The Amazing Bugaboo


March 20, 2008 by Marj Hatzell

Bugaboo has always had a propensity for music.  He recognizes songs by just a few notes and listens to certain types of music quite intently.  Lately, due to the very-expensive-private-therapy, he has been hooked on Gregorian Chant.  This time around, he is developing a taste for Mozart. Which thrills me, since I am really, really, REALLY sick of singing the wheels on the bus.  Now I can put iTunes on and press play and perhaps relax while he listens.

Now, Bugaboo and Mozart go way back.  Bugaboo used to have this musical stacking toy that played smart baby music (as if).  If you push the top of the toy, it has flashy lights in time with classical music.  The most awesomely over-stimulating toy for an autistic child ever.  When my mother finally convinced me to take THE PIANO, I relented because I knew how much Bugaboo enjoyed it.  The movers barely got that sucker in the door before my boy wonder was gently pressing the keys.  He never bangs on it, although sometimes he plays it with his rear end (didn’t we all?).  Bugaboo would sit on the bench of THE PIANO with his musical stacker, pressing the top and seemingly listening intently. Then he would gently play THE PIANO keys. Then he’d press the stacker again. Then he’d play the keys. We were convinced he was trying to play the song on the stacker.

Now, this is a boy who comes running because he recognizes the music on the Weather Channel (which, hello, weather channel people?  It sounds like porno music. You gotta do something about that, mmkay?).  I am not sure how much off a musical genius he is, but he currently hums and sings snippets of songs. It took us forever to figure out that the sing-songy, echolalic humming and babbling he does (like, all he does is sing and hum) was ACTUAL MUSIC. As in, he was repeating what he had heard.

So here we are, months and months later.  Bugaboo doesn’t really repeat anything verbal.  But he repeats snippets of songs (or at least, the correct amount of syllables for that part of the song).  Monday I took the kids (all of them, as in, my two and the extra three) to the book store and as we stood in line, Bugaboo hummed and ‘sang’.   As we approached the register, the cashier gasped and said, “Excuse me, but is he singing the Magic Flute?  You know, the aria from the magic flute?  It goes like this…” and she proceeded to sing it (you know, most of the people who work in that particular store are a TEENSY bit peculiar. And by TEENSY bit, I mean, A WHOLE HECK OF ALOT).  Bugaboo stopped his singing and tilted his head to the side and listened, drawn in. I politely smiled, we purchased our books and left.

The next morning, while Bugaboo finished up his therapy for the day, I conferred with one of the therapists regarding his progress.  As she wrapped up her comments, I said, “I just had one more question.  What music was he listening to yesterday?  Just out of curiousity?”  And she looked at his log sheets and responded, “Um. Gregorian Chant, Mozart.  Oh, yeah, he listened to selections from the Magic Flute.”

No freakin’ way.  You don’t say.

Needless to say, I was floored. I related this to Darling, he said, “I’ll be darned.”  (Except he didn’t say  darned. He said another word that a nice girl like me won’t say on one of the holiest days of the holiest weeks of the year. )

So, do I have some kind of musical prodigy on my hands or what?  Weird, wild stuff.   Now, he has to sit down at THE PIANO and start playing the flipping Magic Flute, so I can get him on OPRAH and put that money away in his savings account.  And maybe pay for more of this therapy so he can learn Verdi.

7 thoughts on “The Amazing Bugaboo

  1. Cryssyer says:


  2. The wheels on the bus go round and round…

    Just kidding! That’s great news for Bugaboo. I hope he continues to thrive in his therapy.

  3. RuthWells says:

    The music thing is big in our house, too. Both my boys have Asbergers, but it is the elder who can repeat back music to you after having heard it only once. And by “repeat back”, I mean sing the whole damn thing, not just the melody — he hears (and retains) all of the accompaniment and counterpoint, as well.

    It is a wonderful gift.

  4. nutmeg says:

    Wow! I’ve heard of autistic children being deeply connected to music. It’s fascinating. You must be wondering how far he’ll go on the wings of such a gift.

  5. That’s so interesting. I can’t wait to see him on Oprah!

  6. SirO says:

    I’ll be in touch, DG. I’ve got some of the Mozart, too.

    Requiem is excellent, so are the symphonies. Of course, really any Mozart doesn’t suck. 🙂

  7. hgspot says:

    That is awesome. And fascinating.

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