I can see the way the other people in the park look at me. I’m running with my jogging stroller, enjoying a rare morning at home. My daughter is starting to whine. The whine grows louder and louder. It is nearly a cry. How selfish, I can hear them thinking. She should take that baby home.
But I know what will calm my girl. I slow to a walk and remove my phone from the basket of the carriage. “OK,” I assure her. “Mommy will put on your tunes.” I scroll through my albums and hit play. Not shuffle. She hates shuffle.
Dun dundundundun dundun
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore . . .
If the people doing their laps of the park weren’t judging me before they are surely judging me now.
They may not be able to hear it over the hiphop coming from my phone, but my daughter’s whining has stopped. I don’t have to look down at her to know this for sure. It always stops when I put on Hamilton.
When we were in the hospital with her after she was born, there was no television in the room. So my husband and I listened to the Hamilton original cast recording, which had come out the week before. We had seen the show several times: once on Broadway, once off-Broadway, and once in a concert version at Lincoln Center. He is a history teacher, I am a theatre nerd. It was a natural fit.
And when I would drive with her to see my mother and grandmother, when she was so small she barely fit in the car seat, I would listen to it to calm my nerves. And somehow it just became the songs she liked. Now whenever we are in the car and she fusses we play it. She calms down immediately. For her, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an old friend. When she sees him on TV she stops and sits and watches with an attention that is usually only reserved for Elmo or another resident of Sesame Street. (The first character’s name she could say was Murray. Is it a coincidence that Lin-Manuel sings Murray’s song? Probably not.)
My girl and I finished 3 glorious miles in the sunshine today. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow. At some point one or both of us will get cabin fever from being cooped up all weekend. Fortunately, I’ll know I have my secret weapon.