Skip to content

The Burrowing Black Sheep

I have to admit, of all the things that I braced myself for just before fatherhood was officially bestowed upon, whether it be the aforementioned poopy diapers, Elmer’s glue-like spit up, or the screaming night time perils of trying to sleep through teething, the most insidious aspect was barely a blip on my pre-child radar screen.  No, I was not ready for the psychologically damaging effects of a little recognized parental threat:  background noise.

It all started innocently enough.  After we finally moved Justine from our bedroom to hers, it became important to try and soften the random noises that accompany the night-life on a sleepy street in the bowels of Central New York.  The night often comes alive with the sound of cars recklessly careening down the road, screeching deer, cougars ripping apart fallen gazelles, and of course my private helicopter returning from a jaunt down to the city after clubbing with Lindsay and J.Lo.  To help combat these potential “awakeners” we received via one of the baby showers one of those “white noise” machines.  After some experimentation, we settled on “the Ocean” as our weapon of choice.

Now, I am aware that there are folks out there that happily fall asleep with these machines, blissfully drifting off to the sounds of a rainstorm, the babble of a small stream in a dense wood, or honks and swearing of rush hour in Times Square.  But for me, listening both consciously and unconsciously to a 20 second clip of tidal waves repeated a bajillion times has a variety of assuredly unintended but very real consequences.  For example, I imagine a chart detailing my late night bathroom activities would show a sharp spike in peeing shortly after the machine entered our lives (although I suppose that could also be attributed to the extra drinking as well).  I also suffered a brief but frightening few weeks convinced that I was Frankie Avalon.  (Too old a reference?  Uh, how about Patrick Swayze in Point Break?  No?  Ummm.  World Famous Surfer Kelly Slater? Look, there’s only so many surfer references I can make…)

Eventually we stopped using the automated PeeTron and switched instead to using a Baby Einstein CD of “Wake Up and Goodnight” classical music.  Naturally, I was tasked with removing the “Wake Up” portion, and quadrupling the number of times that the 8 songs played.  Eventually we discovered that the boombox we have pointed at her room has a “repeat all” function that made it possible to maintain the sleepy music barrage at full force all night long.  This has been marginally better on my psyche than the old machine, although I do occasionally have dreams of conducting a large symphony orchestra only to wake up flailing my cat by the tail about the bed while Rachminanoff whispers through the house.

Both of these subtle methods of subduing a light sleeper are invasive enough to the brain, but mercifully the majority of my exposure to them occurs while I am asleep.  No such luck for when we travel in the car, where I am subjected to two other forms of auditory torture.  The first is another Baby Einstein CD, and in this case it’s the only one that seems to calm her down when we drive.  It’s filled with classic baby tunes, including old standbys like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the Alphabet song (all of which have the same tune – which is a total ripoff).  I know them all by heart now, and in the order that they are played, so much so that if we ever were to lose it, I’m sure I could remaster my own version to replace it.  (REMIX!)  Naturally, of course, every single song is the type that burrows deep into the brain, and resurfaces at inappropriate times, such as in the big board meeting, or while attempting brain surgery.

The second musical pacifier we employ in the car is a jungle themed mirror that has flashing lights around the outside and plays a jaunty little Jungle-ish tune.  The CD is bad enough, but what makes this thing so mind-numbing is that the song that it plays is only about 30 seconds long, and of course is on infinite repeat.  Imagine 4 hours of a car ride with the same 30 second clip playing (and attempting to switch it off causes LOUD fits of anger) and you can see where my mind will start to splinter.

Will this auditary nightmare abate over time?  Unlikely – instead it’ll probably progress to Barney, Baby Beluga and with my luck, Hannah Montana.  Oh god, what if Hanson makes a resurgence?

Posted in Day to Day Baby Living. Tagged with , , , .

  • Again and again and again… – HeirApparent

    […] discussed before the insidious sludge of children’s songs, that penetrate deep into the “Don’t Stop Believin’” area of the brain and take firm hold […]