“At this age, babies like to make noise,” I read in a child development book a few weeks ago. “Rather than get them expensive new toys, give them some pots and pans to bang together.” Okay! I rubbed my hands together in the glee of the congenitally cheap. I delved into my cabinets, and pulled out some pot lids and small pans, which I presented to a cheerfully drooling Wren. And oh, the cacophony! The rapturous tintinnabulation!
Alas, the joy was not fated to last. Robin, my sensitive fellow, when he is feeling particularly put upon by the rigors of babyhood and just wants to think for a minute, dammit, objects to loud noises. At these times, a sneeze, a slammed door, or – god forbid – a banged pot lid can send him into paroxysms of howling anguish. Of course Wren, lacking any such delicacy, likes to scream and smash things together as often and as loudly as possible.
In an effort to respect Wren’s needs as well as those of her more high-strung sibling, I gave her a Danish Cookie Tin. It’s lighter than a cooking pot, and the sound it makes when beaten wildly against the floor is a more musical sort of racket. Robin looked a bit suspicious and gave it a wide berth, but was otherwise all right.
Cut to Wednesday night. Wren placed the tin carefully in the middle of the room, then sidled over to the CD rack where Robin sat and pulled herself up to standing. She spread her fingers as wide as she could and pulled seven or eight CDs onto the floor. CRASH! Robin began to wail. “Oh, sweet pea,” I said comfortingly, “come to Mama!” Still red-faced and crying, he crawled toward me. Of course, because he was crying, he couldn’t see where he was going very well. He put his knee right into the Danish Cookie Tin. BANG! WOW-WOW-WOW, it spun loudly on the floor. Defeat! Apocalypse! Robin sat and screamed.
The cookie tin has now been banished to the kitchen, where it lurks malevolently, waiting for recycling day. And Wren is looking for new havoc to wreak.