I’m Henry the 8th I Am…

Well, he’s actually Henry the First, but we’ve become a huge fan of Herman’s Hermits in our house. It’s a daily ritual to sing “Henry the 8th” to our own little Henry. Davey’s even learned all the verses, once even breaking into song at the grocery store when a lady asked Henry’s name. It melted my heart and we all got a good laugh out of it.

We used to sing a version of Davy Crockett to Davey when he was a baby, substituting different words in to fit our circumstances. We still sing it to him occasionally. I love doing that…taking old songs and turning them into songs to fit our daily life. For example, when trying to get Davey to potty train, I took the Four Seasons “Big Girls” and turned it into a little dity that made him laugh and even encouraged him to use the potty. I even went so far as to sing Frankie Valli’s high alto voice! I know!

These days music plays a huge role in our house. I try to encourage everything from classic rock and roll, to gospel and blue grass. I’ll even throw in the occasional Top 40 and Alternative (my favorite). What I’ve come to discover is that my second little man has an even bigger love for music than my first.

Getting ready to dance

Henry can drop everything and bounce up and down on his knees, clapping rambunctiously when he hears a song. At times, he even pulls himself up into a standing position, arms stretched out in front of him as if he’s conducting his own orchestra, and starts bee-bopping away. I mean that literally, as today I heard him say, “bee bop”.

Henry getting his groove on

He’s become wonderful at keeping pace with a song even using his hands to tap out the beat on the table. What does this mean? Nothing more than my child has an amazing way with enjoying music. I don’t recall Davey getting as into it as Henry does. Davey is quick to memorize verses and entire songs, though. Of course, I couldn’t expect that from Henry right now.

I suppose what’s really tickled my fancy the most is how the other day I found Herman’s Hermits singing “Henry the 8th” on YouTube. Once I pushed play, Peter Noone’s (yes, I know you are all so surprised that a mere 39 year old knows this music…another post for another day) voice began bellowing out the infectious lyrics, “I’m Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am. I got married to the widow next door. She’s been married seven times before…” Henry’s face lit up, he laughed and pulled himself up into a standing position before clapping his hands and bouncing along to the song. Davey even managed to join in!

I take a somewhat non-traditional approach with my children. We don’t know a lot of nursery rhymes, but we do know a lot of Bible songs. We do listen to a lot of music every day. I like to incorporate modern takes with old classics especially with hymns I grew up on. For example, “It Is Well with My Soul” is a favorite. It’s one we can listen to sung as a hymn or a modern day Christian rock. We love Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, and George Strait. And not to be outdone by all the moms out there with little girls who seem love Taylor Swift, we do know all the words to “Shake it Off” and love to hit the replay button.

What about the rest of you? I’d love to know what gets your little ones moving and maybe you moving along with them. I’ve always said that I’d gladly give up a television for music. There’s so much more to the imagination, after all “Henry the 8th” could really be imagined in so many ways.

The happy boy

I Wish I May I Wish I Might

I can feel the sun as it warms my skin. I look up to see it dancing between tree branches as they sway with the warm summer breeze. The air is hot and tainted with a little humidity. There’s the smell of dirt and pine trees, grass and flowers. In the distance, I can hear the sound of the creek as it slowly rolls over the rocks and through the twists and turns. It’s only a quick little jaunt from the cabin. My stomach is beginning to turn with excitement as I stand out in the front yard and everyone else begins to drive in. It’s just me and my mom and dad, but soon it will be a much bigger party and soon it will be some of the greatest memories of my lifetime.

When I was a little girl, years before my younger brother was born, we used to drive up towards River Falls where my uncle had a cabin. It wasn’t an every Saturday affair, but we did get together a lot. It was always my dad’s side of the family, his brother and sister and their kids, his aunts and uncles and their kids, and my grandma. We’d get up early and start the drive to the cabin. Mama always made some sandwiches and sweet tea. We packed our swimsuits and an extra change of clothes.

I don’t remember a whole lot about our times at the cabin, just fleeting moments of a time long since passed. A time I’d love to have my children experience, but something that I fear they may never have. Those days shaped a lot of my life and who I’ve become today. They made me appreciate the smaller things and have served as a backdrop to way I’d like to raise my boys. You see, the cabin was where we all got together for some family time and me and my cousins would run through the woods and play, or splash around down in the creek. There was no television and only an old AM radio, but we still had a grand ole time. My dad’s side of the family is full of singers, gospel and bluegrass. I can still remember some of their harmonies as we trekked off to our adventures outside. What a wonderful time we had.

And what I really wish for my boys, is for them to have that same grand time. I wish they had cousins to play with and that their mom and dad came from huge families with tons of brothers and sisters. Back then it was all about family and what you could do together. One of my cousins was my age, just a few months younger, and she was my best friend. I looked forward to the weekends I got to play with her. My sons don’t have that and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that there’s not some huge family adventure to go on together on the weekends. It makes me sad that their memories of their childhood may not be as exciting as mine.

I love to sit back and think about the mischief my cousins and I would get into. Our grandma used to take a hickory after our legs when we’d go dig up her flowers, and try to climb under the house or go down too far into the woods and stumble across an old moonshine still. Those were the good ole days. When summer time rolls around, I’m immediately transported back to a simple time and, man, do I wish my boys could live it.

We live in a subdivision, with cars that drive too fast, and houses so close you can almost hear your neighbors inside their own homes. We don’t live in the country where you ride your bikes a mile or two down the road to see your friends and then you take off into the woods to build forts and climb trees. We’ve become a society much too concerned with parents who NEED to create ways to entertain their kids, or television shows with questionable morals. We’re a society of zero adventure and a society who doesn’t put as much emphasis on family.

I wrote a while back about having a time machine and how I’d love to go back and experience some of the firsts with my boys. Well, I’d take that time machine and load them up in it and let them see the world their mother grew up in. What a world it was.

I’m still a kid at heart and at night I love to show the first star of the night to Davey. I’ve tried to teach him to wish on the star, but he’s still learning that. Last night, I saw the first star and I fell back into the days when I was a little girl, when my daddy used to take a blanket outside and sit with me under the stars, and I made my wish, something I haven’t done in quite some time…

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight. I wish for a simpler life for my boys. I wish for them a family that’s as close knit as mine was and a lifetime of memories with that family.”