Last week I picked Autumn up from school and was treated to a note on her daily report that said, “Autumn enjoyed teaching her friends the song ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot.’” I smiled at the thought of a group of preschoolers singing Pat Benatar, though I can’t imagine how much fun that was for the teachers since Autumn only knows one part of the chorus and sings it over and over. For days all I’ve heard of the song has been “Hit me with your best shot…fire away!”
The result of this repetitive serenade is that I’ve not been able to get that damn song out of my head. I’ve tried and tried, but the more she sings it the more it bounces around in my noggin and even I don’t know all the lyrics. I know some of them, but once I get to a certain point my mental Muzak kicks in until I get to the chorus again. Really, I’m not much better than my kid in that respect.
I’m not exactly sure where Autumn learned the song. I imagine it could have been a Sunday morning I plugged the iPod into some speakers and listened to WBMX out of Boston. I suspect, though, that she learned it at school because “Mama Mia” recently popped into her repertoire and I know I’ve never heard WBMX play ABBA.
That I’m not entirely sure where Autumn picked up these songs is yet another reminder that my kid is becoming her own person. I used to know everything about her. I was the Autumn expert and knew where she picked up what words and how she came to learn a particular tune. When she started singing Katy Perry songs and using phrases like “my bad” I knew our daycare provider’s daughter had to be the culprit. Now, along with her favorites from the ‘80s, Autumn is coming home with an arsenal of songs about ducks, monkeys and alligators and asking me to sing along. But just as she doesn’t know all the words to “Paradise City,” I can only stumble along as she leads me through whatever songs she’s learning at school.
And while both Autumn and I absolutely love the school, I can’t help but feel a little sad about taking this first step towards letting her go. From now on she’ll be surrounded by adults and children who will have a profound influence on her development. She’s spending her day with all sorts of new and exciting people while Mom and Dad get the spare moments before the day begins and after it ends.
I carried her for nine months. I slept on my sides and kicked my husband out of the bed during my last trimester so that his snoring wouldn’t keep us up. I tolerated her tardy entrance into this world and dutifully nursed her until she started biting. Is it too much to ask that I get to keep her close a little while longer?