None of my brothers-in-law are what I would call “baby people.” But Paul’s brother who lives in California had a friend who recently had a baby girl. Since I can’t imagine him clamoring, “Let me hold the baby,” I imagine that said child was thrust upon him.
Just like anyone who’s ever held a baby, the one thing you don’t want to happen is for the child to start crying. I’ve always heard that children and animals are great judges of character because they follow their instincts instead of looking at things or listening to things that can be misleading or misinterpreted.
While this may be true, it’s certainly not the case with infants. They cry when they’re hungry, sleepy, wet, want to be picked up or put down, because the sun is too bright, not bright enough, or because the wind changed. So my brother-in-law was not worried when the baby cried, but he was more than a little uncomfortable.
The parents were enjoying watching him holding the baby or maybe they were enjoying his discomfort, but they told him to sing to the child to soothe it. Not being a child expert, his children’s song repertoire is slightly limited, but he gave it his all with a rousing rendition of “My bologna has a first name…” followed by a spectacular performance of “I am stuck on Band-Aid brands cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.”
I think it might have been at this point that the child was taken back by the parents.
When my brother-in-law was relating this to Paul, you can’t even begin to imagine the jokes that started. There were lists of possible songs that could be sung to children. Instead of typical lullabies, the brothers brainstormed options that aren’t exactly mainstream. There’s the theme song from Batman. Everyone should know that na na na na na na na na na na na na, Batman… is very soporific. What about Gilligan's Island and the Brady Bunch? There was even an argument about the correct wording to the Burger King advertising jingle.
References to this will still swing back into the conversation at the slightest provocation. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
That’s what I love about Paul and his brothers. Their laughter. Their dispositions. The way their minds work when they’re together. A statement will be made at dinner or any time really, there will be a short pause where looks are exchanged, and suddenly everyone’s talking at once trying to get their joke out first.
With all this laughter, the ironic thing is that this family has been through some very hard times. And more of it recently. In adulthood the brothers have banded together to work through what needs to be done. They will all be on the phone together discussing something very serious, and suddenly there’s a joke, and they’re all laughing again. Of course I’m sure a therapist would say it’s a coping mechanism, and normal people would just call it weird, but what an amazing ability. It keeps them grounded, things in perspective, and somehow they have fun in the thick of it all.
I doubt it comes as easily to most people as it does to this family, but it’s worth a shot for sure. And if your baby starts crying, just remember, “Nationwide is on your side,” is the new best lullaby.