’s gonna show you a … cupcake.
Alas, the non-comsumerist subtext has clearly not sunk in. But at least it appears my daughter is a poet in the making. At any rate, I took the hint and made cupcakes yesterday.
Some soothing music to send you on your way:
- Standchen, by Schubert (sung by Jussi Björling)
- Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughn Williams (Philadelphia Orchestra)
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