Saturday, July 24, 2010

Discovering the Power of Music

This morning, Kailey dug a toy out of the depths of her toy box... the baby MP3 player we bought her a year ago, that she promptly broke. Well, we thought it was broken. I think she dunked it in water or something. We had long ago taken the batteries out and just tossed it in her room, annoyed with ourselves that we had spent $60 on a toy that lasted a week (although, she loved it for that week). She brought it to us this morning, punching the buttons and saying "bok-en". I decided to try to put batteries in it again and see if the year of drying out in the toy box had helped. It had!! New batteries and it was as good as new. Kai was delighted, and promptly marched out onto the deck, sat down, and started bopping along to the songs as she sat on the steps. It was too cute. And, even better, entertained her for a good hour. She kept coming over to me and saying, "DAN-Ssss" ("dance") and we would twirl around together. After a bit, I left her to her music and started cleaning the back deck and doing other chores.

At one point, I glanced over at Kai, and she was listening intently to "sleep, sleepyhead", the music box on her lap, her lower lip quivering. "Sleep, sleepyhead" is a song we learned when Kai was in her very first Music Together class when she was 4 months old. I've been singing it to her at night ever since. She calls the song "Sleep, Sleep". It's very pretty, but also quite melancholy. I used to tear up singing it to her when she was a baby and I'd get to the part that goes "I will keep you safe and warm, so sleep, sleep, sleep sleepyhead." Something about it just got to me.

Apparently it got to Kai too as she sat there on the step, lower lip quivering away. When the song finished, she hit the button to make it play again, and walked over to me with the music box. I was sitting in the doorway at that point, and Kai crawled into my lap, buried her head in my shoulder and started to sob. I rubbed her back and asked her if the song made her sad and she moaned out, "yeeessssss." But, when the song finished, she dislodged herself from me long enough to start the song again before continuing her wailing. Ahhh, the cathartic affect of music. Kai listened to the song about 20 more times, just like a brooding teenager obsessing over some depressing song and contemplating the state of one's existence.

As I watched her relish in the feeling of sadness and longing that gripped her as she listened to the song over and over, I couldn't get over the fact that she was able to internalize the song to that degree. She wasn't just listening to the song, she was feeling the song and all the powerful emotions that song brought up for her. I have no idea exactly what those emotions are for her. When I listen to the song, I think of all the time we have spent cuddling together, me rubbing her back, talking about the day we just had. The song is incredibly comforting to me, but also makes me sad a little bit -- thinking about how fleeting all these nighttimes of her babyhood are and how soon it will be before I will no longer be rubbing Kai's back and singing her lullabies to get her to go to sleep. Even though many nights I am gritting my teeth as I sing the song, willing Kai to go to sleep faster so I can have my evening time to myself, I also relish these moments with her and know that they will be gone forever before long. But, I had no idea that the same song could or would conjure up similarly powerful emotions in Kailey. It is just one of so many examples lately of how Kai is growing into such a KID - a thoughtful, empathetic, and emotional KID. And, it makes me even more wistful about the song and my little sleepyhead (who is sleeping on my lap as I type this rather than letting me start the laundry while she naps. And even though I wanted to get more done today, I realize that these are such sweet moments).

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