I am scared of dead bodies.
If you read me on World Moms Blog, you’ll know that I have been fretting over Owl’s Canadian heritage of late.
Owl has… questionable musical taste.
He gets kudos for liking Forget You and Gangnam Style. However, he loses points for constantly requesting LMFAO and Bruno Mars songs.
You try and put on something tasteful like The Beatles or Barenaked Ladies and he says “No, no like it!”
It’s a problem.
So on St Patrick’s Day we decided to take him down to “CelticFest” downtown.
I was all excited for him to hear some read fiddle music and get exposed a bit to his Celtic heritage – my maiden name is Irish, after all.
But I had forgotten how terrible Vancouver is at approximating East Coast things. Even music, which you think would be fairly reproducible.
It looked good when we got there.
Of course the streets were full of people in green hats eating green popcorn, but there was a band on the stage with guitars and fiddles, and its name was “The Whiskey Dicks” which sounded promising.
But then we got close enough to hear the music.
Owl had a good time dancing, at least… in a marching stomp to the TOTALLY NOT CELTIC MUSIC.
I grew up singing Barra Macneils songs.
Our neighbour used to stand out in his backyard practising his bagpipe every afternoon.
When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with listening to Great Big Sea.
This music is important to me, and Vancouver can’t do it right EVEN IN A CELTIC FESTIVAL.
We decided to go to Tom Lee Music because there was supposed to be a sort of jam session with Mairi Rankin there. The problem was that it had started at 3, and by the time Owl woke up from his nap and we got down town, it was 4:30.
Happily, the people at front of house let us sneak in for half price, so we crept in for the last twenty minutes of the session.
Inside was a small group of people clapping and stamping their feet to real fiddle music – like a secret conclave of actual Irish/East Coasters, hiding from the Vancouver rabble in their shamrock hats while singing about colcannon and teaching each other Irish love songs.
Owl listened in fascination the whole time.
This morning, he took his two plastic hockey sticks and walked around rubbing them together telling me “I play fiddle, Mommy.”
THAT’S my boy.
I wrote this on my netbook and have been trying to post it ever since. PH finally managed to find me a connection with some fiddling on my netbook at my in-law’s house, thanks to an unsecured connection.
THANK HEAVENS, because I seriously need to talk to you folk about the Christmas songs I’ve been hearing on the radio. I need to find out if I’m the only person having these thoughts.
I’ve never been much of a radio person. Normally at Christmas I just have Barenaked For The Holidays on constant loop playing in the car.
Perfect Husband, though no less loyal a fan of BNL than I, has less tolerance for repetition and tends to switch to the radio.
Happily, we have found middle ground on QM FM, which plays Christmas music non-stop during December.
The only unfortunate side effect to constantly listening to radio Christmas music in the car is a tendency to walk around with songs like Six White Boomers and Mele Kalikimaka stuck in your head all the time.
But some of these songs, which I hear being played again and again, sometimes covered by a variety of artists, are starting to make me think weird thoughts… And now that I have overthought these songs, thus ruining them for myself, I feel the need to spread the weirdness.
Therefore, I bring you:
There are some songs that are so amazing that you feel the need to listen to them again and again. They speak to you. You dance around singing them, and you keep returning to the computer to hear that magical combination of notes and lyrics yet again. And again.
On this sunny Friday morning, I will tell you what some of those songs are for me. Because these songs are WINNING.
^my problem with this one is I was obsessed with it when I was in my first trimester with Babby, so now I kind of associate it with nausea, but it’s worth it.
You know what I don’t listen to?
Babby has always been a big fan of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. My mother would sing it to him when he was a wakeful newborn, and he would watch her face with fascination as she went through the woof-woofs, the cluck-clucks and the moo-moos of the animals until eventually his eyes would begin to droop.
It’s still the only thing that will get his attention when he’s upset. For some reason he still has a tendency to scream in the car during night drives. Day drives he sits happily for an hour or more, watching the world go by. But night driving tends to make him screamy. So coming home from a friend’s house at night I sometimes find myself singing Old MacDonald endlessly at him.
Problem is, after you’ve been through duck, dog, cat, pig, cow, horse, hen, mouse, sheep, frog, bird and goat, things start getting more difficult. We end up going through increasingly exotic animals until eventually I start running out of those, too. The pause between “and on that farm he had a…” and the name of the creature begins to elongate as I think frantically.
That’s when PH starts throwing out helpful suggestions.
So, because I don’t have any better ideas, I end up desperately inventing onomatopoeia for all of these nouns while Babby continues to twist his neck at improbably angles in his car seat to watch my face as I sing to him.
At least he takes his own advice. The other night, when he was dressing Babby after his bath, I heard Perfect Husband singing Old MacDonald to him, only the farm was entirely populated by the periodic table of elements.
“And on that farm he had some Lithium, ee i ee i o! With an L i here and an L i there, here an L there an i, everywhere an L i…”
anxiety, babies, books, classical conditioning, comfort object, cry it out, infant sleep, insomnia, lovey, music, no-cry sleep solution, operant conditioning, over-thinking, parenting, psychology, sleep, sleep routines
Hi, I’m Carol and I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
I am using the above as a disclaimer, because this is going to be some classic Carol inconsequentiality.
I’ve read and re-read (parts of) The No-Cry Sleep Solution and I am satisfied that it will meet my needs. As a dog trainer, part of me was hesitant about this book, because the one thing I couldn’t really by-pass in my brain was the little voice that says “cry it out relies on operant conditioning. What could possibly work that does not use operant conditioning, and consequently, CIO?”
After all, how do you teach puppy to sleep in his crate? Let him whimper. The whimpering behaviour is not rewarded and he learns to stay quiet in his crate. Simple.
But Babby is a lot younger than a puppy. He doesn’t even have his milk teeth yet. If he were a puppy he’d still be snuggling at his mother’s nipples, not whimpering alone in a crate. A puppy, by the time it’s old enough to come home, is developmentally much more like a two year old.
So here I was, trying to find a way to violate basic principles of psychology, and feeling pretty stupid about it.
Then I read the book and wanted to smack myself for being such a moron.
You know, Pavlov’s dog? Ring a bell and it drools? The form of conditioning that was “discovered” first and the principles of which must be thoroughly understood before operant conditioning (reward/punishment learning) can even be attempted?
FORGOT ALL ABOUT THAT.
The really stupid thing is that I have insomnia.
All the recommendations for people with insomnia are based on classical conditioning:
I even read Stanley Coren’s book about sleep years ago and he even talked about how the best way to get babies to sleep well was to build positive sleep associations.
So, yeah, The No-Cry Sleep Solution tells you how to classically condition your child to fall asleep at certain sleep cues. She talks about bedtime routines (we have one, but it isn’t long enough), weaning baby off of the booba (a definite sleep-association which needs to change if the baby is to learn to self-soothe), and creating other cues that the baby associates with going to sleep, such as a “lovey” (don’t have) and special sleep sounds (we only have “shhh”).
I have been hoping and hoping that Babby would turn into a thumb sucker, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. So I am still his nighttime soother and this results in him needing to nurse every time he wakes up. I know perfectly well that he’s not actually hungry, but he screams like a banshee without it. The author explains that Babby’s sleep association with booba is so strong that he thinks he NEEDS it to go back to sleep, which is a problem because people naturally wake up every couple of hours. Most of us just roll over and go back to sleep, but if you think you need a booba in order to sleep, you might get upset. She has some tips on how to wean him off of booba, namely popping the booba out of his mouth as soon as he starts to fall asleep, so the association at least doesn’t get any stronger.
In the meantime, I am to introduce a lovey to take my place as cuddle-object, and some cue-music. If I keep the lovey with us whenever he is nursed to sleep, it will smell like me and he will associate it with being nursed to sleep. If I play the same music every time as he is falling asleep, he will associate that with nursing to sleep. The goal is to get to the point where the presence of the lovey and the sound of the music kick-off the sleeping process, while I slowly reduce the amount of nursing he gets before sleep until eventually he falls asleep at the sound of the music/presence of the lovey.
While she never once uses the term “classical conditioning” or allude to Pavlov, her instructions are clear. Pair the conditioned stimulus (lovey/music/bedtime routine) with the unconditioned stimulus (however the baby normally falls asleep, i.e. on the booba) so that it is associated with the unconditioned response (sleep). Eventually, the introduction of the conditioned stimulus (lovey/music/bedtime routine) will result in a conditioned response (sleep). It worked for Pavlov in getting a dog to drool on command. It worked when I taught Beloved Dog how to pee on command. Why didn’t I think of it as a way to get Babby to sleep on command??
All of this is totally psychologically sound, and now that I think about it, is more psychologically sound than the cry-it-out operant conditiong approach. After all, none of the insomnia tips I have ever read have said “cry frustratedly and miserably in bed until you finally fall unconscious.” So if they don’t recommend it for adults, why do we think it’s the best strategy for babies?
Because I’m me, and I overthink everything, I now need to pick exactly the right bedtime lovey and music. After careful examination of all Babby’s age-appropriate toys, I have selected our Eric Carle brand Very Hungry Caterpillar that we picked up in New York, and which you can find pictures of on my Flickr page. It’s a nice, long, huggable baby shape and I approve of its message.
For music, my only option is a hand-me-down lamb that my Boy Cousins used to sleep to, which plays Mary Had A Little Lamb with a wind-up key. Babby already enjoys this music box, although it’s a little sprightly for sleepy time. However, PH is worried about it because the toy is over 20 years old and has metal turn-key. It doesn’t look super safe for a tiny baby. Better for a slightly older child who doesn’t poke himself in the eye when trying to put something in his mouth.
So THAT sent us to the internet to look at other musical options.
Now. I could get a music box or one of those crib-aquarium things that plays music, and use it in combination with the caterpillar lovey, or I could get a glo worm or similar which is music AND lovey all in one.
I’m agonizing over it. Because I am me.
On the one hand, I like the idea of a combo-lovey. If he could trigger his own sleep music, that would be fantastic. Talk about self-soothing!
On the other hand, I’m an old-fashioned gal and I’m not big on the lovey-needs-batteries idea. When I was a little kid I had (okay, still have) a blankie. My blankie didn’t need no stinking batteries. My blankie didn’t need no flashy lights. I like the idea of my child hauling around a Very Hungry Caterpillar which PH and I bought on our baby-moon in New York. Feels delightfully literary and there’s a family story to it. But it doesn’t play music or give off a comforting light in the darkness.
So, folks, what to do?
Low-tech but literary lovey and music box that I would need to turn on myself at night, or fisher price gadget that plays music for Babby when he hugs it?
The pathetic thing is that I won’t get really serious about sorting out Babby’s sleep associations til I have figured out this important issue.