You do not see me writing a lot of “My grandchildren are so cute!” stories. I don’t know. Maybe all grandchildren are wonderful. Maybe none of them are, except to their grandparents. That’s my concern, right there. I do not write stories about them, fearing readers’ accusations of grandfatherly claims of “unjustified adorability.”
Today’s writing involves less a “Wait till you hear this!” story than a sincere speculation as to whether there is something here for us to worry about.
Milo is not yet three, and he won’t be for more than a month. But things happen, telltale signals that elicit not “Wait’ll I tell you what he just said,” but an at least somewhat concerning, “What is going on with this guy?”
The family has just finished lunch and is about to take a dip in the pool. (Not waiting an hour as I was taught, that rule has been rescinded, ostensibly by the same “authorities” who have changed their minds on virtually every food we consume.)
Milo’s Mom Rachel is helping Milo into his swimming attire. And since he has just eaten, there is an accompanying warning that if he thinks he has to poop, he should alert her immediately and get out of the water.
This instantly propels me into a catchy and original, “reminding” song.
Now, Milo and I go way back in terms of “musical connection.” When he was six months old, and the family was returning from dinner during a Hawaiian vacation, Milo became uncontrollable in his crying, and nobody could get him to stop.
Spontaneously and without planning (which is what “spontaneously” means – “you idiot” understood), I break into a medley of recognizable hits from the Al Jolson songbook. Not that baby Milo would recognize them, as he was born some ninety years after “Jolie’s” triumphant heyday.
The thing is, it worked.
Seguing from “Mammy” to “Toot, Toot, Tootsie!” to “California, Here I Come”, I miraculously hold the infant’s unwavering attention, baby Milo sitting in his car seat, silent and mesmerized all the way to our hotel’s front entrance.
So we have this historical musical bond.
What I most urgently want to avoid here is an “accident” in our swimming pool, fearing such shenanigans would lead to certain family members at least eschewing the usage of that pool from that day forward. I determine that the most reliable strategy for affirming Rachel’s timely admonition is with a catchy, but more importantly, impressionable song.
On the spot, I improvise the following ditty:
“Don’t poop in the pool
It’s really not cool
We just have one rule:
‘Don’t poop in the pool’.”
As with the “Hawaiian Experience” of the past, Milo immediately locks his attention onto my vocal – and educational – performance. The boy, suddenly speechless, cannot take his eyes off me. So I sing it again. And – it being a not particularly long song – I sing it a third time. And a number of times after that.
Hoping the message will sink in.
FLASH FORWARD: TWENTY MINUTES LATER
We are now all in the pool, and for no particular reason other than to remind everyone how clever I am, I reprise my toe-tapping refrain for all and sundry, although by this time, I can sense that some of the adult portion of the “all and sundry” are getting a little tired of it.
There is an intervening lull of perhaps a minute. Then the song begins again. Except that this time, it is coming, not from me, but from the two-and-three-quarter year-old Milo, who, appropriating my original melody, has independently altered the lyrics, which now go:
“Poop in the pool
It’s a good idea…”
Okay. So what exactly are we looking at here? Are these the standard improvisations of an uninhibited two year-old? Or the prognosticating symptoms of a dangerous subversive?
I suppose time will tell. But until then…
Is that hilarious, or what?