In the bewitching space between afternoon nap and dinner, when all is tears and whining, we turn to Michael Franti. His catchy little ditty, Say Hey, is JoJo’s favorite song. At the sound of the intro, she will immediately stop crying, pull the two fingers she sucks on from their pitiful perch between her lips and start waving her arms as if to fly away. And it works every time. In fact, it works so well, that I think is has instigated a communal Pavlovian response. We all stop what we are doing and shake it.
Happy baby noises instigate a venerable avalanche of giggly fun. And the endorphins fly. That song is our family’s reset button. And with three little kids and a grouchy mom, by four o’clock the family dynamic inevitably requires a “control-alt-delete” intervention.
This daily ritual has made me appreciate the power of music, and renewed my admiration for the place of Psalms in the Bible. Psalms takes up a big chuck of the biblical real estate, and for good reason. It is good for us to sing. Songs of praise. Sad songs. Songs that remind us of our shared history. And songs that make us jump up and down and start the day over.
“Again! Again!” The big kids shout.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7