Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SOL21 Slice 16: Making a musical


I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing 
 every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

I should give an update on how things are going with babysitting the grandchildren, Frog (28 months) and Bird (4 months). In a word: WONDERFUL! Little Bird is now fully adjusted to having her Nana and Poppa around; we have even heard her coo (there is nothing sweeter than this). It is as if she got her discomfort out of the way in that one long day at the outset, as I wrote about in my very first slice of this month.

So, here we are, a couple weeks into this new babysitting schedule, where we watch the children while our son and daughter-in-law work. Thank you, pandemic, for this strange phenomenon - four adults, two little ones, all caught up in one another all day long. It's mind-blowing to realize that similar scenes are repeated in so many work-at-home families throughout the world, during this pandemic - long days of everyone underfoot and in each other's business. We are lucky that we share babysitting duties with the other grandparents, and we all live close enough that we can split the children up some days, vary the schedule a bit, so that we are not always all of us on top of each other. (Yes, how lucky this young family is, to have all four of the grandparents living nearby and able to pitch in). 

Tuesdays are an 'all together' day. This is quite the dance: the grandparents must find a way to be fun and entertaining, while assuring that the wee ones are relatively quiet, all day long, as Mama and Dada are working. 

I think, post-pandemic, someone should make a musical of these days, and I have been thinking of some of the tunes to guide the action:

The pandemic's ability to shrink living space should not be minimized. Although the house was plenty big enough before, it is considerably smaller since March 2020, almost bursting at its seams. Dada takes the basement for his telework, Mama starts at the dining room table and then squirrels away to another room when the noise is too disruptive. (As in, when the children are not napping.) To set the scene, I hear the Talking Heads singing "Once in a Lifetime,"

you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
you may find yourself in another part of the world . . .
you may ask yourself, 'how did I get here?' . . .
you may ask yourself, 'how do I work this?' . . .
same as it ever was . . . same as it ever was . . . same as it ever was . . .

I'm not entirely sure what the plot of this musical is, certainly it needs to show the pivoting of the adults all day long, as we bounce from room to room, making lunches, finding shoes and jackets to get the kids outdoors. (Cue those fun opening notes of David Bowie, "Let's Dance") There will definitely be stressful moments. A lot of the time, the parents can wear earbuds and work quietly, silencing the noise of the world around them, the chaos literally at their feet. But then, Frog will try to get downstairs to play in the basement while Dada is in court, via telework. (He's a lawyer - I mean, c'mon, being a lawyer from one's basement? Which kid is playing make-believe? It seems so funny to me that we can conduct so much business from our homes.) 

So, let's consider a medley of music -

The Beatles, "Hello/Goodbye

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no

Stealer's Wheel, "Stuck in the Middle"

I've got the feeling that something ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs

Clowns to the left of me! Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Rolling Stone, "Mixed Emotions"

You're not the only one with mixed emotions
You're not the only ship adrift on this ocean

The day flies by. 
Maybe I need to add a little clip of The Pretenders, "Stop Your Sobbin'" for those tiny booboos that happen, or when a diaper needs to be changed, you'd hear a bit of Britney Spears "Oops I Did It Again." 

I should definitely include a little Otis Redding, "Try A Little Tenderness" - this song is magic!

Of course, the musical ends happily and harmony is restored, with a slightly revised version of Dusty Springfield crooning "Wishin' and Hopin'":

So if you're lookin' to find love you can share
All you gotta do is hold 'em, and kiss 'em and love 'em
And show 'em that you care

Show 'em that you care just for 'em
Do the things they like to do

This draft of a musical is just beginning to come together...I'll have to think on it some more! 

Truth is, we're all working together to make these days work. It is really a blessing to be able to see and be with family during these endless days of pandemic, to be able to support one another.  

"Music is a great healer. Begin and end your day with music."
- Lailah Gifty Akita


  1. You’ve put together a fun musical score. I suspect playwrights are working on a variety of different dramas, including a one-person show, such as “Wit,” etc. I think I saw a Twitter thread featuring the best pandemic songs a while back. And glad all is going well for Bird now.

    1. I need to look up these pandemic songs - there must be a slew!

  2. OK, I'm glad you are working on it. I think you have really done some good foundational work on Pandemic: The Musical! I hope to see it someday! :)

    1. Will we really want to look back on this time? hahaha A musical score may help the memories a bit.