Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Pretty Little Snowflake

Abby at 4 days.
Originally uploaded by chrisbreitenbach.
Over the past couple nights it’s rained in our living room for hours. As part of our newfound duties as placating guardians of our newborns uncompromising wee small hours of the night whims, I’ve taken to setting her Moses basket (I’m thinking of adorning it with stills from the Ten Commandments) in front of the stereo speakers and playing one of my favorite ambient recordings of rain. The hope here is to give my weary but welcoming arms a brief respite and to maintain a small measure of Abby sleep stasis. It seems to be working like a charm tonight as there’s been nary a peep from her. Ha! There we go, as if on cue-- just as I was writing that last sentence she grunted (or is it a snort? sometimes her collection of barnyard grunts, Mesozoic chirps and satisfied soughs collude in potent ways) a small protest- almost always evidence that awakening proceedings are being launched.

I’m still not entirely sure how this is affecting Abby though I’m certain there have been more then a few studies regarding how music or ambient sound influences a child’s well being-- the common sense consensus being something along the lines that white noise, whether it’s a washing machine, the steady hum of tires on pavement, waves curling onto a shoreline or Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon-- all are all genuinely healthy tools for pacifying newborns. The recording is from Ryko’s Atmosphere Collection and is called Summer Rain: A Day On Cape Cod. Given my fondness for ambient sounds (my 3 favorites: 1) Summer rain 2) the misty hum of an old-school vaporizer and 3) a three way tie between morning birds, crickets chirping and the distant and singularly nostalgic sound of children’s voices on a playground) I’ve long enjoyed this recording because it’s just straight up rain falling, a becalming pitter patter (I have no doubt Abby is in need of a diaper change)as captured from the porch of a summer cottage.

Wait! Wait a second. I’m a Dad. I’m a parent. I have a kid, a baby girl and she’s here and wiggly and gorgeous and when I look at her I can sometimes see hints and expressions of a dozen different family members—how when she flutters her eyes, makes a milky smile or pouts her bottom lip there’s this uncanny (and entirely lovely…yes, I’m gushing) new merging of identity and genes introducing itself. Watching her face you see the fleeting mimic of a grandparent now gone, a nephew, my wife, me. What, we had wondered over the last 9 months, would she look like? Whose eyes would she have? Whose nose? Lips? How would we recognize ourselves in her and how would she be uniquely herself?

She’s too much. I had to have a t-shirt with her picture on it. This post’s accompanying photograph is the one I used. She’s our beautiful bundle of domestic anarchy and we love her something fierce.

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