Tag Archives: Parenthood

Stevie Wonder, and the joy of fatherhood

My apologies for the long wait between posts.  My internet has been out since Wednesday.  Between that and my place’s general lack of cell reception I’ve been essentially disconnected from everything, creating a strange sort of anxiety that I’m missing something, even though I’ve been with family nearly every day.  Every time I drive out my phone lights up, and it turns out not a whole lot happens from one day to the next.  As for why I didn’t just write this on Wednesday well, I figured I’d give the computer a rest.

Anyway, I had a special Thanksgiving post in mind, as this year it happened to fall on my son’s 1st birthday.  In some sense it’s passed too quickly, in another it feels like it’s been about fifteen years, but if nothing else it’s a chance to look back through the photo book and see his development month by month.  The first birthday is a special day for him of course, but it feels more significant for my wife and I, as it’s the one-year anniversary of us becoming parents, which is just this incredible life-changer, as all you parents out there know.  And of course it’s wonderful, despite all the personal time you lose and all the complexity every facet of previously simple tasks such as eating and driving start to take on.  All I can say is, if you don’t have kids, and you’re hosting some sort of gathering that includes new parents, excuse them if they’re late.  Because they probably will be.

As for him, he’s grown so much in a year.  We got these newborn photos taken and I’m glad we did, though he looks nothing like that now.  So good news if your newborn looks a little strange and wrinkly, as a lot of ’em do.  At that stage they are just lumps, so totally dependent on you for everything, which is beautiful in a way, especially as it makes each little development so much cooler.  For me the big one was him grabbing a rattle for the first time, finally realizing that these two hands that were constantly in front of his face were actually attached to him and that he could control them.  How cool is that?  Now he moves, he explores, he plays, and most importantly he responds to the world around him.  Thankfully for us he has impeccable balance for a toddler and has only conked his head on something once or twice.  Meanwhile I’m no better at the shit I do day to day than I was last year, though to be fair having a kid does hinder you a bit there.

When my wife was pregnant, we noticed that he seemed to react in a strange way to Stevie Wonder – it made him kick and move in a way that other music didn’t, to the point where my wife requested I stop listening to it around her.  Now I’m guessing this is probably just coincidence but I couldn’t help loving that anyway – both that my son had impeccable taste at the age of -1/4 and that Stevie Wonder was a musician so damn agreeable and loveable that even unborn babies loved him.  Even after he was born, the music of Stevie seemed to calm him, though to be fair a lot of stuff on the funk/R&B/soul axis did.  The Baby Einstein stuff didn’t seem to work at all, other than annoy the parents, though I admit they can be pleasant if you’re the one who wants to fall asleep.  Nowadays the thing that soothes him most is pulling out my arm hairs one-by-one, and he’s too heavy for me to hold him by the speaker for 15 minutes at a time like I used to.

Anyway, the point of all this is that Stevie Wonder really is a special musician, which I’ve been thinking about a lot since I’ve been listening to his music so much this year.  I can’t think of another so universally loved, but then again so few have had a run of albums like that.  I haven’t heard much he’s done since Songs in the Key of Life, but the run from Music of My Mind to that, plus some key singles beforehand, cement his legacy so firmly that it doesn’t matter what else he decided to do.  Some parallels to Michael Jackson there, though thankfully Stevie kept away from most of the weirdness.  He still feels like a sacred figure to some degree – he’s in an Apple commercial that’s been playing over football games now and there’s still something breathtaking about him, somehow he’s still got that voice, and I can’t help but be transfixed by him even as he’s shilling Apple products.  Though what product exactly seems to escape me, as it’s so weirdly non-specific, in fact I don’t recall a single Apple product in the entire ad, but whatever.  It’s their ad money.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that.  We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Critter Jams next week!