NaBloPoMo: Four Little Birds.

Toby Joe and I have been stressing out about our living situation again. We live in a tiny apartment. We pay a lot of money for a tiny apartment. And the rent is set to go up 200 bucks in December. Between that, the size of the place, and the fact that we’re about to become a family of 4, we’ve been stressing out a bit.

Where do we go? What do we do? Do we pay the extra amount until we figure it out? Do we move? Do I want to move while 8 months pregnant in the dead of winter when our lease is up? Not really. We’re just not sure what to do. We feel stuck and we’ve been stressing out about it.

Em is in school three days a week. He loves it. He loves it so much he wants to go every day and tells me this often.

The school is in our neighborhood. We can walk there in under five minutes. It’s one of the main reasons we feel tied to this area. We are very, very happy with the school. So is our son.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was there picking him up, he came out singing. I didn’t pay it much mind at first because Em is almost always singing something. But it seemed oddly familiar.

“Em, are you singing Bob Marley?” I asked and I hummed a little bit of what I thought it was.

“No. It’s just a song we sing.”

“Oh, OK.”

He continued singing it all afternoon. At the playground, he sang it loudly. It sounded an awful lot like Bob Marley. Had he been singing Bob Marley in school?

When we got home that evening, I decided to dig out some Bob Marley. Only I guess one doesn’t really “dig out” music all that much anymore. No. Instead one fires up the computer that hosts one’s thousands of MP3s. One turns on the Playstation 3 (or whatever), the receiver and the TV. (Wait! What was that? I just heard something from inside the closet! Why, it’s the sound of my vinyl collection sighing! And, OMG! What was that?! The dust made my one-of-a-kind, pink-pressed vinyl of Sonic Youth’s Evol cough! And that’s the sound of me sighing.)

I flipped through the list of MP3s and found “Three Little Birds”.

“Emdash, is the the song you’ve been singing?”

I could tell immediately from the look on his face that it was. He began to sing and dance around the room. I sang and danced along with him. It was impossible not to. Our apartment roared with noise and laughter.

Later, Toby Joe came home from work and I showed him what happens whenever you play “Three Little Birds” in front of Emory. Em immediately began to sing and dance again. Toby Joe started to as well. And just like that, the whole family began to move around our small, overpriced apartment.


Don’t worry ’bout a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

This is my message to you: The space we call home may be very small. And it’s most definitely overpriced. We may be seen as a little stupid for putting up with it all, but the sound and joy that fills it up is monstrous.

And it’s just gonna get bigger.

And you can’t put a price on that.


  1. We live with our son in a one bedroom apartment. Sometimes it feels cramped but at the same time it’s cozy, it’s home (and it’s been our home for 14 years now).
    You may have to move eventually, but you could stay for now. It can be done in a small space.

    Oh and here’s Alex favourite song (a lovely version of Three little Birds)


  2. OH, PinkBrain! How much does Em currently love you for that link!

    So much thanks to you, darlin. We’ve got it on repeat now. :]


  3. When my sister was born we lived in a tiny two-bedroom apartment.

    We soon moved to a (little bit) bigger, four-bedroom apartment, but the “bedrooms” were still pretty tiny. And all four of us shared a bathroom. And the walls were paper-thin.

    When I was in high school we moved to a very big four bedroom house. With three bathrooms. And everyone had their own TV in their bedroom.

    When I was in college (and much more contemplative) I heard this song and (while it is cheesy, whiney country) I couldn’t agree more. We were never so close and never had more fun than when we lived in the little apartment with little bedrooms and little hallways.

    If you have love and fun, it doesn’t matter how big (or little) your house is.


  4. This made me tear up. I needed a reminder today that everything is going to be all right.


  5. That is one of our St. Maarten songs – brings a good feeling to me as well as Em apparently.


  6. I may have just downloaded 6 covers to this song including the one PinkBrain linked to above.

    I may have.


  7. Three Little Birds a favorite in this house too :)

    It’s just poetic how life’s stresses can be calmed by something brought about by a child.

    Perfect timing, Em!


  8. beautiful story!


  9. This was just lovely to read. Perfect. Thank you.


  10. Noggin plays that to a cute little story of big animals helping small animals do various things. The kids love it and I can’t help but sing along too.


  11. How, in this economy, can the rent go up $200? That is insane.

    When my oldest was born we lived in a little apartment in a friendly building on the Upper West Side that felt like such a community. Yes, they do exist. Our one-bedroom (with a little loft) previously housed a family of four! We were happy and our son’s life was filled with love.

    Even now that we’ve left NYC, had another child, and have a whole house, our boys share a bedroom just across from ours. Closeness and coziness is good, and your life will be filled with both wherever you are!


  12. I am glad you did not move. :) xo


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