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Maddie's Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Savage Baby

A few days ago I was working in the
kitchen. Cora was grooving in the bouncy seat while Maddie
“cooked” in her own kitchen, and after several moments
Cora became restless and started whimpering. In the midst of
cutting up raw chicken, I opted not to touch her and began singing
soothingly to her, a trick that sometimes works. Hearing the music,
Maddie came into the kitchen to investigate.

“Why are you singing like that, Mom?” she asked.
We’re a big music household so there’s often someone
singing, but she was curious why I was singing a lullaby softly.

“Well kiddo, sometimes when Cora gets fussy, she feels better
if someone sings a soft song to her. Babies can often calm down
with a quiet, pretty tune.” Satisfied with the answer, Maddie
went back to her own play.

A few minutes later, Cora began fussing
again. Before I could chime in with my own lullaby, Maddie came
tearing into the room, screeching to a halt at the doorjamb.
Walking slowly and quietly to Cora, she sweetly laid a hand on
Cora’s cheek, looked at her with infinite tenderness, and
began crooning gently:

“Crinkle, crinkle little star . . .”

Listen, she’s got a limited repertoire. It’s the
thought that counts. And you know what? It worked. Cora smiled at
Maddie and my oldest daughter, full of pride in a job well done,
went back to her kitchen.

Ever since then, pretty much any time Cora begins crying, Maddie
starts warbling. It’s almost always “Crinkle
Crinkle”, I guess since that one’s a sure thing, but
she sometimes will segue into a slow, moving version of the ABC
Song for variety. Cora can be two rooms away while Maddie’s
strapped into her booster seat, but no matter: I’ll still
hear that sweet little voice drifting down the hall. Sometimes it
works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I love the effort.

Maddie enjoys this so much, in fact, that she’ll burst into
an impromptu concert completely out of the blue, convinced we need
cheering up. And this isn’t the “hum along to myself
because I’m happy” thing; this is the “I see you
need to hear me sing, so PAY ATTENTION TO THIS SONG!” Midway
into the performance she’ll become the conductor,
orchestrating the whole song. “A, B, C, D – Everybody
Sing Now! – E, F, G – no, Mommy, don’t YOU sing
– H, I – Come ON Daddy! – J, K, . . .” To
her credit, when we finish, she cheers magnanimously for all of us.

And then turns to make sure Cora is smiling.


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