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She's Got the Music In Her

I may not have mentioned before (I say sarcastically) that my family’s big on music. My husband and I both sing, he plays guitar and piano and writes, I dance, it’s a family business. So Maddie’s been surrounded by rhythm and music and movement since before she was born. In fact, Brian took her pre-natal music education very seriously, introducing all the classics – Beatles, U2 – with a brief history of the band or artist and commentary on songs played. Now that she’s here, she’s an avid music and dance aficionado: being sung to is a favorite pastime of hers, and my dance concerts in the kitchen are always a big crowd (Maddie and Kitty) pleaser.

In an earlier blog I described her forays into instrument playing – the imperious hands of Madeleine have tamed both piano and guitar. Instruments were her first segue from audience member to artist, and she quickly expanded her instrumental repertoire to include the bongos (great for releasing energy) and the Kazoo. Ok, maybe it’s not a real Kazoo. She’s discovered that putting the plastic hollow cover for her baby tweezers in her mouth (no choking danger, I promise!) and talking makes a really cool sound, and I haven’t the heart to tell her the Kazoo already existed.

So we’ve got arts appreciator, musician, and now . . .

She’s becoming a true song-and-dance girl. Maddie has started both singing and dancing.

Before you chuckle knowingly and wink at your significant other (Singing! A 9-month-old! Right!), let me tell you that people outside of her parents have heard and recognized this phenomenon. True, it’s her grandmother and her doting Uncle Ray, but still. My kid croons out these long melodic phrases, gesturing charmingly like a pro, belting her heart out for the Bridge-and-Tunnel crowd. It’s markedly different from the chatty, short phrases she speaks after each song, asking modestly for applause or describing how she got the idea for her next song: “I was lying in my crib the other day . . .” She’s also begun singing along in church or during our song-and-dance time together, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before more objective people observe her talent and succumb to her charm.

But wait! There’s more.

Not only is she an instrument-playing, singing-her-heart-out kind of girl, she dances too. She recently began bobbing her head in time with the music and has started a full body bounce when she’s happy that will, I’m sure, take off any moment as a grand jete or some large expression of physical movement. When her Developlay churns out “Oh Susannah!” she rocks on all fours in time to the music. While standing up holding on to the edge of the coffee table or sofa and a good beat comes on, she begins bouncing happily up and down. But here’s my favorite dance glimpse –
The other day, a Spanish hip-hop song came on the radio in our house. She was sitting in her Bumbo eating breakfast and her eyes went somewhere far away. She began nodding pensively in time to the music, as if judging the beat for danceability. A few bars into the song, she threw herself into a full-body rock, jamming joyfully (and on the beat) with abandon.

My own little gringa gangsta.

I’m a little afraid we’ve created a theatrical monster.


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