We’ve been doing baby sign language with Teddy for the past few months, and he’s got a few signs down now: all done, eat, nursing, potty, more. They all took awhile to take hold – lots of us signing to him and showing him how to do it with his hands, and then watching him use it at random times while we looked at him quizzically. 

But this week, he learned a new sign practically instantaneously. I showed him the sign a few times, did it with his hand once and voila! A new sign. 

Music. 

He’d been pointing at the CD or record player for awhile now. He likes to turn on the radio and play with the dials. We noticed that he eats better if we put on a CD during dinner. He’ll sit at the table for longer, more happily, and takes more time considering his food. 

But the sign. The sign opened up new worlds. 

Now, the kid wants music. All day, every day. When we wake up in the morning, he points at me and signs “music.” When I finish singing a song, he signs “more.” When I near the end of a verse, lest I think that I should wrap it up, he preemptively signs “more.”

More, more, more, more. More music. 

For Teddy, any moment without music is a moment wasted.  Music in the morning, music in the afternoon. Music in the evening and underneath the moon. 

All of this music has brought to light something that I didn’t really realize about myself: I hate music. I mean, I love music. I play piano and clarinet and sing, etc. But just music playing for it’s own sake? No. I prefer quiet. 

I don’t want music just playing in the background, and if it is playing, I’m quite picky. No words, please. No unstructured jazz melodies with copious drum solos. No over-dramatic movie soundtracks. Nothing that could be even slightly perceived to be annoying. If it’s not simple and serene, it’s out. Thus, Teddy and I often switch between a few select albums that come from that aisle end cap at Target where you can buy cd compilations of the world’s most boring music. You know, the one where you can press all the buttons and annoy the crap out of people shopping nearby? Yes, I’m the asshole that is keeping those in business. 

This is one of our first lessons in finding balance between what Teddy wants and what mama wants. No music is unacceptable for Teddy. All music all the time is unacceptable for mama. We must find a middle ground. So, sometimes, the answer to “music, music,” is “Not right now,” and sometimes, Mama needs to put on her big girl pants and listen to another round of “Mozart for Mothers to Be” because the child just craves music with his very soul. 

It’s funny that as a child, you look forward to being grown so that you get to be one in charge. When I was a kid, I wanted to paint my house bright green and have a disco ball on the ceiling. Luckily, my tastes changed. But there is satisfaction in getting to set up your own home and run it the way you like it. 

And then you have a child. Someone who is the answer to the constant question, “How did THIS end up here?” Someone who has their own preferences and ways of being, and who is not particularly receptive to the argument, “But this is MY house!” because as it turns out, it’s his too. 

So, music there will be. It’s not so bad, really. It will just take a bit of adjusting and from time to time, more patience, which is, I suppose, what being an adult is really about. 

Then again, maybe I should reconsider that disco ball.

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