The nursery needed to be set up.  Never mind that Baby was already three months old, her room was still a storage facility for flat-pack boxes and overflowing plastic B&Q bags.  Enter Handyman.

Naturally everything was pink.  Little girls who grow up in this part of South London must have their pink stuff:  cot, chest of drawers, change table, area rug, artwork from typicalbabyart.com and a little shelf to put baby tchotchkes on.  Pink.

So I set to work as Mum flitted around the house with a constant stream of high-pitched cooing directed at her young daughter.   She did a lovely job, I thought, of including her child in her chores and moment-to-moment minutiae.  Talking to your baby could never be a bad thing.  There was also music playing in the house – again, never a bad thing to share with one’s child.

By and by the audible commentary with Baby informed me that she needed to be fed.  Mum found a private spot one floor down from where I was working, so as not to illicit unwanted stares from the strange man assembling all the pink furniture.  But first she turned off Radio 2 and put on some music more suited to their needs.

Baby was fed to the soothing tones of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits.  Now, I’m no puritan when it comes to music.  I’m hip.  I like a sock-covered penis as much as the next guy, not that I’ve ever tried it myself.  And I can appreciate the Peppers musicians’ prowess on their respective instruments.  For heaven’s sake, if you’re going to call yourself Flea you’d better be pretty confident in your chosen field.  But it came as a jarring incongruity as I stood there in the middle of the vast pink prairie.

I’m not suggesting that every child should be handled with kid gloves, sonically speaking. They don’t need to be carefully spoon-fed Bach and Mozart for fear of them turning into Marilyn Manson (not that there’s anything wrong with him, just in case you’re reading this all dressed in black and are doing your nails to match).  I’d certainly sung the occasional non-traditional lullaby to my son when he was a baby.  ‘I have climbed highest mountain/I have run through the fields/Only to be with you’ by Bono and the boys can make for a very soothing melody to a three-month-old.

But what is the child actually absorbing, I wondered?  For the rest of her life, she’ll have an outrageous association with Mother’s Milk – and yes, the double meaning is deliberate.  Every time she drinks the stuff she’ll think she should ‘Give it away, give it away, give it away now.’  Imagine what will go through her mind when she hears ‘Suck my Kiss’.  And how do you explain ‘Californication’?

Duke Ellington said there are only two kinds of music:  good and bad.  So who can say what’s appropriate for a nursing child?  Not me.  I’m just saying.

Advertisements