July 14, 2010
Lauren really loves music, all kinds, all day. She listens to music we’ve downloaded onto her MP3, to the stereo we've piped out onto the deck, to CDs in the bathroom and in the car, and to the cable music stations. The cable stations allow us to address her listening pleasure at a moment’s notice. We never know if she’s going to be in the mood for pop, kid’s songs, gospel, or country. She loves them all. It takes trial and error to figure out what her preference is at any particular moment. She alerts us when we need to change the channel by vocalizing her need for our attention. Recently she was displeased with each of our attempts to change to a station that she’s previously enjoyed. In desperation her caregiver put the Classic Country channel on. Now, I like country too... just not the old twangy kind. Well, classic country is now Lauren’s new love. To me, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. So, we have been enduring the likes of “Okie from Muskogee”, “Drinking My Baby Off My Mind”, Do Wacka Do”, and the true king of the classics – “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by the inimitable Little Jimmy Dickens. What sacrifices we make for our children.
Lauren’s MP3 was a great addition to her life. I sit with her at the computer and play the snippets of songs that you can sample before buying a song and I watch her reaction. It’s obvious when she likes a song and when she doesn’t. We then buy the ones she likes and download them. Occasionally she changes her mind or just gets tired of a song. When she lets you know that she is no longer enjoying a song, you have to check and see what song is playing on the MP3. You then take it off her playlist when you can. The system works. And, it gives her not only pleasure, but choice in something, when she has so little real choice or control over anything in her life.
Just recently we’ve found a new use for the MP3. Lauren enjoys someone reading to her. But if the situation or timing isn’t just right, she has to wait for someone to do it. Now, we download books onto her MP3, and she can listen to an expert read to her any time she wants. We download the books for free from a consortium of libraries of which our county library is a member. There are specific titles just for children and young adults on the site. Lauren is listening to one of my own childhood favorites right now - Little Women. Libraries from which you can download audiobooks for free are available all over the country. Contact your local library to find a resource in your area or Google “download audiobook public library” to find resources.
I’m very glad that we have found some things that bring Lauren such joy. And it is lovely to be able to find songs we both enjoy and to share favorite books with her. She even tolerates me singing along with the CDs in the car. Now, that’s love. I guess I'll just have to deal with the fact that the Classic Country channel will be part of our lives for awhile. I’ll will grit my teeth and simply tolerate the next time that Conway Twitty warbles those poetic lyrics:
"You done lost your baby
Lost your baby, lost your baby tonight
You done lost your baby, honey
Baby you just ain`t been treatin` your baby right."