Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been much more interested in what senses are developing in my babe rather than his/her size (“What can you do now?” I ask as I page through What to Expect). Just over a month ago, I learned that Fetus Bouchard’s sense of hearing was in full swing. This sensory development happened to coincide with the annual festival of carols that my dad conducts. I sat as close as I could to the musicians, hoping my favorite in utero companion could hear and enjoy the music. As the violins swelled, the flute danced gracefully across the upper register and the chorus’ voices melded into a lush tapestry of sound, subtle flutters told me that he/she was listening.
When I was a newborn, my dad would play the piano for me. According to photos and my parents’ stories, I was calm and blissful as I listened to soft melodies, comfortably lodged in the crook of his arm. I clearly remember the sounds of my childhood: my sister’s unbearable wail as a baby (she’s gotten decidedly more bearable over the years), my mom’s warm, chipper voice on the phone, the ticking of the small clock on the living room bookshelf.
These days I think a lot about the sounds that pervade our home, the ones my wee one will respond to and remember for the rest of his or her life. I know these will include dad’s cheerful, booming storytelling voice, mom’s laugh as dad grabs her arm and pulls her close to dance with him in the kitchen, the deep sighs and clicking of keyboard keys as mom bumps up against yet another deadline, and the joyous cacophony of voices as our home fills with family and friends for holidays and impromptu dinner parties. Auditory gifts, like the ones my parents gave me.