Sometimes Grandma really can save the day.
The other day when Jon was on the phone with his mom, and Laurel was – in a no nap state of post-dinner psychosis – running around the house screaming happily into a digital tuner (she just learned that the tuner reacts to her voice), Jon’s mom made an excellent suggestion: don’t squelch the self-expression, just contain it in a can.
It’s almost embarrassing that I (what with the fancy training in acoustics and auditory perception…) didn’t think of this and it worked like a dream. In this instance, we dumped out a cylinder of blocks, tossed the metronome into it, and told Laurel to try yelling into the can to see if she could make the tuner blink (shown). Everybody won. Laurel got to get the craziness out of her system (and subsequently exhausted herself into a quick slumber that night), the painful sensation in our ears was alleviated, and we were able to avoid the tired (and usually ineffective) flat out “no.”