Daily Operation

Skin-in-my-Rinky-Dinky-Dink: A Day of Kindermusik

Interesting outing yesterday for the Wyricks. Took a tour of the Kindermusik class at the Presbyterian church downtown. First, let me say, that I’m not easily embarrassed. I get down no matter where I’m at or who I’m with. There’s no room that I can’t handle. I remain malleable in the toughest of social circumstances. That being said, this was one…tough…room. When we arrive in the parking lot of the church, I get Ellison and sling her over our shoulder and begin making our way to the entrance. I spot another gentlemen wearing an APD shirt under a jacket making his way up with us. He asks, “Are you here for the party too?”

“Party?” I think. I’m here for Kindermusik. My lovely wife confirms with him, “Yeah, the Kindermusik class?”

“Yeah, the Kindermusik,” he says. “This is my first time. My wife’s up there with my baby.”

“Ours, too.”

We follow the signs up to the second floor, scurrying along because I made the family late with Saturday morning jog and Bible study. We arrive at the door and I bust through into the room with my lovely wife and beautiful baby and the cop we found in the parking lot in tow and when you’re fifteen minutes late, it’s damn hard to be inconspicuous. The action comes to a complete halt, everyone whips around and looks at us. The instructor wearing a bright smile, slightly gaping mouth and a guitar.

So much for maintaining a low profile.

“Come in, come in, friends.” The instructor approached us waving her hands and wrangled us into the group who was sitting on the floor. “Okay, we take off our shoes and put our shoes and bags over there on the floor so we can maintain a clean playspace, okay?” Her voices was the deliberately high voicehat you talk to an infant or young child in. Mine is about two octaves higher than my normal speaking voice. My grandfather’s is only one octave higher. He’s just gotta low voice. Worth noting that I was not prepared to take off my shoes. Actually, I wasn’t prepared to even go out in public. I had done a run about two hours earlier and my feet smelled like a rotting sheep carcass. Nevertheless, the shoes come off. I was waiting for someone to get up and go change their kid’s diaper.

“Welcome welcome, everyone! And what are your names?”

My lovely wife speaks up, “Erin and this our little Ellison.” She looks at me, “And I’m Jeff.” No last names. Not until we find out more about what’s going on here.

Immediately, the woman begins strumming her guitar and says to everyone else, “Alright, let’s say hello to our new friends!” At this point, I’m near zoning out. Like Twilightzoning out. What wonderland did I just walk into?

Let’s say “hello” to Erin. And say “hello” to Ellison. Then, say “hello” to Je-e-eff. (the three-syllable version of my name…time’s like this I wish my name was Christopher).

I just met these people and their singing our names into songs? Not only that, some are sign-languaging (that’s what you call it, right). The adults only, mind you. Let me stop right here to say it took me probably a good two years before I started singing my lovely wife’s name into songs and they do it with a guitar in unison in just under a minute. Everyone gazes at us. Smiles. Sings our name. You know, just a normal day at the Presbyterian church downtown.

At this point, I’m thinking Fela Kuti’s probably not in the curriculum. I look around the room and, at this point, the cop motioned to his wife, winked at her and then dashed right back out the door he walked in through. Thanks for nothing. See the picture back at the top of the this post? What’s missing from that picture?

You got it. Men.

So, I’m now the only man in this group of, say, ten women and their children. Not that there’s entirely something wrong with that, but it just takes a little longer to warm up. The instructors stresses to the group. “Remember that your child has fun watching you have fun. They’re watching everything you do. The more animated you are, the more your child will get from this. And they’re listening to your voice as you sing along so use a lot of inflection in your voice. We’re going to do some songs where we’ll sing really high and then we’ll sing really low.” I let my lovely wife knock out the high part. I held down the low part.

Then we danced in a circle to a yiddish tune and did this weird up and down movement for the tuba and little hoppy-hop for the clarinet part. Weird. At this point, I’m just letting it roll. Figure that not only might Ellison get a kick outta me having a good time, but so will someone else in the group. Maybe I could help lighten things up. That might be pushing it. My lovely wife certainly danced a little better will Ellison. Danced so good with her, she col’ passed out. Okay, now there’s two of us and Ellison’s out cold. It’s hard enough when you’re dancing around without a baby. Now our baby isn’t even awake.

Then we did story time where we made various animal noises. I need some help in that department. My elephant sounded like an old Chrysler. It was terrible. For the frog, we “ribbited.” For the giraffe, everyone just said “ooh, a giraffe.”

We were then encouraged to pick up a drum and we’d have ourselves a little drum circle. With Ellison asleep and my lovely wife holding her, I decided I’d just take my stab at a drum circle. Never done it before, but know the hippies always say it’s a life-changing experience where it’s like the pulse of the universe channels through the drums as everyone comes together in rhythmic unison. But these are kids we’re talking about. I have no problem saying that I was the best in the class on the drum part. Although, the young mother to the right of us seemed to have some experience either in drum line or a hippie drum circle because she was hitting some serious fills.

We do a few more songs (or singy-songs, as I started referring to them as: including “Skin-in-my-Rinky-Dinky-Dink, Skin-in-my-Rinky-Doo”), sang good-bye to everyone by name and then packed up, went out in the hallway and entered for a door prize, ate some cookies. I’m not complain about a 1030 cookie. My lovely wife worked the room, talking to some folks, checking out some of the books and CDs they were selling. I reminded her that I can probably get most of the CDs for free. I chomp a few cookies and walk around with a (still) knocked out Ellison.

Because I always win the door prize, we won the door prize. Just ask my lovely wife. I have luck with door prizes. No luck elsewhere, but you can rest assured that I’m coming away with a door prize. It was a CD (told her that I could them for free) and a little shaky egg that rattled when you shook it. Don’t know the technical auxiliary percussion name for it.

We drove around on the way home singing songs on the CD. I can tell you now that I’m not ready for the silly kids’ songs. At all. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to have a good time and I love seeing Ellison entertained and enthused. But I need some work. I was practicing the other night around the house and managed to “maraca” and “Chewbacca.” Thems is some skills, son.

Kindermusik is most likely going to be a mommy-daughter-daddy-optional outing. Still disappointed that they don’t have a class on Charles Mingus and the Ohio Players, but I guess you have to be pretty selective over a 20-week course.


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