I've written earlier about me and my daughter's routine of leafing through a book titled Elvis: The Complete Illustrated Record, where we always start with page 76 where there's a picture of Elvis from G.I. Blues, surrounded by six babies. My daughter then points happily to the picture and says one of her favorite words, which is ”bebis.” (Swedish for ”baby”).
Now, I can report of another everyday activity having to do with “Is” (my daughter's way of saying Elvis) and “bebis.” It all started maybe a week ago when she succeeded in flipping through some of my LP albums, before I managed to steer her away. But not before she had caught a glance at a certain album titled Elvis Country where the picture of Elvis immediately caught her attention.
“Bebis,” she shouted excitedly as I lifted her up, sat myself down in a chair close to my LP and CD collection, and placed her in my lap. “Yes, a baby,” I agreed, “and his name is Elvis.” She nodded happily, saying “Is.” She then pointed at the LP albums, once again uttering the word “bebis,” only this time in a more commanding tone. Sensing my discomfort in letting her hold the big, fragile vinyl cover, she got angry, looking me sternly in the eyes and screaming “bebis!” at the top of her lungs.
What to do? I looked between her frustrated face and my LP records, thinking fast. Then I came up with an idea. Stretching out my arm, I reached for the earliest CD version of Elvis Country released in 2003, pulled it out and showed it to my daughter, hoping for the best. After all, a CD cover isn't as vulnerable as it's vinyl equivalent, I figured. I even let her hold it, which was a bold move in my book.
I need not have worried. Recognizing the picture on the cover her whining was replaced with content once again, After saying “bebis” once again, this time in a more civilized way, she turned the cover around, carefully examining the more modern photo of Elvis on stage grazing the back. “Is,” she repeated, making me smile as she handed the CD back.
We then went through all the variants of Elvis Country I could find in my collection, including the extended version from 2000 with bonus tracks (that one was a hit as it sported a young Elvis on the back as well), the recent legacy edition (I quickly recovered it when she started to press on the paperboard of the digipack) and the FTD 2008 release (held at arms length).
And though I was pretty sure she had really enjoyed studying all the portraits of the unsmiling child that was Elvis at age two, it was clear that my ploy hadn't worked. Once again pointing at the LP albums, she looked at me and said, “big baby.” Sure enough, she'd remembered the LP album cover with the bigger looking photograph of Elvis as a child.
In that moment I surrendered, pulling out my Elvis Country LP and handing it to her. “Baby,” she said happily, then looked at the smaller black and white photo, which included the parents, saying, “mommy” and “daddy.” In that moment I didn't mind her holding the album, but when I saw the cardboard starting to bend, I fought back again, gently pulling it out of her small hands, feeling a little guilty. After all, she was interested in daddy's favorite Elvis album.
Then I had another idea. Why don't get her a copy of her own? Close to where I live is a store selling second hand LP albums. So what I did was visit the store, bringing my daughter along in her stroller, and starting to browse through the Elvis LP's available. Pretty soon I found what I was looking for, a nice copy of Elvis Country, and not very expensive at that.
Returning home with the record, I took a closer look at it. In that moment I realized that I just couldn't bring myself to give such a nice copy to my daughter, knowing that it would eventually get pretty bend and broken.
The very next day, my daughter pointed at my LP collection, saying “big baby!” Once again, I began with showing her all the CD variants of Elvis Country, then ended up with displaying one of the two LP versions I now have in my collection. This has since become a routine, happening at least once a day. I still haven't given her one of the vinyl copies, though. Maybe when she's a bit older ...