If you’ve had a reasonable amount of experience with a young child, you know music is magic. The right song can soothe, distract, and cheer up an irate toddler as well if not better than a cuddly puppy, a chocolate ice cream sundae, or even a chocolate ice cream sundae shaped like a cuddly puppy. A song also usually won’t result in a brown stain on your living room rug; the same can’t be said for the sundae or the puppy.
Personally, I’ve come to rely on the earworm chorus of Iggy Azalea’s “I’m So Fancy” to pacify my squirming toddler during diaper changes, and I turn on Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” in the car to halt the whining of my impatient 3-year-old. (Please take a moment to pause in awe of my success in cultivating such sophisticated, high-brow musical tastes in my children. Mozart, shmozart … only the best for my little darlings!)
So it made perfect sense when I read that DAME magazine executive editor Kera Bolonik discovered that playing the music video for the 2010 Justin Bieber hit “Baby” coaxed Theo, her reluctant toddler, to eat. Apparently, the dulcet tones of the Biebs singing “I was like baby, baby, baby, oh” and other Byronesque verses invigorated little Theo’s appetite for scrambled eggs and yogurt.
Bolonik’s story, published in New York Magazine, wouldn’t have been a story at all if it just ended there. You see, Theo’s meal refusals didn’t just stem from his natural toddler stubbornness. He had been suffering from a mysterious illness that not only wreaked havoc on his eating habits but caused frightening seizures. It took firing his pediatrician, a trip to the emergency room, seeking a second opinion and many, many tests to figure out what was really going on and what was necessary to give Theo a chance at a normal life. Do yourself a favor and read Bolonik’s story here — every parent should, if only to understand the value of fighting for your child when one pediatrician is dismissive.
But as a quick Google search will show you, a number of media outlets are now writing about and linking back to Bolonik’s story for one Beliebable (sorry) reason — the role that the pop star’s catchy tune played in Theo’s struggle. No surprise there. In our pop culture-obsessed world, including a major celebrity’s name prominently in your story can increase the number of eyeballs on your piece exponentially. Did I mention my tot loves Iggy Azalea?
New York Magazine‘s editors, assuming they penned the headline, were also no slouches in this respect, putting Bieber’s name front and center with the head, “How Justin Bieber Saved This Kid.” Fortunately, Bieber is more than just click-bait here and the best anecdote in Bolonik’s piece is about an impromptu singalong with hospital staff. I won’t do justice summarizing it here, so again, please read the piece.
Bieber himself, despite his robust presence on Twitter and Instagram, has yet to share with his followers his own thoughts on Bolonik’s “Baby” appreciation, which is rather curious because between his run-ins with the law, disastrous forays into racial humor, and thousands clamoring for his deportation, he could use all the positive press he could get.
And there might be even more good news for Justin.
It’s possible that more parents, whether their children are sick or well, might try playing “Baby” for their kids after reading Bolonik’s quickly spreading story. When it comes to chaotic diaper changes, I’m certainly not ruling it out because there’s only so much fancying my brain can take. No offense, Iggy.
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