Sunday, December 14, 2008

The new little musician

River has recently been demonstrating a clear interest in music. He’s gotten bored with his Leap Frog table, which fascinated him for a long time. He pretty much leaves it alone these days, except when he wants some music. Then he’ll touch a button that causes music to play, abandon the table and come over to me. But just before he gets to me, the music stops. So he returns to the table to push the button again and repeat the cycle. By the time he’d gone back and forth five or six times, it was clear he was just trying to get the music to play.

Yesterday a neat birthday present arrived from his grandparents – a six-sided ball with an activity on each side. One side has animals. You can push their bodies to hear the sounds they make. The other side has a keyboard. When you push the keys, you hear the notes. A few seconds after you stop pushing keys, a song will play.

River was pretty fascinated by this toy and last night, by the keyboard especially. He’d wait for the song to play, then shake his booty as he stood alongside the coffee table, or move his arm up and down to the beat.

“Look, it’s like he’s a conductor!” Mark exclaimed. “That’s amazing!”

I was impressed too, but I knew it probably wasn’t indicative of genius. I’d seen Mirena do a pretty good boogey before River did.

His appreciation for different music also seems to be increasing. Yesterday in the car, he was fussing on the way home, tired after a playdate. The Spanish songs I was playing weren’t doing anything for him. So I changed it to the funky beat of Regina Spektor. He quieted immediately and by the end of the first song, was asleep.

It’s fun to see him react to and appreciate stimuli beyond his parents or caregivers. He’s increasingly an independent part of the world and it’s exciting to see him take it in and experience it.

I’ve been trying to resist the music classes that so many parents in my community sign their babies up for. Up until now, I didn’t think he’d appreciate it much. And it’s not really in our budget at the moment. Now that he does appreciate music though, the classes start to become more tempting. I’d be glad to send him to the classes with Mark as quality daddy time. But if Mark does any classes, he wants to do Gymboree.

I guess for now I’ll try to expand the music I provide him with beyond the morning NPR and the children’s music I play in the car. I’ll try to teach him that music can continue for longer than a push of the button. But given that our CD player is broken and I usually carry my ipod with me, it might take more effort than is realistic in the near future.

One thing I think I can do a better job of is taking him to free concerts and musical events, at the library and in the community. We started yesterday by attending a jazz quartet playing at the library and listening to the high school choir sing carols on the street. Fun for us all.

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