Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whistler's Mother

Anyone can whistle, that's what they say. Easy.
Anyone can whistle, any old day. Easy.
It's all so simple. Relax, let go, let fly,
Then someone tell me why can't I?
---Stephen Sondheim

I can't whistle.

I remember one night during my freshman year of college, my roommate and I lay in our respective beds, attempting to whistle at one another in the dark, failing miserably, giggling incessantly. I've had so many talented whistlers try to coax a decent wheeeew out of these thin, useless little lips.

Though can't is not a word I use lightly, I can honestly say there are talents I do not possess. I'm okay with that. I can't do a cartwheel. I can't play piano. And I can't whistle.

But my 8 month old can.

I know what you're thinking. I've been hearing it and attempting to discount it for a couple weeks now, too. She must accidentally be making that noise. She is just breathing in too abruptly. Maybe it's the air through her two bottom teeth.

Then, a few days ago, I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and I heard distinct pitches coming from the living room. I came in to find her lying on the rug, whistling several notes together, as she played with her rubber ducky. Knowing no one would believe me, I pulled out my audio equipment and got a few samples:

I wouldn't find this one little random milestone particularly blog-worthy except that it's the first of so many things to come that my daughter will do that I won't. Another moment of otherness between Me and Mini-Me. And that struck me as funny...and (since this is me), of course, made me think of a different lyric from a different song:

"I hear babies cry. I watch them grow.
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself, 'What a wonderful world'."
---Louis Armstrong

I always get a little weepy at that verse, to tell you the truth. That's one of her father's and my great hopes for our little girl - that she will grow more than us, know more than us, try more than us. That she will be the best of us. And that it won't be a struggle for us to join her in the new technologies she discovers along the way.

In the meantime, I suspect he's just proud that she'll have the chops to play the trumpet.


  1. I found your blog and am SOOOO happy!! You know what, I can't whistle either! In high school I babysat every monday and tuesday after school; remember that? The four year old girl tried to teach me one day to whistle. It was hopeless. I love your little sound bit of Bailey! She is precious and I need to see her again, asap! LOVE YOU!

  2. okay, i think i'm stupid. i can't see where to click to actually hear the sound clip. :(

  3. all right, i'm not stupid, my computer is. the bar showed up when i went to your main page, instead of the permalink. O_o

  4. Wow. awesome is that? It's amazing how you can have (make?) someone that resembles and reminds you of yourself, and at the same time, be her own unique person in so many ways. The wonder of life.

  5. Oh my goodness! So very, very cute! She's so sweet. I would have believed you anyway, but that audio just tickled me. :)

  6. What a wonderful little band/choir kid she will be. I cannot wait to follow her on FB in 15 years. :)