Avery's Advocate

Name: Amy Nixon
Children: Daughter, 3
Work: editor of metroparent west magazine, 30West magazine, specialty publications and design editor at Lake Country Publications
Favorite part of being a mom: Snuggle time is the best part of my day!
Least favorite part of being a mom: Accepting the fact that my house is never really going to be neat and tidy again.
Little known fact: I've been almost 6 feet tall since the 5th grade.

Singing machine

Music, special needs

Ever since Avery was a baby, she's loved to sing. She's always responded to music. When she was little, I'd rock her and sing to her, and she'd quiet down. When she started babbling, her ooo's and ah's sounded a lot like singing to me. And as soon as she could stand, she started reaching for the keys of the piano in our living room.

Yes, I think I've got the next American Idol on my hands. And I'm not the only one. On several occasions, complete strangers have come up to me in various stores and told me that I was raising a future star. It always catches me by surprise because I'm so used to her singing that I don't always realize she's doing it- or at least not how loudly she's singing.  It seems that any time we are in a store or public place lately, Avery uses it as her stage to sing out at the top of her lungs. It's so great.

She has a favorite song when she's in the car with me listening to the radio: "Ho, Hey" by the Lumineers. Every time it comes on she loudly proclaims, "Song!" and then proceeds to clap at the precise beats and say "hey" and "ho" at all the right times. And at the end of the song where they sing, "Love, we need it now", Avery screams "NOW!" at the top of her lungs just at the right spot.

It's absolutely amazing to me that Avery can do this. The girl speaks in one to two-word sentences and tests over a year behind on cognitive tests, but she is so musically inclined that she's learned to speak, not just sing, her ABC's, and she can be clearly understood when she sings certain other songs like "You are my sunshine." And her ability to be spot on with the beats and to pick up on words that she knows in songs is really remarkable to me.

She also doesn't seem to favor one type of music over another. Anything that's got a beat, she can groove to, even if it's Alice in Chains, which is often playing while my husband is in the car. 

A few weeks ago, I came home to find my husband and Avery dancing in the living room to a country song. It was the cutest, sweetest thing I've ever seen. But just like that, the song was over and some horrible screaming rock song (well, horrible, at least, to my ears) came on, and the two of them didn't miss a beat. Avery started to "head bang" as she swayed to the music.

Idol or not, music makes Avery happy. And I hope that doesn't change. It's the one thing that seems to both soothe her and lift her up. Music has helped her learn, it's helped her connect with other people. She's my own little music machine, and I'm loving every minute of it.

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