I’ve been thinking a lot about lullabies since my last post. I had a conversation with a co-worker wondering if many of today’s parents felt familiar and comfortable singing lullabies to their babies.
Then earlier this week, I saw on the national news that parents and volunteers are being encouraged to sing lullabies to the tiniest, most fragile infants in the neonatal intensive care nurseries. The babies’ responses to this gentle, peaceful singing is dramatic and physical.
The singing not only slows down the heart rate of preemies, but oxygen levels increase and breathing calms.
How simple and how perfect that parents, faced with this feeling of powerlessness, watching their little one hooked up to all kinds of technology can know the difference they can still make just by the soothing use of their own voice.
That was one day on the news – another day showed babies under a year old playing with their “favorite” toy – an iPad. The parents were so pleased and proud that their little baby was so fascinated with this latest technology. It showed a 9-month old choosing between crawling to her mother’s welcoming arms and voice or to her iPad – unfortunately choosing her iPad.
I looked into this development a bit more on line and sadly saw video after video of babies and toddlers pounding on their iPads. One app called Smack Talk repeats what you say, so as this young toddler babbled into her iPad, the iPad repeated the babble back to her.
Another one-year-old slapped Apple’s My 1st words – a picture of a truck appeared, then the word truck was said, and so on and so on – a seemingly disconnected way for a little one to learn about the world she lives in.
Finally, I read about a physician in England who is helping parents deal with their childrens’ separation anxiety – not from the parents but their iPads.
And then there was little Grayson on the national news – a 3-year-old boy who was born deaf. After receiving the first ever auditory brain stem implant, we got to see his look of total amazement, shock and awe when the first sound he ever heard was the gentle voice of his daddy saying, “Daddy loves you”.
For me, I can only hope that little Grayson will have many more days and years to come of hearing his parents’ own voices telling him the names of colors and animals and cars and trucks – and maybe even putting him to sleep by singing him a gentle lullaby.
Actually that would be really perfect for all children!