Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow Falling on Singing Birdies

Yesterday morning, two very beautiful things happened.

First of all, it SNOWED--big, fat, fluffy flakes of white! It never snows here. Well, almost never. I was so excited, and so eager to share my excitement with Kaya, that we just sat in front of the window and watched the flakes fall.

We've been singing a lot lately, mostly in German, so naturally the song 'Schneefloeckchen' [Little Snowflakes] came to mind as I watched the winter wonder out front. I couldn't remember all the lyrics, so I ran to Kaya's room to grab one of my favorite little songbooks, "Alle Meine Entchen" [All my Little Ducks] von Bernhard Oberdieck (I love that it's a board book with 9 common German songs and is small enough to fit in my pocket). I was excited to find FIVE verses of the song, all of which I sung to Kaya at least twice, if not three times.

After about 5-10 minutes of singing, Kaya grew weary of the repetition (I so confidently assume...) and encouraged me to sing a different song with a very adamant, "nudder Wied" [another song]. Also eager for something different, I grabbed another song book off the shelf, "Zehn Liebe Fingerzwerge, die schoensten Fingerspiele" [10 Dear Finger Dwarves, The Favorite Finger Games]. I flipped through the book, looking for songs or rhymes that I knew, and started in, once again, with the vocals.

As I'm singing 'Alle Voegel Sind Schon Da' [All the Birds are Already Here], Kaya climbs down from her perch on the armchair and waddles quickly over to another bookshelf where she pulls down her favorite songbook, "Unsere schoensten Kinderlieder" von Xenos [Our most beautiful Children's Songs by Xenos]. I think it's her favorite, in part, because it's a huge book, probably 10 x 12 in, with fun, bright pictures. But the true draw, for both of us, is the push-button music box. What the heck, you may wonder, is a push-button music box? Well, this very technical term, which my husband and I struggled to formulate, refers to a long plastic piece glued on the topside of the back cover, to the right of the pages. On this box are a series of 10 oval pictures, each referring to one of the songs in the book. The first song, for example, is called 'Alle Meine Entchen', and on our aforementioned push-button box, is a cute little picture of a duck wearing swim goggles (in the song, it describes how the ducks dip their heads under the water and wag their tails in the air). When you push each picture, the melody of that song is played, facilitating a sing-along for any of the songs in the book. It's especially great for those of us who didn't grow up singing about swimming ducks or goose-thieving foxes--it's great for both learning the melody AND practicing the lyrics once you learn the song well enough.

But, back to our waddling Kaya...I turn around, as I'm singing about all the birds, and notice that she's grabbed this big book off the shelf. I stop singing and ask her if she wants me to sing from that book. I wish I could remember what exactly she said, but the clear notion was that, no, she wanted me to sing from my book and she would sing from hers. Accompanied with her words, which I think were something like, "Mama sing--Kaya Buch" [book], was that hand-motion that I was referring to in yesterday's post: the outstretched arm after a deliberate shotput motion. This motion often means, "go away!" [weg], but this time, it clearly meant "turn around, put your nose in your book, and keep singing, woman!"

So, I follow her direction and keep singing about spring, and how the happy birds sing and whistle and chirp. I turn around again, hoping I won't get scolded, and notice her on the floor with her book, flipping through the pages. In her big book, there are four songs about birds, not even counting the one about ducks: Alle Voegel, Kommt ein Vogel geflogen [A Bird Comes Flying], Kuckuck, Kuckuck [Cuckoo], and Ein Vogel Wollte Hochzeit Machen [A Bird wanted to Get Married]. What's up with those krauts and their birds, I must wonder?! I turn back around, to check my lyrics, and suddenly notice that the melody is playing to the song I've just been singing. Of all four bird songs in this book, Kaya picks the one that I've been singing? I was shocked, and impressed, to say the least, and thus inspired to sit down and write.

It's quite possible that she pushed the button to that song because it is simply the first bird song that comes along--something I just noticed now. Flipping from the front, this theory would make sense.

I'm not sure what her method was, though, so I'm naturally left wondering...does she know that song better than I initially thought she did? Have we sung that song enough, together with the push-button music box, that she knows the difference between the four bird songs? Can our daughter read at age 2? (ha, ha, just joking!!)

Whatever meaning any of us may choose to assign, the moment was beautiful. Snow falling on maples, child discovering her world.
I feel lucky to have been a part.

After the fact, I grabbed my iPod, hoping to recreate the scene...didn't exactly happen, as I couldn't get her to play that song again, but for those with a good imagination, or just a penchant for cute toddlers and fluffy snow, it's a fun few minutes.


  1. Kiss her for me! She is SO SWEET!!!

  2. When I first heard you sing in this video I thought I was hearing your mother! It was beautiful! :) Jen XOXO


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