As much as singers rely on their voice to accomplish what they set out to do everyday, so do parents. This is the second time since Gabriel was born (so that was three months ago) that I have lost my voice. Right now I am on day five. It makes things a bit more challenging.
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Here are some features of parenting without a voice:
No singing. This is very difficult because I use songs to cue so many things during the day (getting ready to eat, blessing the food, washing hands, tummy time, and basically entertaining my children). I can still whistle, though! It’s amazing that just whistling works for some of these transitional times.
Minimal story time. By the end of even the shortest stories, my voice is so labored, I can barely get the words out. And forget making different voices for characters, they all sound like Patty and Selma Bouvier, the chain-smoking sisters of Marge Simpson.
No gentle directions. I sound like I am barking commands because when I try to tell my 2-year-old what to do, she can’t hear me (or she has engaged in selective hearing, which my raspy voice is powerless against).
No cooing cute baby sounds. I hope I have not traumatized our son by growling and roaring at him instead of speaking to him sweetly in my upper register. He seems to have a good sense of humor about it, though.
What’s a Mom to do?
And self care? I just read a post by a fellow music therapist who was recovering from laryngitis and blogged about how she accommodated her sessions to use less vocal-based activity. Believe me, I have relied on recorded material more this week than usual (we even allowed Briony to watch an entire Disney movie!) Of course, resting the voice is the best thing one can do. I try. But is there anything else?
I have given story time and bedtime over to my husband several times this week because he can still talk and sing. Thankfully he is happy to step in whenever I need it.
Of course, trying to stay hydrated helps, which I should be doing anyway, but the day can really get away from you! And in these days when sleep is but a blink of the eyes, it is difficult to make full recovery quickly.
So, for now we all must deal with Patty keeping us company until Erin returns.
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