FROM LECTURE NOTES TO BABY'S FIRST SOUNDS
I’ve always been fascinated with audio recording equipment. Back in the day, cassette tapes and tape recorders were so fun to play around with. Kids could make mixtapes, and free music was available simply by taping off the radio (for personal use only, of course). There was all sorts of cool stuff that you could do with cheap recording equipment—like how They Might Be Giants used an answering machine to promote their Dial-A-Song tunes. I even had a short-lived hobby of saving voicemails that I collected from my first website, which received some funny messages in my search for other guys who share my name.
Despite my penchant for audio gadgets, I purchased my handheld digital recorder with a singular purpose in mind. I just wanted a small recorder to help me take notes in classes (I was somewhat prone to falling asleep during lectures), so I got a fairly simple MP3 recorder. I had almost forgotten about it after I stopped using it for school, but I found it again recently. And I’ve discovered a totally new use for it.
I’m a new parent, and my son craves constant attention (like nearly all babies). As a work-at-home dad, it’s tempting to turn on the TV as a temporary babysitter, but since there are several recent studies that suggest TV isn’t so good for children under two years old, I’ve turned instead to my mp3 recorder. I record myself singing and talking and making soothing “shh” sounds. Then I play these audio files for my son when I need to step away for just a few minutes. Since it’s my voice, my son loves listening to these MP3s. It’s also great for singing lullabies to him (repeatedly!) at bedtime, so I’m not singing myself hoarse, and I can record my best renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle” for posterity.
As a (somewhat) responsible parent, I’m careful not to “set it and forget it” and leave my kid alone with just a recording of me all day. And used carefully, I can create my own personalized versions of “Baby Einstein” lessons. But besides just entertaining my son, I can also capture his early baby talk and replay it (repeatedly!) for his mom and grandparents.
I’m hoping to catch his first word soon, which will be the most valuable MP3 I’ll ever own.