I don’t have a great memory, which makes it all the more disturbing to me that I have memorized roughly a quarter of the books in Declan’s room. Not just the six-page board books, either. We’re talking a 40-page Seuss book and at least two books about cats. It’s because they rhyme. And rhyming is memorable. And fun. And addicting. And maddening. I know the non-sensical scatting part of the book about Louis Armstrong, all the animals in the A-Z animal book, and the pictures and accompanying words of the books we use to put Declan down for naps and bedtime. Is my brain turning to goo? Survey says: yes.
I know this is a zero sum game. Surely, important pieces of knowledge are fluttering out of my ears on a daily basis just so I can remember the names of the Seussian characters that make up “One Fish, Two Fish.”
So with that in mind, I bring you my own version of the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” (of which we have three copies):
OH! THE RHYMING YOU’LL DO!
Congratulations! You’re speaking in rhyme.
You’re off your damn rocker
Now you Seuss all the time
You have brains in your head
But you talk like you’re two
The first month was funny, but now you’re a tool
Good luck on your own
You should know what to do
Just don’t rhyme this sentence…
But you can’t now, can you?
You’ll look up and down pages
Look ’em over with care
And the ones that don’t rhyme
You won’t choose to read there
With your head leaking brains and your voice making squeaks
It’s clear you’re more suited to Sesame Street
But you may find Elmo intellectually soft
In that case, of course, you’ll flip the Big Bird and be off
It’s opener there in the wide open air
Out there you’ll find therapists and Lit majors, too
But the ones who have kids are as screwed up as you
So when no one can help you
Just go right along, let your brains turn to goo
Oh! The rhyming you’ll do!
You’ll be making shit up
You’ll have thinked ’til you thunk
When you speak those around you will swear that you’re drunk
You’ll join the pot smokers in wasting brain cells
Is it good, you will say? No, it’s actually swell.
Wherever you go you will say to the mirror:
“I won’t speak in rhyme.”
But you still will, I fear
Except when you don’t
Because sometimes you won’t
Just kidding! You’ve lost it.
Yes, sadly it’s true
The days of your linguistic prowess are through
You’ll get all hung up in this lyrical lurch
Like a sleuth you will ponder and prattle and search
For a non-rhyming word to get over the hump
But board books o’er novels will leave you in a slump
And when you’re in a slump, you’ll revert to bad puns
See, Un-Seussing yourself is not easily done
Then you’ll come to a place where adults do converse
Without talk of children, or diapers, or worse…
A place where they talk of their parties and friends!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to join in?
How late can you stay up? Will you even make it ’til 10?
And if you go out, who will watch o’er the kid?
Grandparents? A neighbor? The dog, in a pinch?
Do you trust a teen nanny? With those Facebook photos?
Do you trust someone whose decision making boils down to YOLO?
You can get so confused that you’ll start to embrace
The wisdom of random strangers in internet space
Who excrete, for paragraphs, their own mental waste
Depositing it in a most useless place
The message boards
For late night-obsessing
Could it be a rare disease?
Or is it just a little cold?
Could it be a lack of sleep?
What’s “normal” for a 2-month-old?
Are any toys not made with lead?
Is sunscreen really “cancer spread”?
Can you nurse while taking meds?
What is that red mark on his head?
Everyone is just posting
Posting about what books to read
Or posting about what schedules to keep
Or posting just to pass the time
Or posting, perhaps, while sloppy drunk on wine
Or posting while they feed their child
Or watch TV or pet the dog
Or posting while they pull their hair
And want to scream like Linda Blair
Everyone is just posting
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
All that speculative nonsense
You’ll shun Dr. Google
And Web MD comments
With sweat pants
And microwave dinners in sight
You’ll be ready to not be quite so sleep deprived
Ready to lose both the bags under your eyes
Oh, the rhyming you’ll do!
Yes, even when you’re asleep!
There are words to be paired
As you count all those sheep
And the magical time when your kid is in bed
Will be wasted with jingles caught up in your head
You’ll be lame as a human can be!
Trying to rhyme when your brain should be focused on dreams
But maybe you won’t
When your child is grown
Yes, maybe there’s hope when you are 62
That you’ll talk of great things, and not baby poo
Yes, baby poo!
Whether you like it or not
That smell is a smell you will you smell quite a lot
And when your head is turned
There’s a very good chance
That the spawn you adore will pee all over your pants
And sometime, I fear, between hither and yon
You’ll get a diaper so bad
You won’t want to go on
But on you will go
Though the stank will be foul
On you will go
Though the doggie will howl
On you will go
Though you’ll question their bowels
Onward through many a frightening peek
Though your nostrils may sting
And the diapers may leak
You will get them cleaned up
And I know you’ll try hard
To still view them as special
Even though you are scarred
You’l get mixed up, of course
As you already know
You’ll get mixed up from all that Big Bird and Elmo
So be sure when you wake
Count to 10, breathe in deep
And remember that life’s more than Sesame Street
Just never forget that you’re still an adult
With opinions and passions, with strengths and with faults
So will you succeed?
Yes, you will indeed!
And perhaps even without copious amounts of speed!
Dude, you’ll make memories
So if there’s a time when your resolve starts to fade
Just remember the reason you’re rhyming all day:
The kid right beside you who is just a blank slate
Your story is waiting
So get on your way