My 16-month-old son's wail from the back seat ends our conversation as instantly as a baseball-bat-wielding school principal. "Play the magic CD," my husband orders. I hit Number 6 on the six-CD player. We hold our breath.
Tranquil guitar strains fill the car. Soothing voices, a man and woman, sing a pleasant melody. We are stuck in traffic on a slushy Saturday, but this same scene has played out in sun and rain, day and night, in cool and hot weather.
For a short while, my son's cries continue. But soon, the CD works its magic (hence our nickname for it), and the back-seat wailing ends. By the third song, our little Kung Fu Panda is asleep. "Every little thing is going to be all right," the singing duo, Renee and Jeremy, assure us.
I shouldn't be surprised that a CD could work such miracles. Even in the womb, when I listened to music, KFP kicked to the beat. Based on his response, I decided his favorite groups were the Beatles and Stereolab. I used to imagine him spinning and waving his limbs in an ecstatic, aquatic dance.
A music lover still, he dances to anything with a beat. He likes to discover new sounds and loves, for example, to bang a shampoo bottle against our old-fashioned claw-foot tub, which is made of heavy-duty metal covered with enamel and rings like a dull bell. He adores musical toys and likes to play DJ, starting one toy with one hand and then another with his other hand, stopping and starting them in an endless chaotic musical loop.
Little surprise that our dancing toddler hates to be strapped into his car seat. He especially hates being stopped in traffic; the weight of inertia on his nimble limbs must feel like torture.
When I bought this CD, I never could have imagined how important it would become to my family. Back in my early days on Twitter, I was followed by a musician, @jeremytoback. I checked out his Web site and was intrigued by the colorful, child-like artwork. Previewing the album, "It's a Big World," I loved the simple, folky arrangements. Back then, I wasn't even pregnant, and I didn't realize I was buying an album of lullabies. I didn't know that one day I would depend on that CD to soothe my child at times when I couldn't hold him; to embrace him with music and rock him to sleep. All I knew was that I loved Renee and Jeremy's Bob Marley cover, "Three Little Birds."