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day 41: rockabye baby

March 14, 2011

Before I had my first child, I acquired enough advice to fill a library of parenting books (in addition to the library of parenting books I’d already purchased). I was told to sleep when the baby sleeps, to get the baby on a schedule right away, to Ferberize, to co-sleep, to Babywise, to babywear… the dizzying array of unfamiliar concepts left me sleepless before my son even arrived.

Once he made his debut, I forgot 95% of what I had been told.  Simultaneously awash in love and terrified, I spent hours each night rocking my colicky baby in his nursery or walking aimlessly through the house with him fastened to my chest in a Baby Bjorn.  On nights when he was truly inconsolable, my husband would strap him in his car seat and drive indiscriminately through neighborhoods, rolling the windows down to let in the warm spring air.

Being a first-time parent is hard. Caring for a newborn can be isolating and crazy-making.  At times, my sleep-deprivation convinced me that I was the only person in the whole world still awake (other than the screeching little bird strapped in my Baby Bjorn, of course).

One of my saving graces in those first mad months of my son’s infancy was music.  My husband and I began playing all kinds of music, day and night, in his nursery, as much for our benefit as for his.  Rocking a screaming baby at three a.m. with Brandi Carlile or Son Volt playing in the background was infinitely more tolerable than doing the same in a night-quiet house.

A favorite CD from that time was this:

Some of you may be familiar with the Rockabye Baby music series — it takes rock songs and transforms them into glockenspiel- and vibraphone-laced lullabies. We played the Coldplay version until we nearly wore a hole in the CD.  My son continued to listen to it until well after his first birthday, when it met an untimely demise at his babysitter’s house.

A good friend of ours just had her first baby.  Her first experience parenting a newborn may be very different than mine — her kid may sleep blissfully through the night from Day 1 — but I know she loves good music.  Day 40’s gift is to her, her husband, and their beautiful new baby.  Some glockenspiel, some vibraphone, and some company for those inevitable sleepless nights.

I hope today finds you calm and well-rested.  Thanks for showing up.

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