And Baby Makes Eleven

Music For Babies: A New-Life Playlist That Won't Drive Parents Crazy

Now that I’ve thoroughly described what it was like to find out I was pregnant and tell all of the necessary people (see these three previous posts here, here and here), it’s time to explain why my series is titled “And Baby Makes Eleven.”

As explained, I live with my parents, having moved back home when San Diego just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I maintained a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend while he finished his last semester in school, but when we found out we were expecting a baby, our plans to dedicate the majority of our budget to rent once he graduated seemed a bit…decadent. So we decided to take my parents up on their offer to let us live with them as long as we need to while paying very minimal rent.

But, if 2+2=4, where do the other seven come from? Well, our unborn child makes 5, my two cats make 7, my parents’ two cats make 9 and their two dogs make the big 11. And, how big is our house? Why, it’s only 900 square feet! We are jam packed with love and snuggles in this house, and I absolutely love it. I am so unbelievably grateful to my parents for how generous they’ve been to my fiancé and me, and will always cherish being able to share such a special time in our lives with them. While we obviously wish we could be in our own place, we’re not stupid and we realize that this is our best option right now. When we are financially ready to move our growing little family into a (hopefully) affordable little house or apartment, we will, but we know that we have to be smart and not rush into anything just so we can enjoy playing house. There’s plenty of time for that in the years to come.

Nevertheless, as my baby’s birthday nears, the need to overhaul everything in my life right now is seriously overwhelming. I’ve been doing laundry for days, reading every article about labor and delivery that I can get my hands on and trying to organize all of the wonderfully amazing gifts we received at our baby showers (Lorelei has more than enough clothes to last her the first four months of her life). It’s a lot of work for a mom-to-be that is nine months pregnant, but luckily I have a fiancé who loves to deep clean and organize.

Though I can’t really master cloth diapers or breastfeeding until my baby is actually here, I can start to work on my mom skills and come up with some solutions to prevent any future insanity. This might sound somewhat trivial, but music is one of my bigger concerns. Two of our close friends gave us two CDs that have lullaby renditions of songs by Radiohead and The Beatles. Those will obviously be a lifesaver, but what do we do if Lorelei tires of them, or we simply get an urge to listen to The Dead Weather, which obviously isn’t very baby friendly music? I don’t have the patience (yet) for little kid music, so I’ve been inspired to create a playlist of sorts that I like to call “Baby Music That’s Not About Babies,” a sort of distant cousin of a playlist I created last winter titled “Christmas Music That’s Not About Christmas.”

We all know that music creates an atmosphere with its tones as well as its lyrics, but babies can’t understand lyrics in the same way you and I can. Because of this, I came to the realization that as long as the music is soothing and somewhat upbeat, Lorelei will probably like it and hopefully drift off to sleep in the car or in my arms if she’s in a fussy mood. The following are songs that I think my baby would love to hear, and hopefully might plant a “good taste in music” seed in her heart while nurturing her soul at the same time.

First, the obvious song: “Lorelai” by Fleet Foxes.
Sure, we’re spelling our Lorelei’s name differently, but the song is whimsical and fun and thus exactly what a baby needs to hear while enjoying some tummy time (for those who don’t know, like I didn’t about 9 months ago, tummy time is when you put your baby on her tummy so she can build some upper-arm and neck strength, and it’s also really fun to say).

Second, the songs that played constantly throughout my pregnancy.
My pregnancy was defined by Beach House’s new album, “Bloom”; Grizzly Bear’s new album “Shields”; the Fever Ray Pandora station; and NPR (forgive me, but there was a very entertaining race for the presidency taking place). I’m hoping that continuing to play everything but NPR (I seriously can’t handle anymore talk radio at this point) will help Lorelei transition into life outside of the womb more easily.

Third, “our” song: “Hold You in My Arms” by Ray LaMontagne.
My fiancé proposed to me in August when I was about five months pregnant, and he played our song in the car before he did. I think it’s incredibly special that Lorelei got to be a part of that moment, and I want to constantly remind her how much her parents love each other, and her, by playing this song for her as much as possible before she can say “Not again, Mom!”

Fourth, “When the Night Comes” by Dan Auerbach.
Dan Auerbach has, in my opinion, one of the smoothest voices in the biz, and I don’t want to keep it from post-birth Lorelei any longer than I have to (though she did get to experience The Black Keys live last month). This song is particularly peaceful and I think it’s perfect for edgy babies who need more than a pacifier and some shhh-ing to calm them down. Hopefully Lorelei will be as simple as the latter, but either way I’ll be sure to play her this song.

Fifth, “French Navy” by Camera Obscura.
This is song is so girly and fun to bounce around to, and from what I’ve been told babies love to be bounced. Instant win.

Sixth, Iron & Wine in general.
I feel like Iron & Wine needs no explanation as to why his music is perfect for my little Lorelei. There are so many songs about love and loving and being loved that Lorelei will be an expert on the meaning of love once she starts to understand what’s being sung to her. Some of my favorites include “The Sea and the Rhythm,” “Love and Some Verses” and “Kingdom of the Animals.” I could list a million, but those three are definitely at the top of my list.

Seventh, “Dance, Dance, Dance” by Lykke Li.
I’m a big fan of dancing, and I’ve missed it a lot these past few months. While I’m not immobile, it’s seriously challenging to dance with a giant belly that kind of has a mind of its own. Still, dancing remains to be one of my favorite ways to “exercise,” we’ll say, and I have a feeling that Lorelei will be the same if her constant movement is any indication of her future interests. If so, this song will certainly speak to her and put her in a good, dancey mood. I can’t wait to swing her around and make her giggle as we dance together around the living room and sing along to this song.

As I tone my uterus with some raspberry leaf tea while Lorelei kicks my mug through my belly and I read over my “Christmas” playlist article from last year, I realize that my life has genuinely changed forever – and for the better at that. I can’t wait to snuggle up with my baby and my fiancé on a cold winter’s night while we listen to the music on either playlist, and reflect on how much can happen in one year. It’s been crazy, but it’s been perfect, and I couldn’t imagine life being any other way.

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