Music & Mood

When my son was very young, he had a problem. You see, his parents came to the only home he’d ever known, an orphanage in Viet Nam and picked him up. Eight and a half months of being rocked to sleep in a bouncy seat, sleeping on a grass mat on a hard shelf of a bed, and being held by the same women every day. Now, he’s strapped to the chest of a large man, who makes sounds he isn’t familiar with, who feeds him food he hasn’t developed a taste for and is so deliriously happy (or sleep-deprived) he looks like he’s been hit in the back of the head with a blunt object.


Once we found the right food at a local, and learned that the crib we’d rented was completely useless, and we’d learned that the “night terrors” typical of an adopted child actually ran from 2pm until 4pm, with repeats at midnight and 4am, and that the best thing was for me to spend the morning walking around with him while my wife slept… (this photo was taken by another adoptive parent) we had it all under control.

Did I mention the sleep deprivation?

Now, imagine two weeks of getting work, getting everything on schedule. Discovering he liked to watch “the Nanny” (American shows are in short supply in Ha Noi) which wasn’t on nearly as often as we needed it to be (which is something that I thought I’d never write). We spend 24 hours flying back on a plane with him stuck in “scream” mode.

My favorite moment? When a person on the plane said, “Can’t you do anything to shut him up?” and I replied, “Yeah, but we don’t like to do it, because we enjoy this.”

You see, Ha Noi is 12 hours time difference. Literally, day is night. And when we got home, we started all over again. Family came over, and stayed for days, and the house occasionally looked like a crime scene as people were laying all over floors, beds, couches, trying to get some sleep. Then, we discovered something that literally saved our sanity.

Celtic Women

It came on and he sat still. He went into a trance, focused on the television, listening to the voices, the drums, the tin whistles, violins… it didn’t matter. Something about it didn’t move him, it stilled him. And we ended up with copies in every car.

I should have known.

We went halfway around the world to find a kid just like me.

So if you are sitting around in a bad mood, what kind of music would surround you and make you happy? If you feel like you have way too much energy, what kind of music would soothe you to sleep? If you’re at work and having a particularly difficult day what song would make you laugh? Sure you look a little odd walking through the hallways singing Walking on Sunshine, but that just makes the moment more enjoyable. In other words if you find yourself anxious, change the station. Sometimes changing your environment can instantly change your mood or perspective. If nothing else it may just irritate the person in the office next door, which always kind of brings a bit of a smile.

1 thought on “Music & Mood”

  1. I adore that young man you’re raising 🙂 His cousin had one CD that would help at bedtime – and I prayed they would fall asleep before song 8 because it had a faster rhythm that would rouse them back up again. But yes – I use music for lots of mood-management. it speaks to my soul on a deeper level.


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