Every generation of parents has that one song.
A song that’s a repetitive staple of a preschool children’s program. The one that gets stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to shake it.
For my generation, it was the Barney “I Love You” melody. It played at the close of every episode featuring the big purple dinosaur.
I love you; you love me
We’re a happy family
With a great big hug
and a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me, too?
This song is so incredibly obnoxious it was used to torture detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
I don’t bring this up to inflict pain upon parents who still have flashbacks of childrearing in the ‘90s, but to explain why this morning I woke up singing, “Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo….”
Yes, we recently returned from a trip to Ohio to visit the World’s Most Beautiful Boys, our 2-year-old identical twin grandsons, Adam and Nick.
Technology is a wonderful thing. We haven’t seen the boys in person since October, but thanks to Skype video chats, when we walked through their front door, their excited shrieks echoed through the house. It’s like their favorite TV characters magically showed up in their living room.
Adam launched himself at Derek, jabbering a mile a minute, and I corralled a half-naked Nick into a big embrace. Nick has reached the clothing-averse stage, just like his dad at this age.
When you live thousands of miles from your only grandchildren, a welcome like that does a lot to help you endure five days of “Baby Shark.”
For these COVID-era boys, getting in a car with Nana and Papa is a big adventure, and now they’re getting verbal enough to express their enjoyment.
The first day we took them to our Airbnb it was raining.
“Swish, swish, swish,” said Adam, watching the wiper blades across the windshield.
This prompted a rousing version of “The Wheels on the Bus,” with Adam doing all of the hand motions.
The next day, as Nick watched the budding trees fly past the car windows, he uttered his amazement.
“Wow! Tree! Wow!” he said.
After a couple of drive-thru restaurant visits for lunch, we decided to take them into Wendy’s for their first dine-in experience.
Saucer-eyed they looked at the bustling lunch crowd, too enthralled to make much of a dent in their chicken nuggets. However, the french fries and barbecue sauce were a huge hit for Nick. He carefully dipped a fry in the sauce, tasted it, and then scooped the sauce up with his fingers.
Let’s just say we all wore barbecue sauce that afternoon.
We knew they were ready for an outing when Nick looked out the window and pointed to our rental car.
“Car go! Go car!” he said.
In addition to language development, their play skills and fine motor abilities are dramatically different since our last visit.
While Adam still likes to taste a crayon or two, he spent almost an hour every day quietly coloring in the coloring books we’d brought.
Nick enjoyed putting the animals in the zoo train and pushing them all through the house. As always, I brought a new stash of board books. This Nana’s heart melted when at different times, I caught them both quietly turning the pages of a book.
Despite their exuberant energy, when tired they’d crawl up into our laps with a blanket and zonk out in our arms. And no, we didn’t put them down. We held them and sometimes dozed along with them.
No matter what educational children’s television program we tried to find when we cuddled up on the couch with them, every single one seemed to play “Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo …”
But the lingering echoes of that annoying tune seem a small price to pay for the memories of our sweet grandsons in our arms.