Five years ago when I stared, awestruck, into the newborn face of my first daughter Reese, I wondered with loving, new-mother curiosity what her voice would sound like.
Earlier this evening as I drove the girls to a local park, I only wondered what silence would sound like.
Kerrington cried her little baby cries, ones that sound more like the bleating of a goat than the wails of an infant. Brooke sang the alphabet, repeating "h-i-j-k-l-m-n-o-p" (which, by far, is her favorite segment of that song) for minutes, alternating with humming and asking "What's that?" Reese, now relegated to the back of the minivan, shouted questions at me above the noise, questions that demanded lengthy answers that also needed to be shouted back.
This is the stuff of Advil commercials.
With how much our girls sing, I occasionally feel as if Joel and I have been flung into a living musical -- one that runs constantly in our household like White Christmas runs on AMC from Thanksgiving until New Years. Reese converts perfectly normal sentences -- sentences like "What are we having for dinner?" and "You do know that I really, really, really like pizza, right?" -- into a musical reprise, a practice that makes all daily activities fodder for lyrics. Going to the bathroom before leaving the house? She'll sing about it. Unable to find her shoes? She'll burst into song.
Not that any five-year-old is a streamlined storyteller, but it now takes forever for her to complete a story. She breaks her narratives into stanzas and intersperses them with repeated choruses. Very little makes sense. One of her most recent numbers merged the themes of Australia, cucumbers, playing in the dirt, and the woes of having to share. The occasional guttural cry of I'm a rock star, yeah yeah, I'm a rock star punctuated it all.
I'm sure in her mind, this is all perfectly normal. I mean, why talk when you can sing?
Come to think of it, this is yet another reason why Kerrington, as the third child, can sleep through nearly anything, whereas Reese, who spent her infancy in a house where her parents did not routinely burst into spontaneous songs rivaling the decibel output of a jackhammer or an Aerosmith concert, could be woken by the faintest sound, say, a cotton ball dropping onto a piece of felt.