Overly honest

My daughter is nineteen months old and she’s overly honest – I wonder who she got that from.

I always liked to sing, already from a very young age. I’ve never been particularly good at it, and I never practiced it much – like guided professionally or so – aside from alone in the bedroom when I was a teenager. I’ve never had much confidence, and all my life I’ve been ridiculed for being different. I got used to it. But public singing was never appealing to me.

Music class in high school was always a mess. The teacher made us choose songs, which we then had to practice and perform in front of everyone else. If you were lucky, the teacher would have the instrumental version. Every other kid came up with Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and I remember several performances of ‘Pretty Fly’ by The Offspring. At the time, I didn’t know these artists. I was raised by a single mother of three. She struggled to pay rent, and could certainly not buy CDs very often. Hence, I was the uncool kid bringing an ancient Queen CD. Guess who had the instrumental version? I could just feel my coolness sink with every word I sang. I became the uncoolest kid in school.

Future gigs weren’t better: my mom’s CD collection consisted of Dutch folk singers and the infamous ‘Greatest Hits’ Queen album – which I never brought again.

I learned the hard way that Dutch folk singers were not cool either. None of them, honestly. So while a skinny redhaired kid raised his cool by poorly rapping along with Fred Durst about getting his dick sucked, I lost all chances of ever reaching anything in high school, by singing some bad Dutch ballad about the hurt of love and separation.

It didn’t matter if it was good or not. It probably wasn’t. It was mostly pathetic for all other thirteen year olds.

I never sang much where it could reach people. My family sometimes told me to shut up singing because it was so awful. Very motivating.

I probably started singing most after I learned how to drive. Singing and driving is the best.

I mostly drove alone for a long time. I gained the confidence to sing along a lot from hours on the road.

Eventually I met my wife, and started singing when she was around. She never said anything bad about it – for which I’m grateful.

During my PhD, I was singing quite a bit during practical work. I never thought much of it, but when I defended my PhD, my colleagues made a movie in which I was singing along with Dutch folk singers. I hate the music, but I have this nasty habit of having exceptional memory. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t heard a song in twenty years. If I hear my mom’s crappy Dutch folk shit, I sing along. Apparently that left a lasting impression. For the first time I could laugh about people joking about my singing. It was pretty funny.

I think at this point in my life, I sing along with everything – especially in the car . It doesn’t matter whether it’s The Weekend, Adele, Xavier Rudd, or Pearl Jam. I put my soul in it – and probably sound horrible.

Then my wife and I got kids. Our first one always liked to sing and dance. We sang a lot of Jason Derulo for a while. He didn’t understand the English lyrics anyway, and it was catchy. He never said anything bad about my singing.

Then we got a daughter…

Nineteen months old, and she’s a fucking terrorist. She loves making fun of people. She’s gonna be trouble, this one. I just know it. I love her to death, but I fear she’ll make for a stressful life ahead of us.

She speaks four words: mama, papa, jaaa, and neeee. The last two developed over the last two weeks.

She’s very slow on the speaking front, but she knows how to articulate her opinion. And mom, dad, yes and no help a lot.

And in the past two weeks, I have heard a lot of Daaad, noooooo!

Every time I so much as open my mouth, she’ll scream.

“Nooooooo. Noooo. Noooononononoooo.”

She gets quite theatrical, with tears and all.

It’s absolutely clear that this kid hates my singing. I know it means nothing, but with my love-hate relationship with public singing, you might as well kick me in the nuts. Not sure what hurts more. I never thought a one year old’s opinion could hurt so bad…

I’m really looking forward to our next road trip. And puberty. And the day that she moves out. (That’s a joke, people.)

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

2 thoughts on “Overly honest

  1. My goddaughter couldn’t stand people singing along. No matter what, no matter how good (or bad). She would stare at you for a while, frowning and eventually would tell you that she wanted you to stop because she wants to listen.
    I know, it hurts. I had some similar issues with me being the uncool kid, only bringing some old church songs to sing at school, because I didn’t knew anything else.
    Yep, my coolness dropped into the basement and from that on I hated singing in public.
    So yes, been there.
    However, she’s a kid. My goddaughter changed. She is now in the age where she enjoys to sing along and hear others sing along. So maybe it’s not about your singing in the first place. And even if, your daughter will always think of you as her hero. So no coolness to loose here;)

    Liked by 1 person

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