I had known all along it was coming, but I wasn’t prepared for just how difficult it would be. And as great as I knew it would be for my little social butterfly, that didn’t make it any easier. But it was time.
Last week, Parker started daycare. We had been planning for this all fall, knowing that one of his daytime babysitters was off to begin her internship in January. And we were thrilled to get a spot in the daycare/preschool on the college campus where my mom teaches, since that meant she could help transport and be close by.
After having the opportunity to be home with Parker much of the time (the rest of which he was here with babysitters) for the first 18 months of his life, that first drop-off was ROUGH. He cried, I cried…it wasn’t pretty.
But his teachers are wonderful, as is the rest of the staff. They have sweetly emailed photos and notes of reassurance throughout his first two weeks, and every afternoon they send out a journal describing their day along with photos.
The drop-offs have gotten easier. There are still tears (mostly from Parker…I hold mine in until I get in the car) but in all honestly, those 3 days a week when he’s in daycare have become sacred to me. Not because I needed a break from him, but because I was starting to burn out trying to juggle the full-time mom/full-time business owner roles.
I spent a year and a half putting some of my attention on any given task, and the result was that I always felt distracted. My time with Parker didn’t feel like quality time, because my to-do list was always in the back of my mind.
But now? I am a POWERHOUSE on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I schedule all of my appointments for those days, spend huge chunks of time focusing and getting into “flow” mode with my writing, songwriting, session planning, and administrative tasks, and even devote a few minutes here and there to self-care.
Parker is starting to enjoy being at “school” (especially playing in the gym, according to his teachers), and I know that eventually he will grow to love it. I love that he is interacting with other children his age and learning new things each day.
And on Friday, I am ready to focus solely on Parker until I leave the house to see clients at work, have a relaxing weekend with my family, and get the week off to a leisurely start on Monday. I thought I had the best of both worlds before, but now that I feel more like my old self, I know this is the best possible arrangement for us.
It’s holiday crunch time: those last few days before winter break when I try to fit in as many seasonal songs and activities as I can, because I know I won’t have the chance again for an entire year. I love, love, love Christmas time, especially the music, which is why I have been inspired to write so many original songs over the year.
I’m doing my best to make use of them, many of which I’m sharing with you below in case you need a little extra inspiration in the remaining days before Christmas.
It’s hard not to “catch the spirit” when you work with children every single day. This time of year feels so magical, which I try to capture and put into words with this song. It’s a great way to share in the excitement of this time of year with my little ones.
I wanted to write a song that includes all of the winter holidays, and one thing that they have in common is the lights — whether they are on the Christmas tree or glowing on top of lit candles. “Lights, Lights, Lights” has a mellow feel to it, which is a nice contrast to most of my more upbeat seasonal songs.
“Red and Green” is a song I’ve been having so much fun singing and playing in my holiday-themed early childhood music class this month. We use red and green colored shakers so that there is a visual component to the song, and take turns holding up and shaking the correct colored shakers as we sing about each.
You know I love a good counting song, and aside from the old standby, “The 12 Days of Christmas”, I rely on this one. “Ten Twinkling Trees” is all about picking out the perfect tree, and also works on counting backwards from 10 to 1.
My students seem to have a LOT of extra energy right about now, which of course is completely understandable! That’s where a movement song comes in handy, especially one where they can help come up with fun ways to work out all that energy. “Spread Christmas Cheer” is set to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, and I always sing the traditional lyrics at the end of the song.
One of the big topics of discussion with many of my students is how they will spend their holiday break. This song is a great way to get the conversation going, and prompt them to share their plans for spending time with family, traveling, or whatever other fun things they’ll be doing over those two weeks I won’t see them.
We all know the traditional song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, but there aren’t many songs out there dedicated to those other reindeer that help fly Santa’s sleigh. I wrote two songs just for them, both of which are included in this little album (which, as a bonus, also comes with the lead sheets and instrumental tracks).
I have just 5 more working days left to enjoy these songs along with the other many classics we all know and love. Let’s all go forth and “spread Christmas cheer” with all these musical goodies!
Almost exactly two years ago, I shared the news that I was expecting my first baby. It’s hard to believe, because that feels like just yesterday, but I’m thrilled to announce that baby #2 is coming in May!
I wrote all about finding out the news on my family blog, where I plan to journal occasionally about this pregnancy just as I did with my first.
My due date is May 26th, just two weeks shy of my son Parker’s 2nd birthday. I had heard that pregnancy isn’t exactly a walk in the park with a toddler underfoot, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how exhausting and challenging it would be. After a not-so-pleasant 1st trimester, I’m so happy to be feeling better now that I’ve reached week 17.
The most common question people ask is “are you hoping for a girl?” — and in all honesty, I really don’t care either way. I know it sounds cliche to respond that it doesn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy, but it really is true.
That being said, we WILL be finding out the sex of the baby…on Christmas day! We have a cute plan for a gender reveal with our families, and I’ll be sure to share the results with you.
It’s been a whirlwind pregnancy thus far, and the whirlwind continues as we are closing on a new house at the end of the week. Never a dull moment around here, I tell you. I’m looking forward to getting settled in and regaining some semblance of normalcy.
I’ll be posting baby news here every so often, but mostly I want to focus on the gigantic pile of new songs I’ve been stockpiling these last couple of months. Thanks as always for reading and your generous support!
Every December, I get to sing reindeer songs with lots of excited children at my church’s annual Breakfast with Santa event. This year just might have been the most fun yet, because my little boy was old enough to attend. He joined right in with the rest of the kids, playing instruments and singing along.
There are a few key ingredients to our reindeer singalong: castanets and rhythm sticks (because how else do you make reindeer hoof sounds!?) and the perfect tunes. “Do You Hear the Reindeer?” and “The Other Eight Reindeer” are two original songs that I wrote just for this occasion, and we round out our singalong with the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
Since I get so much use out of these songs every year, I bundled them up — along with their instrumental tracks and notated lead sheets — into one little album. Listen to the songs below, and click through to get it for yourself.
Confession: I was ready to have another baby mere months after Parker was born. Luckily, Zach was the voice of reason and convinced me that we should wait until at least his 1st birthday, and the logical side of me agreed.
We ended up waiting until July, since June was full of birthdays and travel (including Zach’s 10-day trip to Brazil). Those first two months were disappointing, especially since it only took one try with Parker. But I chalked it up to the fact that I was still breastfeeding a couple times a day, and life went on.
In mid-September, I could tell something was up. Parker was refusing to nurse, which was very unlike him, and I just felt…off. So the morning of September 16, I took a test. The second line wasn’t nearly as strong as it had been two years ago, but it was there!
Zach was still at the gym, so I dressed Parker in a “big brother” shirt I had bought MONTHS ago, and we waited for him to come home. When I heard the garage door open, I set up the video camera on my phone to record his reaction — but it was a total fail because he didn’t even notice the shirt! I had to point it out to him, and then I got the reaction I was waiting for.
I was so excited, I could barely focus enough to teach my morning early childhood class. Afterwards, I headed straight to the lab to have my blood drawn; I wanted to make sure the test was telling the truth. A couple hours later, my aunt (who is also my OB’s nurse) called with the results: I was definitely pregnant!
It’s almost as if Parker knew, because that very day he weaned completely. We made it to 15 months, and I would have loved to keep going, but he was done. I had been preparing myself for this day to come, and had I not been pregnant, it would have been a million times harder.
Keeping quiet about my pregnancy was a much bigger challenge this time around. I wanted to tell everyone from the very beginning, but I kept my lips sealed to all but close friends and family. After two and a half months, I am SO relieved that the secret it out!
Next up, all about my 1st trimester. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty…neither literally nor figuratively.)
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
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