Maybe ‘Tomorrow,’ I’ll stop scaring the baby


There are a few irrefutable facts about me.

I love cupcakes, for one. Black and gray are my wardrobe colors of choice. I have incredibly wavy, hard-to-tame hair.

And I’m a terrible singer.

At this point in my pregnancy, I’ve been encouraged to speak to our baby. He can hear me, apparently; sometimes I shudder to think about the silly rants, crying fits and crazy stories Baby J is now privy to. Despite reminding myself that he doesn’t yet speak English, I’ve still been watching my tone and trying to sound, you know, soothing and mother-like. Is that a thing? Mother-like?

If I’m not telling him tales (which, I’ll admit, feels a little bizarre right now), I can sing. Though I have a voice that could probably shatter glass in its pure awfulness, my wee little one doesn’t know a Mariah Carey from a . . . well, from a me.

I don’t sing publicly — not even in front of my husband. Since a disastrous (and very public) chorus audition in elementary school, I’ve avoided any situation in which I might be expected to carry a tune . . . and be laughed off a stage. When I knew I had no future on stage with the cool kids singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at the holiday pageant, I picked up the keyboard and started playing bells.

The only exception came during my high school theatre days — back when I was bold and silly. I auditioned for a few musicals singing “Part Of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid,” a childhood favorite, but had no lofty ambitions beyond getting a bit part. Our director always took pity on me, tossing me in as a background character. I was never mic’ed.

And that was fine. We can’t be good at everything. I knew from childhood that I would never be one of those starry-eyed, tone-deaf dreamers foolishly auditioning for “American Idol”: the ones we all swear must have someone (a parent? friend? enemy?) telling them they’re just really not good, sweetie, yet they’ve managed to reach adulthood believing the opposite.

Despite all this, I love to sing. I’m actually really great at remembering lyrics — I just sound flat and horrible and scary while doing it. Artists like John Mayer are better for me; lower, deeper, closer to being “in my key.” Whatever that is.

But now that Baby J is, you know, hanging out with me all day, I’ve started questioning my music choices — and wondering if I’m doing permanent damage to both his hearing and psyche. The poor little guy is going to emerge with a terrifying fear of Maroon 5, Hanson, The Killers and Death Cab for Cutie; sometime around his fifth birthday, a latent memory of hearing me belt out an Ingrid Michaelson tune is going to cause an anxiety attack.

Inexplicably, I can’t stop singing “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” My sister performed the musical during her junior year of high school, and I swear that thing was a showstopper. I’ve seen the famous movie, of course (though not the remake), and . . . well, it’s just so catchy and relentlessly optimistic that I can’t resist it.

The sun will come out
Bet your bottom dollar that, tomorrow
There’ll be sun
Just thinkin’ about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow . . .
‘Til there’s none

I sing in the shower. I sing down the hall. I sing on my way to work, listening to an unrelated audio book — my voice melding with the narrator’s, creating a nonsensical mash-up. I hum the tune when I’m at my desk, then mouth along to the words invisibly while I answer emails.

It’s in my head all the time, basically.

So I guess it’s in Baby J’s head, too.

When I’m stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin, and grin, and say . . .
Oh, the sun will come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away . . .

Hey — maybe this is fate’s way of telling me he’ll be a sweet-tempered, curly-haired redhead. And an eternal optimist.

And he’ll probably explore all of this in therapy.

Sorry, little dude.

12 thoughts on “Maybe ‘Tomorrow,’ I’ll stop scaring the baby

  1. I love this! I guess it’s inevitable that we’ll give our children “issues”…I think if a healthy fear of certain music is all you’ll give him, he’s on the right track πŸ™‚


  2. Just breathe and relax. You will be okay, and so will Baby J. To him, your voice is the most beautiful thing in the world. As for the type of music, he’ll be fine. Music is music. The lyrics mean nothing to him and won’t for a long while yet.


  3. I’m not a singer myself. I did theater all through high school – which included numerous musicals that I had to audition for. I spent a lot of time dancing or in the chorus (where no one could hear me) thanks to a director that knew I could act despite my inability to carry a tune.


    So no worries – keep on singing! Baby J will be just fine. And who knows maybe he’ll end up with an amazing singing ability!


  4. I can’t sing either and I still find it a little strange to talk to my tummy, but for some reason I have no problem talking to the guinea pigs. So Baby T gets to listen in on all my piggy conversations these days. πŸ™‚

    Also, I’m not just being modest when I say I can’t sing. When I was in elementary school, I was told I sounded like I had a frog stuck in my throat. When I was in high school, I was really involved in theatre and somehow got cast as Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man by our drama teacher. One day, while working on my song with the choir instructor, she cut me off mid-song and said, “You must be a really great actor because I just can’t figure out WHY he cast you in this role.” That really did a lot for my confidence opening night…


  5. I think it’s a lot more about baby boy getting familiar with your voice and the idea of music. And I’m pretty sure that you could be completely tone deaf and he will adore the voice that sings him to sleep each night. πŸ™‚


  6. If my boys could put up with me singing classic rock songs to them in the womb (and even once they came out), I’m sure yours will be perfectly fine! πŸ™‚ The best things about kids, especially your own, is that no matter how you sound, they think you’re the best singer in the world. (at least until they get older. Then they’re kind of brutally honest. lol) Which is a big deal, considering how I sound, haha. Keep singing to him! He’ll love it!


  7. OMG! Stop! Stop thinking it matters that you may not sing like (add whoever can ‘sing’). Think about the terrific example of a happy attitude; of enjoying life that singing and smiling and dancing and thriving mean! That you don’t care or shrink from that enjoyment cuz a fear of what others think. THAT is what you want to share and give to a kid. The joy of experiencing, of living, of sharing. — pls don’t limit by fear of what someone might think of any “lack”, Laugh, giggle, squeal, smile and connect. Appreciate.


  8. My momma can’ carry a tune and many of my childhood memories are of her singing silly songs — “oh, mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy … A kid’ll eat ivy too wouldn’t you?” Embracing who you are is a great gift to your kid!


  9. Don’t worry. They don’t mind. It doesn’t scar them. As long as you in general keep a positive and happy outlook, I believe they turn out just fine.

    I bet he loves your singing.


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