Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I've got everything that I need

Today ended as it began: with a meltdown.  Tired, teething baby.  Wants to be held and hugged. Wants Mama.  Wants to be understood.  Wants liiliiluluuuu. LIIILIILUULUUUUUUU.  WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? MORE LIIIILIIILULUUUUUUU!

After a short time he calms down.  And then he's extra delighted by simple joys: book. cracker. water. book! Relief fills his little body with a deep sigh and a little shimmy.

Walter's favorite song is Life's a Happy Song, the big dance number from The Muppets. He wants to listen to it or watch that part of the movie pretty much all the time.  Sometimes he takes the DVD cover and gazes at it (tonight, he kissed it,) making up little songs about his favorite characters.  Getting to hear his song makes him, so, so happy.  

The song is written by Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords. I heard an interview with him (I think it was on Fresh Air) where he said he was going for over-the-top, unrealistic optimism, veiling underlying darkness.  Like, "we're all singing about how happy we are, but we're really not."  Terry Gross pointed out that, even at the beginning of the movie, there's not that much conflict, really.  Life pretty much is a happy song.  It's not sarcastic or ironic. It's earnest, which is a characteristic common to Muppets and Edison-Albrights.

Every time we sing that song it feels very true to me.  Walter's favorite part goes "I've/Got/Everything that I neeeeeeeeeeed/Right in front of me./No-thing's/Stopping me/Nothing that I can't be/With you right here next to me."  And I sing it to Walter and look at him and think: yup.

Even when he's just had a giant meltdown.  Even when I've utterly failed to determine what "liiliiluuuuluuuuuuu" might be. Ultimately, life's a happy song when there's someone by your side to sing along.

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