Friday, November 15, 2013

Music to Soothe the Savage Baby

We vaccinate. On the CDC schedule. But that's not what this post is about. (For a post about that, go here.) There is one particular vaccine that has made poor Bo uncomfortable enough to start crying and not want to stop, which is not like him at all. But this post isn't about that, either.

This post is about OK Go's video for their song White Knuckles.

There is something about this song. Some quality with the power to utterly capture the attention of babies and toddlers. Maybe it's the dogs. Perhaps it's the melody. To this day I couldn't tell you why or what or how.

What I do know is that the video embedded above was the first piece of moving media P. ever watched with focused, enraptured, delighted awareness.

She found it so engrossing that she was willing, while watching it play on repeat, to do something she usually found tedious at best and tortuous at worst. That would be eating, an activity that often ended in tears of frustration for both of us. And yet, our underweight, food-averse toddler would, while watching the puppies' choreography play out on my laptop's screen, consume not vast quantities of food, but a good amount relative to what she'd normally eat. And like it says in the song, "couldn't good be good enough?"

Now as all-consuming as some of P.'s issues with eating felt at the time, I'd mostly forgotten about the hoops we'd jump through to get those precious calories into her. Including playing one OK Go video again and again and again.

Until, that is, she, Bo, and I were home alone and he was going on hour two of post-vaccine sobbing. That's when I remembered and loaded it up on YouTube and pressed play. That's when Bo finally calmed down enough to stop crying and to stare, still teary-eyed but transfixed, over my shoulder - he was wrapped to my back - at my laptop's screen. Until the video ended and he would start bawling again until I hit replay, over and over, more than ten times in all until P., also mostly enthralled but a stickler for novelty, noticed the other videos in the sidebar and demanded to see what else OK Go was capable of.

Like I said, I don't know what it is about it that can soothe the savage baby so completely. But if you find yourself dealing with an inconsolable baby or toddler or one who simply needs something outside of his or her own head to focus on, why not fire up White Knuckles on YouTube? It worked for us!


  1. My 15-month-old who tends to treat most video media as a take-it-or-leave-whatever, was absolutely riveted by this video. I mean, RIVETED. She watched it 5 times, each time after it was done signing "more more more." Amazing!

    1. That is JUST how it was with P. She didn't give a fig for videos of any kind until this one!

      I'm telling you, it has some secret something...

    2. Seriously, it's been 5 days, and absolutely no sign of waning interest. I've started wondering if there are subliminal messages to babies!! ;)


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