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Friday, September 17, 2010
The Further Adventures of Being a Band Daddy
"When I grow up I want to be in a band. I want to be a mommy too. I can be a mommy since I'm a girl."
It was a bit odd, this declaration, considering that we had been in the middle of talking about sidewalk chalk. Still, after making music at various levels of competency for almost half my life, hearing my daughter Gracen say she might want to try it too gave me a hard, fast flash of pride.Of course, I chose to selectively not hear all the 'be a mommy' bits though.
Sure, she's only five (and a 1/2) and will no doubt want to be at least a hundred more things before finally traveling to that far away land of When I Grow Up, but good Daddies just have to play along sometimes.
"What kind of band do you want to be in?" I asked.
"The kind where I play drums!" she replied with a big grin broken only by the space left by a recently lost tooth.
As a member of the rhythm section, this too was pleasing to me.
Grabbing up a set of $8 conga drums I'd gotten from somewhere about a year before she was born Gracen took a firm grip on my thumb, and pulled. It was Daughter Fu--the classic 'Daddy Come With Me' technique.
Naturally, I couldn't resist.
"Let's go have band practice," she said still smiling.
I was smiling now too. It had been a bit of a tense summer for me. For months I'd thought that all Daddy-ish pursuits had been ditched in favor of princesses and stuffed pigs, but it seemed my little girl had finally remembered that I was fun for something other than setting up pretend tea and cakes for the fluffy toy crew.
"Get your Big Guitar," she said-- which is Gracenese for bass.
So I did...and we proceeded to rock out.
That's when the trouble started.
Now, as someone who's sat through 3,027 tea parties I understand that my child likes to have things just so. Obviously this trait was inherited from her mother, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, about thirty seconds into our jam she stopped banging her drums, and waved her little hands about in what I could only interpret as a 'hold everything' gesture.
My last note faded away into silence. My daughter just stared.
"No Daddy," she said with that slow, deliberate tone that we grown ups use when little ones are stretching our patience. "You have to listen better."
"Huh?" was all I could come back with.
"You have to follow what I'm doing. Just listen to my drums OK?"
"Oh," I had been busted. "OK."
She then proceeded to count me in, but didn't start playing until she got to six.
There was a bit more playing, and a little giggling, then the child reached out and started turning the pegs on my bass.
"What are you doing?!" I barked, aghast.
Never Touch Daddy's Bass is one of the Three Laws, superseded only by Comic Books Are NOT For Drawing In.
"I'm changing the frequency," Gracen said with such big eyed (dig-me-manipulating-my-father) innocence that I couldn't help but get over myself " so it will sound better."
What a diva.
"You sure you don't want to be the singer?" I asked, trying not to cringe as the 'frequency' of my instrument was changed into something I probably wouldn't know how to play.
"Yeah, I'm the singer too." was the smooth reply.
And on it went...
We may not have created a pop masterpiece that afternoon--or anything other than some loosely organized noise accented by our own glee filled laughter--but it was easily one of the most fun times we've shared in the five (and a 1/2) years I've been playing at this gig called Fatherhood.
You know what else? Once we had played until our hands were sore and our gear was all packed away, the "after practice tea party" was pretty cool too.