Tuesdays with Murray (Chapter 27)

Over the holiday, Emory spent a lot of time napping in his crib. Usually, we’ll let him nap around us, but the holidays around the house were busy and therefore loud. So, we hooked up the Graco monitoring system and put him to bed in his crib.

Whenever Emory naps in his crib, I’ll usually take the microphone and place it in the far, bottom right hand corner of his crib. That way, I know that chances are I will hear his sounds only. You see, living in a city like Brooklyn, where people are right on top of one another, it’s not uncommon to hear another baby’s cries. To avoid such a thing, we put it close to him but not so close that he’s right on top of it.

The projector is put in our living room, which is off of our bedroom, which is off of his bedroom. It amplifies throughout our entire, railroad apartment. It’s kind of funny, really because not only can you hear the trucks barrel down the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway (BQE) live but you get an amplification of such as well. I often hear my mother’s voice, “When you guys were babies, you were up stairs, on the other side of the house. I used to listen for you from time to time from the foot of the stairs, but that’s about it.”

(These devices we buy now, I think they add to an overall feeling of anxiety, perpetuate worry. We may say they make us feel better, we may even believe it, but I think some of us spend more time questioning if it’s working or not, checking it every five seconds to see if the red lights are flashing. I guess I just don’t fully trust it. But without this particular piece of baby equipment, this story couldn’t be told.)

One day, TJ and I were doing some cooking and baking. We were in the kitchen, which is at the very back of the apartment. I mentioned before that we live in a railroad. I’m not sure if this term is used outside of Brooklyn. I imagine that it is, but I hadn’t ever heard of it before moving here. Maybe that’s because so many Brooklyn apartments are considered railroad apartments. But if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s basically an apartment where all the rooms train one right after another, hence the name. It’s great for fooling a tenant into thinking the place is bigger than it really is. It sucks if you want to hide a litter box. It also means the middle rooms are very dark, dreary even.

I had just put the cookies in the oven when I heard a noise. It was a strange noise, new to me entirely. It sounded like a motor, like someone was distantly hammering into pavement, only it wasn’t a sound I’d describe as annoying, not at all. I stood in the living room and tried to figure out what it could be. That’s when I realized that the sound wasn’t coming from outside at all. It was only coming in through the monitor. It must be some sort of interference, I concluded. But I decided to check on the baby anyway.

I walked through the rest of the apartment and the sound all but diminished. I peaked into his room. Emory was sound asleep as was Murray. Murray was not only in the crib with Emory, but he was on top of the microphone. The sound I heard was his amplified and insanely loud, and amazingly soothing purr. I now know what an Emory must have experienced every time Murray slept on my belly and he was still in the womb. (Picture below does not show the scenario described. It’s just a picture of Murray snuggling with Emory on the couch.)

I think we might move closer to world peace if we could figure out a way to project a purr so that everyone could hear it. It’s one of the most soothing sounds on planet Earth.


  1. I totally agree! My favorite is the sound and sensation of the purr – like when my cat cuddles right up to me and her rib cage is against mine. What a comforting feeling.

    World peace through purrs. I love it!


  2. Murray for President! Purrs for Peace!

    I love Murray and how cute he is. I just want to cuddle him and listen to him purr.


  3. Caught up after Christmas!

    a – I agree with you that breaks from the internet are nice. I get all high and mighty about not having tv, but then here I fill my time with internetting. I think, like anything – it’s good in moderation, too much will hurt you, and it’s hard to know what’s too much!

    b – On your political post – I didn’t read the comments. All I have to say on that is this: the day I get people all up in arms and in a twit about something I post is the day I am a SUCCESS in blogland! Contentious comments are the hallmark of popularity! You go! And, your point was very interesting, too.

    c – Emory is the prettiest damn baby

    d – My cat purrs on my pregnant belly right now sometimes, and I love knowing that the baby can hear it. Also? In the South we call them shotgun apartments/houses, because you could stand at the front door and shoot straight out the back door.


  4. Oh my god! I love the term “shotgun apartment!” So much better than railroad.


  5. Thanks for defining the terms “railroad apartment” and “shotgun house” (in the comments). I’ve heard the terms but never really understood what they were until now!


  6. Adorable picture and story. The whole time I was a nanny I didn’t use baby monitors (at the request of the parents, who didn’t want anything electronic up-close-and-personal with their kids 24/7). It was a big house, but still, if the baby (who was actually fifteen months) needed me THAT SECOND I could hear her. If not, she’d survive the ten minutes it took me to wash the rest of the dishes before hearing her.


  7. That’s good to hear. That was one item we received that I could have done without. We don’t use it at all at night and I barely use it during the day unless we’re running around and making a lot of noise elsewhere.

    Speaking of baby things we are giving up entirely because of safety: plastic anything. We just purchased “Born Free” bottles. I have a post in the works about this. I hope that I don’t get a bunch of eye-rolls. :]

    I’m assuming that’s why they didn’t want electronics right next to the baby, right? Tell me more, Jamie.


  8. Yup, in St. Louis it’s shotgun as well. When I was little, I thought it meant that only rednecks who kept shotguns lying around would live in such a house. I was disabused of that notion.


  9. I agree about the monitors. I only cling to them b/c we’re renting a three-story rowhouse and the baby’s room is on the top floor (though we did have them in our one-story flat in London). But I’ve learned to sleep with the monitor turned down low on the other side of the room with only the “voice activated” feature on. Otherwise, I’d spend all day and night running up and down the stairs at every grunt and giggle!

    By the way, we use the Born Free (plastic) bottles as well and really like them. It took her a little while to get used to them but now she takes to them like a champ!


  10. We were using glass and it wasn’t working out because the nipple holes were either too wide (without cereal) or too small (with cereal). We tried the whole widening trick and it didn’t work out so well. So, we ordered Born Free. Great bottles. So far, he’s very pleased.

    I wish Born Free was more known. It doesn’t seem to be a known brand. I worry that people aren’t aware of BPA as much as they should be. Ah well. Derailing my own Murray post! OOps.


  11. That is so true. I cant tell you how many hours i can spend just putting my face in my cat’s belly so I can be engulfed w/ his purring. My first dog really confused me – she didn’t purr. How was I to know if she was happy and content? Took me like 2 years to get used to lack of purr. Yay for McCain winning in New Hampshire!!! I would have voted for him over Kerry, had I had the chance. Boo for Obama not winning (yet – hehe), though he is damn close. Now i will read the other comments :)


  12. I, too, know of them as shotgun. Don’t think it’s particularly Canadian – maybe I read about them in a novel that took place in the South?

    Love the purr. Instant bloodpressure reduction, peace and good mood. Love the Murray story – how wonderful.


  13. I enjoy your website and writing very much! I really look forward to new installments of Tuesday With Murray. I think that over time your stories would make a great collection of very touching tales of the unique relationship that you have with Murray. I hope that you may publish these posts as a book someday.

    I thought I would share with you a website that I came upon called “Purrcast”,


    The author posts podcasts of their cat’s deep and relaxing purring. The episodes can be listened at the website or downloaded as a podcast


  14. You know, yesterday I was walking up to the subway with Em. The wind was blowing a bit and I wondered if Emory was happy. My first thought was to check to see if he was purring.

    I have been a cat lady for so long, that’s how I check to see if a living thing is happy or not.

    Issues, dude.


  15. That boy is so wonderful I was trying to explain to Grace how awesome he is. She said he was a “tiny little baby. Such a cutie” and made a gesture with her hands about how small she thinks he is. We have a monitor that we bought once we moved into this house. Being able to get out side in the garden or on the deck and have the monitor is great. All on one floor in Greenpoint/burg near the BQE is a tough one which is why we did not buy one for the 1st year. I will use it with Segundo since his room is right next to Grace’s and I want to prevent her from waking up when he cries. I may cave and keep him in our room at first but, damn, I did not sleep at all when grace was in the co-sleeper next to me. I was too freaked out by all of the sounds she made and if they were healthy. Thank god I will be able to drink again.


  16. amazing! almost makes me want a cat again, and a baby. The geek in me wonders if emory will have stronger bones because of the effects of purring on bone density.


  17. Oh, Chandler, I love, love, love the geek in you. I love you as is, too. But that geek in you comes up with some pretty cool ideas.


  18. Just have to share one awesome thing about the baby monitor: This past summer, my sister still had it set up in my now 2.5 year old niece’s room and my niece was just to the point in using words where she was really getting chatty. So, often either before she goes to sleep or right when she wakes up, she’ll just chat away about her day and it’s so neat to hear. She’ll talk to her stuffed animals or if something big happened that day, like she got a new stuffed animal, she’ll say: “Blue Ellie” (elephant) over and over. Or, the best was when we were visiting and I heard her say, “Aunt Mer” several times. That was fun for me.

    One time recently, she wanted my sister to get her out of her crib from a nap and (she must know that the monitor is there), she started singing: “I love Mommy, I love Daddy, I love Grammie, I love Grampa” over and over. My sister was dying laughing!


  19. Mihow—Wanted to ask you about solid foods (speaking of cereal in Born Free bottles). When did you start and how? I am a bit clueless but the kid is clearly interested. She’ll be four months next week and though I know the pediatrician would rather we wait, I’m seriously thinking of starting her on them sooner.


  20. Working on a post about that as well. but who knows if I’ll ever get the time to finish it!

    We did start. It was easy. We purchased the organic rice cereal. Here. We added a little bit at first, now we add a bit more with two of his however many bottles per day. He gets more full, which is good for everyone.

    We have also started giving him some pears. (Organic as well.) He went nuts over the pears.


  21. That is a lovely story. I believe cats go where they are needed, especially to calm, soothe, love. Exceptions might be the assface I get while typing.

    I think I love Murray.

    And that photo of Emory? GET OUT! so cute.


  22. Mmmm, pears! I bet that was a hit. Looking forward to your post!


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