Hands down, the best way to capture a memory sometimes is to close your eyes.
This summer, we spent a lot of time in Scotland and Canada. We were mostly on the water, and the sound of gulls and the ocean waves in the morning – that’s my sound of happy.
It’s a combination of sounds that relaxes me, that reminds me I’m far from home, far from work, and all the noise and commotion that entails.
Actually, scientists have established a strong link between sound and emotions (it’s called “auditory plasticity”, apparently) – and from a very young age, humans have the ability to associate strong emotions with specific sounds.
When Flea was a baby, her favourite sounds were those that took her by surprise. Doing something unexpected was the quickest way to make her laugh – singing a song in a silly voice was WAY more fun that just singing a song. Blowing a raspberry on her tummy, or making dog noises while we played, could all make her giggle.
As she got a little more independent, her favourite toys were those that made noises. I remember Mr Monkey was a long-time favourite. It was a soft blue toy that looked a bit like a rattle, and if Flea shook it from side to side, it made a duck-esque honking noise. Not particularly zoologically accurate, but oh, it made Flea laugh so much she’d cry.
Some noises that made her laugh made me cry, of course. There was one small talking teddy that hid at the bottom of the toy box and if knocked in the wrong way, would say, “I’m here for you!” or other sinister catchphrases, and scare the bejesus out of me. That particular toy might have had a terrible accident one day with a mallet when I couldn’t find a way to remove the batteries.
Flea would also quickly learn to associate certain things with certain sounds – the front door closing meant her Dad was home from work, which would always lead to a huge grin. The sound of crashing footsteps on the stairs meant our crazy labrador, Happy, was about to gallop into the room – big giggles.
And of course the sound of pots and pans meant it was soon going to be dinner time – which made Flea VERY happy indeed!
Over at C&G baby club, their research has involved creating a song that’s scientifically tested to make babies happy. Which sounds like magic, if you ask me. Maybe try it on your little one and let me know if it works? You can see the video below, and head over to the www.soundofhappy.com website to find out more.
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