The steam was so thick, it was hard to choke down. A hot film covered the mirror and beads of sweat formed on my forehead, slowly dripping onto your arm.

You hated every minute of it, but I couldn’t help but laugh.

The doctor said you had croup (what a gross word for what is really just a bad cough). You were barking like a baby seal.

She suggested I steam up a bathroom and just stand in there with you so that you could inhale the mist. So there we were, you vaporizing your tiny nostrils just by breathing and me sweating my face off with you in my arms.

I got antsy, so we swayed. I sang you a song:

We’re in a baby sauna, a sauna for a baby
A sauna in our bathroom, a sauna for a baby
We’re in a baby sauna, a sauna for a baby
This is a baby sauna, a sauna for a baby

At your first pediatrician’s appointment, your doctor told me to sing to you to soothe you when you were acting fussy. I giggled. ME? I’m the worst singer ever. My voice could make cats run, how would it soothe a baby?

Still, I tried, but at first it was hard. I just couldn’t remember the words to all the traditional baby songs I was supposed to be singing to you. I’d improvise where I needed to:

Rockabye baby in the treetop
When the wind blows the cradle will rock
la la la la and Rocky’s your dog
And when the weather’s bad, you’ll see lots of smog

I grew more and more frustrated that I didn’t know the real words and that this was a poor reflection of me and my ability to parent now, let alone in the future. I took it very seriously and extremely personally. So I tried to get out of my own head and to just sing to you, no matter the words. In fact, at one point, I sang you all the words I could think of to the tune of “Hush Little Baby:”

Diamond, coat, rat, pizza, couches and chairs
Picture frames, goats, fluffy pillows and hairs
Life, ball, witches, staircase, flower and gold
Candle, finger, earring, wheelbarrow and mold

As time went on, the songs started to make less and less sense and started to stray away from even being in the tune of the children’s songs I thought I was supposed to sing.

She wants to eat a taco, she wants to eat a taco
Taco, taco, taco, taco, taco, taco, taco
Chimichango? What? Burrito? No.
Taquito? Burrito? Enchilada? I’M YOUR MAMA

Your dad made up songs too.

You pee-peed on your daddy
WHOO-WHOO
You pee-peed on your daddy
You peed on his shirt!

Sometimes the songs would be reminiscent of other songs, like “Who’s That Baby,” (to the tune of “Who’s That Lady?”):

Who’s that baby?
(Who’s that baaaaaaby?)
Sexxxxxy baby!
(Who’s that baaaaaaby?)

Or one of your diaper changing favorites, “Stinky Baby,” (to the tune of “Pretty Woman”):

Stinky baby, walkin’ down the street
Stinky baby, the kind I’d like to meet
Stinky baby…

Sometimes the silly things we would say to you weren’t even songs. Like Brahm’s Yams—a business idea your dad and I came up with from our crazy, tired brains. We watched an awful horror movie about a terrorizing doll/boy named Brahms and an old woman who said his name in a particular way. We were changing your jammies when we started to say “Brahms” (pronounced brah-mmm-s) over and over again and pair it with yams (pronounced yah-mmm-s), a nickname for your jammies. We formed a plan to sell jammies by the side of the road lemonade stand-style under the name “Brahms’ Yams.” We’d make enough to pay your college tuition in no time.

The things we say to you when your dad and I are together mostly don’t make sense anymore, and the things I say to you when we’re alone, either in a steamy bathroom or rocking in your chair, make even less sense. Sometimes I don’t even say real words to you, I just make noises. I try to speak to you in your own language of clicks, squeals and giggles.

I struggle to find the right way to communicate with a human so small and so young that communication is not yet learned. We may just be meant to communicate through jib-jab and nonsense songs and I’m more than OK with that. I’m actually looking forward to the next time we hang out in the baby sauna, a sauna for a baby.

I like to write for fun, but mostly for sanity. By day I'm a Senior Digital Strategist. By night I'm a non-laundry-folding mom.

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