Shawn Colvin’s fourth album, A Few Small Repairs, is currently on rotation in our car. Albums tend to receive a three to four week continual play schedule because one or the other of the boys (usually G) latch on to a particular song or two, asking for it by name. The trick is getting an entire album I really like and waiting for them to space out a little so that I can listen to the other songs on the album besides the two they are repeatedly requesting.
For weeks—nay, months—it was the Indigo Girls’ album Rarities. I finally had to tell Gabriel that they wouldn’t let us check it out from the library anymore (I lied). A Few Small Repairs is replete with declarative choruses and recognizable images, both of which are right up three-year-old G’s alley. The first song—Sunny Came Home—satisfyingly begins,
Sunny came home to her favorite room
And Sunny sat down in the kitchen
She opened a book and a box of tools
Sunny came home with a mission
That’s what G likes: physical realities. He knows kitchens, he loves books. Tools are his favorite and his best. The kid was born with a mission. And it’s hilarious to listen to his three-year-old mind try to make sense of the songs. But the first song that caught his fancy was Get Out of This House. He requested it by name. He walked around the house sing-shouting, “Get Out of This House! Get Out of This House!”
Now he’s come around to the sixth track, I Want It Back. The chorus has the same commanding, repetitive tone as Get Out of This House, but G is perplexed. In the car he muses, somewhat rhetorically, “I don’t know how to figure it out what them want back…” The connections he and Jonah make in their brains are astounding to me.
I shared this short animation a few posts back, but HERE it is again. Especially notice the difference between the representations of the adult and child-sized brains. The rate at which child’s mind makes associations and connections far outpaces the adult mind (habitually committed to our thought highways as we are).
Marianne Moore’s poem “What Are Years?” comes to mind. I love that I just found it on a Children’s Poetry Archive site, because poetry is for everyone. [Another recent find: HBO’s A Child’s Garden of Poetry. Here is a clip of Liam Neeson reading “When You Are Old” by Yeats and of Carrie Fisher reading “Brother” by Mary Ann Hoberman.]
Here is the last stanza of “What Are Years?” —but please click through to read the thing entire.
Or listen instead.
So he who strongly feels
behaves. The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steals
his form straight up. Though he is captive
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.