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Lullaby, and Goodnight…

Feb16

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bounce_back_lullaby.png
Illustration by Secret Agent Josephine

After Noah was born, I realized that I didn’t know any lullabies. Or at least, not that many. I knew the first verse to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, none of the actual words to Brahm’s, and always got thrown after a few lines of Hush Little Baby. Billy goat? Horse and cart? Cart and bull? WHO IS DOING THIS SHOPPING?

I remember Googling around for song ideas and lyrics and being absolutely SHOCKED to learn that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star shares its melody with both the alphabet song AND Baa Baa Black Sheep. Like, I called my husband to tell him this. Right then. On the phone. Because seriously, can you believe it? Can you believe we’ve gone our entire collective lives without noticing that? Don’t you feel kind of betrayed?

He didn’t, but whatever. It was a very big moment for me at the time, though.

Later, I was doing other important things online (reading blogs) and discovered that a lot of new mothers just made songs up for their babies. Or sang stuff like…The Beatles. Real music. Or other actual non-lullaby songs. I tried making up lyrics for Noah, but mostly ended up doing a Randy-Newman-like take on Twinkle Twinkle, essentially narrating whatever it was we were doing, or singing about crap I saw in the room.

A typical attempt:
Rocking, rocking, rocking…horse.
That is not safe for you to ride of course.
I sure wish that you would sleep,
Go to bed and not make a peep.
Rocking, rocking, rocking…chair.
I am tired and losing my hair.

And if that wasn’t weird enough, every time I tried to think of a “real” song to sing, the only one I could think of was — inexplicably — Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. I didn’t really know most of those lyrics either, but once Copacabana pops into your head, there is absolutely nothing else you can think of to sing. So I would.

By the time Ezra arrived, my skills had improved somewhat. I was at least familiar with a few more children’s songs, and I got pretty good at creating verses to my own original composition of High-Maintenance Baby.

But you know what? His favorite song was the same as his brother’s. Every night I would nurse and rock and sing. I’d hum Brahm’s, muddle through Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and then finally give up and break out the big guns: Her name was LOLA. She was a SHOWGIRL.

Your turn: What ridiculous thing do you sing to your baby?

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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74 Responses to “Lullaby, and Goodnight…”

  1. Christi Feb 16 at 10:29 am Reply Reply

    Don’t forget the Alphabet Song. Same tune as Twinkle and Baa Baa. At 2 weeks post-partum I thought I was a GENIUS when I figured this out. Yeah.
    I actually seem to naturally go into showtunes and old Girl Scout songs. And Muppet songs (Rainbow Connection, anyone?) But the strangest thing I ever found myself singing to Widget was “Creep” by Radiohead. My husband? The Imperial March from Star Wars. (baby’s gone to the Dark Side!)
    Kidlet’s current favorite is “Me and My Dinosaur” which I learned when I was five or six. http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs5/S5_26.htm

  2. TheSpectrum Feb 16 at 11:08 am Reply Reply

    I am not a mom but a nanny of twin boys. When they were little, I too discovered that the melody was the same to Baa Baa, Twinkle Twinkle and, I believe, the ABC song. The twins preferred a medley of all three, sung in the correct order, every single night.
    And if they still weren’t asleep after a few rounds of that, I busted into Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” inexplicably followed by “One Fine Day” by Carole King.
    ?? No idea. BUT IT WORKED.

  3. Bliz Feb 16 at 11:12 am Reply Reply

    As a nanny, my favorite “lullaby” to sing was “I’m So Tired” by the Beatles– it has a nice slow, soft tune and an apt theme. I always felt a twinge of guilt when I got to the “I’ll have another cigarette” part, but hey, his parents have years to undo that damage.

  4. beth Feb 16 at 11:38 am Reply Reply

    I LOVED making up songs for Bruno and I’d usually sing them to distract him from crying and it usually worked.
    In the car I’d sing variations on this song:
    Who’s got the cutest little face on a baby that I’ve ever seen?
    Bruno’s got the cutest little face on a baby that I’ve ever seen. (changing the adj and noun every time around softest cheeks, cubbyiest thighs, sweetest face, etc)
    Or a call and response where I sang both parts:
    Who’s the cutest baby? It’s Bruno!
    (a little lower) – Who’s the cutest Baby? It’s Bruno!
    (A little higher) – Who’s the cutest baby? It’s Bruno
    (In a bellow) – BRUNO REX IS!!!
    On the changing table:
    I’m gonna change your diaper, OK? OK!
    I’m gonna change your diaper, OK? OK!
    I’m gonna change your diaper, OK? OK!
    I’m gonna change your diaper! OK!
    That one had sort of an up beat carnival theme. It also works with any task that you have to do around the house and want your baby to still hear you.
    I also sang through every Beatles song I could think of which was mostly the very early stuff and the later abbey road/Let It Be stuff.
    It was my favorite part of the early days. It was also a good way to just keep taking to him cause that’s like SOOOoooOOOoooOOO important and I always felt kinda stupid just narrating our every action.
    Now he doesn’t need so much distraction from crying and he’s too aware for that kind of thing to even work when he is upset. I still bust out the diaper song every now and then, though.
    (I also used High Maintenance Baby once or twice cause that’s just gold. And from there I would go to On Top of Spaghetti).

  5. Dawn Feb 16 at 11:51 am Reply Reply

    Oh, I have quite a medley myself that I started when my daughter was born 3 years ago: 2 songs from ‘Mary Poppins’ (Stay awake/don’t rest your head and Feed the Birds), Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Hush Little Baby (though I’m lost after the billy goat part) and ended with ‘Rock a Bye Baby. She still loves Rock a Bye Baby for some reason….
    My son gets some ‘new’ ones added into the mix: Sha-na-na’s ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and New Edition’s ‘Earth Angel’. Both of which are in my range so hey! He seems to enjoy it. I’m sure my husband gets some good laughs out of this hearing my ‘singing’ over the monitor….

  6. All of the singing I’ve done with my daughter has been varieties of Will Ferrell’s song to James Caan in “Elf.”
    I’m your mooooom, and I’m singING, and I love youuuuuu, and I’m siiiiinging! Now we’re putting on the diaper and you’re so cuuuuute and I’m singiiiing!
    All of course, paired with my soooo out of tune voice.
    True love is seeing that little girl smile up at me, despite my inability to sing her a proper lullaby.

  7. Olivia Feb 16 at 12:00 pm Reply Reply

    So far I fall back on a few songs I learned in Pioneer Girls (think Girls Scouts crossed w/ bible study). There is “A Daisy on My Toe”, “My Tall Silk Hat”, and the one that always gets a giggle because of the tone it is sung in is “A Prune Song”.
    Ahem: (chorus, sung really fast) “Nooo matter how young a prune may be he’s always full of wrinkles. (slower pace) A baby prune’s just like his daaad, only he’s not wrinkled half sooo baaad.
    (chorus)
    (hold fist to your eye and peek thru, in squeeky voice) Leetle seed in side the pru-in, is it night or is it nu-in. What chya doin, leetle seed inside the pru-in?”
    (chorus)
    I save this song for diaper changes when she’s being fussy. Snaps her out of it almost every time.

  8. Jess Feb 16 at 12:04 pm Reply Reply

    I sing in a Celtic band. I drag my kids to see other folk musicians, too. One time one of the band asked for requests. My 2 yr old offered up “Twinkle Twinkle.” They obligingly played it. Ellie’s second request was “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” They laughed and played the same song again. Then they preempted her next request and said “This next one’s for Ellie – The Alphabet Song.” She was in heaven.
    As far as what I sing? Any music that I’m currently performing – it’s extra rehearsal time…which is fine usually, but the Irish drinking songs? Whoops.

  9. becky Feb 16 at 12:14 pm Reply Reply

    My 2 year old’s favorite song since birth is Sweet Adeline by Weezer. Its a barber shop style song and its the only thing I know all the words to without hearing the music.

  10. Dana Feb 16 at 12:15 pm Reply Reply

    Big Rock Candy Mountain…the hobo version, not the sweet Lisa Loeb version. My now 3 year old sings, “With the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees…”

  11. Jessicawp Feb 16 at 12:30 pm Reply Reply

    I didn’t really do lullabies but I do sing goofy songs to real tunes for Finn.
    To the tune of the Be Aggressive cheer from 8th grade soccer:
    Finn! Finntastic!
    Finn Finn Finntastic!
    F I N N T A S T I C
    Finntastic!!!!
    Two bath tub songs:
    to the 50s tune
    splish splash Finn is taking a bath
    with his mommy on a _____ night
    rub a dub he is chunky in the tub
    laughing and having a good time.
    To Brass Monkey by the Beastie Boys
    splash monkey
    chunky monkey
    (repeat)
    And now everyone knows what a huge dork I am.

  12. Courtney Feb 16 at 12:34 pm Reply Reply

    Yellow Submarine! This was the only song I could remember all the lyrics to offhand, and my son loves it. It was the first thing I sang that actually made him smile (!) and confirmed that he is a Beatles fan, which is awesome. Lately I’ve been singing the Talking Heads’ “Nothing But Flowers,” and Big Rock Candy Mountain. Neither of which I know all the words to. Sometimes I look them up online and sing to him while I read them off my laptop, because I hate trailing off in the middle of a verse even though he doesn’t care at all. Or notice.

  13. Kim Feb 16 at 12:41 pm Reply Reply

    Ohhhh, I sing lots of ridiculous things to my baby. I sing and play bass in a bluegrass band, so I try to use our nightly walk and sing time to memorize/practice lyrics. I sing songs about killing your lover because she won’t marry you, miners dying underground, cheating lovers, drinking, whoring, gambling, etc. Poor kid is going to have some serious issues some day… but he’ll have great taste in music!

  14. Janice Feb 16 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    We sing “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, “Low Rider” by War and “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beetles. That last one sprung from a sun shaped musical toy he has that plays that song.
    Basically babies love anything with a good beat to it, or fun noises in the middle (like the fast notes refrain parts in Low Rider and Safety Dance).
    We get laughed at when we start singing these to him (especially Low Rider), but then people see him break out into a HUGE grin and they smile along with us all :)

  15. Anna Feb 16 at 12:53 pm Reply Reply

    I had the same revelation when my daughter was born – just another consequence of never being around babies until I decided to have one. So while I didn’t know any lullabies or child-appropriate songs at all, I did know a lot of TV theme songs. So she got a lot of WKRP in Cincinnati, Brady Bunch, and Facts of Life.

  16. Nicole Feb 16 at 12:53 pm Reply Reply

    Shook me all night long
    Really.

  17. Courtney Feb 16 at 12:55 pm Reply Reply

    I just remembered the other song I sing, to the tune of the Spiderman theme song:
    Stinkerpants, stinkerpants
    does whatever a stinkerpants does
    will he ever take a nap?
    no, he won’t, he’s a stinkerpants
    look out . . . he is a stinkerpants
    This works for lots of other stuff – will he eat some solid food? does he want to talk a walk? I think I mostly love it because it reminds me of Spiderpig from the Simpsons movie.

  18. LoisandHi Feb 16 at 12:59 pm Reply Reply

    Every night, I start off with “I’ve Just Seen a Face” by the Beatles, then go into “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel (it’s my daughter’s name), and end with a lullaby (“Go to sleeeeeep, go to sleeeeeep, go to sleep little baby…”).

  19. Amy Feb 16 at 1:15 pm Reply Reply

    In the early days of nursing when I knew no songs I made this up, and still sing it:
    Yummy, yummy, yummy I got milk in my tummy, now I don’t have to cry.
    Yummy, yummy, yummy I got milk in my tummy, I like it & I don’t know why.
    We like milk cause it’s good for us.
    We like milk cause it’s got what we need.
    We like milk cause we like to fuss.
    We like milk so we’ll grow indeed.
    Yummy, yummy, yummy I got milk in my tummy, now I don’t have to cry.
    I also sang the alphabet a lot, which made for a 21 mo. old that could sing her ABC’s! Her favorite evolved into Row, Row Your Boat, but only after a book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes got to be the popular reading choice.

  20. kate Feb 16 at 1:51 pm Reply Reply

    “The Cow and the Elephant.” It’s the only surefire song that will always (and hopefully forever) make my baby happy while he’s riding in his carseat with no one else to entertain him. And it includes animal noises…so, yay!
    Here’s how it goes,
    “The cow and the elephant and the __ (insert animal), went down the river on a __ __ __(insert 3-syllable object that rhymes with above animal name). The cow said “moo” and the __ (animal from above) said “(insert sound)” and the elephant sang along “tra la.”
    For example:
    The cow and the elephant and the dog /
    went down the river on a great big log. /
    The cow said moo and the dog said woof and the elephant sang along. Tra la!

  21. Di Feb 16 at 1:58 pm Reply Reply

    What currently works is a recitation of “Hippos Go Berserk,” which tends to make him annoyed because he knows he’s going to bed, but then I launch into “Maxwell Silver Hammer” and he puts his head on my shoulder and drifts off. I don’t know if I should be worried, but I tend to gloss over the words “dead” and “head.” Yikes.

  22. Bekki Feb 16 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    When the twins were born, the only two songs I knew all the words to when I was half asleep and it was 2 am were “Istanbul, Not Constantinople” and “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants. I sang those a lot. My husband busted out some of the slower Nine Inch Nails.
    Now I’m kind of stuck on 5 Little Monkeys and the Ladybug Picnic.

  23. Caitlyn Feb 16 at 2:36 pm Reply Reply

    I’m making a distinct effort to sing “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus” at least once a day. No idea why, really. Once that is done, I try to think of something else, and the only thing that comes to mind is “So What” by Pink. Which must make for an odd combination.
    At least it’s better than “Angel is the Centerfold”

  24. Jenny Feb 16 at 2:40 pm Reply Reply

    Every night my mom would stand in the hall between my brother’s and my room and sing us some songs, but she always ended with a version of “Sunrise, Sunset”. We didn’t have a clue it was from Fiddler on the Roof, the lyrics were so perfect we thought she made it up for us! Imagine my shock when in JUNIOR HIGH (I kid you not) she took us to see Fiddler and I exclaimed (too loudly) “MOM, they’re singing YOUR SONG!?” Many years later I chose this song to be played as my mother and mother-in-law were escorted into our wedding ceremony :)

  25. NikMama Feb 16 at 2:47 pm Reply Reply

    I thought I was the only one who JUST realized that Twinkle Twinkle and the ABCs song were the same melody!! So those are the only lullabies I sing to my son because I know the words. Oh, I also sing the “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston and I know I sound terrible, but I love that song and the message.
    I could sing anything and he will smile. One of the best things about being a parent!

  26. Mama2ETC Feb 16 at 2:51 pm Reply Reply

    “You Are My Sunshine”, “Coat of Many Colors” and “Love Potion No. 9″ were standards. I seemed to gravitate towards favorite songs from my own childhood, which I guess I remembered better than any others. I also liked “You’re So Vain” and “Witch Doctor, and I even had my own Barry Manilow, “Can’t Smile Without You”. Also, with each child I added songs that fit them… “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” for my very bouncy son, and made up words to “Macarena” for my daughter, whose name sounds similar. And a heavy dose of songs from Sesame Street and They Might be Giants. Eclectic, but it worked!

  27. becky Feb 16 at 2:57 pm Reply Reply

    My 2 year old’s favorite song since birth is Sweet Adeline by Weezer. Its a barber shop style song and its the only thing I know all the words to without hearing the music.

  28. Lynnette Feb 16 at 3:12 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, I knew that those songs shared a common melody from being in music school. I also added a made-up version that uses Baby Girl’s name. I sing all four in a row, then onto the girlie’s favorite, Rainbow Connection. She’s also a fan of the Yogi Bear theme song, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rap. Really, she’ll stop whatever she’s prattling on about if I start singing. I just wish I could remember more songs that don’t have high notes in them. Soprano arias can be jarring at bedtime.

  29. tami Feb 16 at 3:16 pm Reply Reply

    i sing sweet child o’ mine by guns n roses :)
    its really a sweet song and perfect for a baby.

  30. Cobblestone Feb 16 at 3:46 pm Reply Reply

    I stuck with the alphabet song in 3 verses (prepare to have your geek brain BLOWN!)
    Verse 1 – standard
    Verse 2 – sign language (WHA?? Mom is using her fingers!!???)
    Verse 3 – sounds. Ah, Baa, cuk, duh, eh, fff,gua etc. X is tough.
    If Mister is around he’ll do the big finale and sing in backwards!

  31. Francesca Feb 16 at 4:10 pm Reply Reply

    My mom sang me beautiful irish lullabies when I was little. I sing Liz Phair songs to my kids- they are the only ones I know the words to.

  32. holli Feb 16 at 4:44 pm Reply Reply

    For whatever reason, when my daughter was a newborn, I started singing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to her in desperation one night. (The George Michael/Elton John live version, complete with “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!” in a faux-Brit accent.) It worked, and since then she hears it fairly frequently.
    Once, in a pinch, I sang her a slow version of “Hey Ya!”
    And I also make up songs as we go about our day… this morning it was “Mommy does not want to go to workkkkkk, no no no.”

  33. Maria Feb 16 at 4:53 pm Reply Reply

    Poor Jakob! Most of the time he gets, “Ohhhhh, Jakey… Jakey Jakey Jakey…. Ohhhhh, Jakey, Jakey I love yoooooou”. Original, yes? Although if there’s ever anything funny that pops into my head, he’ll get that too.

  34. Melanie Feb 16 at 5:02 pm Reply Reply

    Okay I’m not a mom, but I read your blog and the advice smackdown and hope to someday, in the not-so-distant-as-soon-as-I-can-convince-my-husband-we’re-ready future, hope to be a mommy. My mom ran a home daycare growing up, I worked in a daycare during summers and breaks from college, and I have 12 neices and nephews… so I’m not without experience.
    Anyway, my go-to when it comes to lullabies is what my family calls the apple song. It simly goes “apple apple a a a. baby baby b b b” (making the noise not the letter). You don’t have to know any words because any two-syllable word works and it’s so repetative that knocks even the worst fighter out.

  35. Emily Feb 16 at 5:19 pm Reply Reply

    My husband and I basically sing everything to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.” Somedays it’s “You’ve got poopies in your pants, yes you do, yee haw!” Our son laughs and claps, and it’s pretty cute. However, at bedtime the little kiddo has his own song, which I made up one night when I was beyond exhausted. It’s no special tune, but each night Rusty knows that when we sing, it’s time to get in his crib. We sing about everything, and I must admit, that my husband and I use it as a way to get each other to laugh. Who ever guessed the alphabet song could be made innappropriate for toddlers, but HUGELY appropriate for moms and dads?!

  36. Danielle Feb 16 at 5:27 pm Reply Reply

    Our little boy is named Danny, so of course, “Danny Says” by the Ramones — his first and favorite lullabye. He also likes musicals, particularly “Hairspray,” so “Good Morning Baltimore!” is a favorite in our house.

  37. Lady N Feb 16 at 5:33 pm Reply Reply

    Mana Mana! Doo Doo Do Doo Doo.
    No lyrics necessary. Baby loves the bouncing on “Mana Mana” and chortles knowing it’s coming.

  38. deborah Feb 16 at 5:58 pm Reply Reply

    because I am well and truly a disturbed individual, I started modifying club songs with my lab rats- Press That (the lever) to the tune of “smack that”…then moved on to my dog-stupid furry dog, poops on the floor (think apple bottom jeans) and finally my infant son with “all the single babies”. I think weird al stole my life’s calling.

  39. beccado Feb 16 at 6:05 pm Reply Reply

    the big head scratcher for us is “on top of spaghetti”, yes, the meatball song. if my son is upset or crying, that song calms him down immediately. it’s so bizarre, but it always works, so my husband and I keep singing it.
    the other weird thing (and more than a little embarrassing) is that we used to rap while burping him. He had reflux, so we always wanted to burp him really well in an effort to minimize the subsequent puking. And we made up our own lyrics to Baby Got Back. It went something like “I like big burps and I cannot lie. You other babies can’t deny…When the milk goes down with a lot of air, you gotta get it outta there” Eat your heart out Sir Mix-a-lot!

  40. Jenn Feb 16 at 6:23 pm Reply Reply

    My Munchkin is One now, and I still don’t know any baby-appropriate songs. I sing him Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants, Hang On Sloopy by the McCoys and Louie, Louie – complete with a dance move he finds hilarious.

  41. Kalena Feb 16 at 6:53 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with Christi on Rainbow connection – it’s the only one I can reliably remember all the words to, and has become our “sleepytime” song.
    My husband’s standby – The Gambler. My kid will know when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away, and when to run.

  42. Liz Feb 16 at 7:20 pm Reply Reply

    I like the slowness of Iron and Wine for nighttime rocking. Otherwise, I just make up my own words to short tunes I can think of on a moments notice…and “Blackbird” by the Beatles is always a favorite.

  43. Bethany Feb 16 at 7:48 pm Reply Reply

    I have a playlist on my iTunes dedicated to my son. We bring the laptop along and since lullabies right along with the music. It currently consists of Katherine McPhee’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Rainbow Connection, Regina Spektor’s Samson, some mellow John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson, Billy Joel’s lullaby, plus the Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner album. He loves it all. Our favorite non-bedtime song is Say Hey, I Love You. We have a daily dance party to that one.

  44. Kate Feb 16 at 8:03 pm Reply Reply

    Uh…Christmas carols. On the bad nights after I’d run out of lullabies, they were the only songs I could think of that I knew all the words to…
    So “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was a mainstay. In July.
    Whatever. He didn’t know.

  45. Elizabeth Feb 16 at 8:46 pm Reply Reply

    My older son loved a rousing rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” My younger son, now 7 months, adores “Gitchee Gitchee Goo” from the show “Phineas and Ferb.” No matter how unhappy he is, if I sing that song, he stops crying and grins. It’s like magic.

  46. Karen Feb 16 at 9:16 pm Reply Reply

    YES! This post is completely me, except my oddly inappropriate song that pops in my head is “There are worse things I could do”, from Grease. Good thing I didn’t have a little girl!
    I do love “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins, as well.

  47. Kimberly Feb 16 at 9:31 pm Reply Reply

    This is great! Our favorite is Peter Paul and Mary’s If I Had a Hammer. We also enjoy Simon and Garfunkel, the Sound of Music, Paul Simon, and the occasional patriot song.

  48. Heather Ann Feb 17 at 8:49 am Reply Reply

    My bonny likes over the ocean…my puppy lies over the ocean…my kitty lies over the ocean – you get the picture.
    http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/m033.html
    Oh, they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue… complete with
    what a lousy piece of junk
    amen, the end
    made in Japan
    which I feel I shouldn’t sing, but it was how I learned the song and it seems incomplete without that ending. Of course, it doesn’t make any sense because Japanese products are not crap. Sigh.
    I also sing a rousing rendition of Farewell to Nova Scotia. We’re all about the sea over here!

  49. Stefanie Feb 17 at 10:01 am Reply Reply

    I realized the same thing with my daughter. I also can’t remember the way any child’s stories go. One night I tried to tell her “Little Red Riding Hood” and got as far as “Once upon a time there was a little girl with a red hood…” before I realized that I knew the beginning and end but not he middle.
    My daughter’s favorite soothe-to-sleep song is “Closer” by Joshua Radin. At his concerts he always talks about how his friends use his music to make their kids fall asleep, and out of desperation one night I tried it. Worked like a charm and now when she’s upset I sing it in her ear while I hold her close, and she’s out.
    For playtime we sing “Wheels on the Bus” while I wave her little arms and legs around. I can only remember the verses about the wheels and the wipers, so we sing them over and over again. Also, I’m glad we’re not the only ones who have made up new lyrics to “Baby got Back”.

  50. Michelle Feb 17 at 10:32 am Reply Reply

    “All the Single Babies” (Single Ladies)and “Did you Poop In Your Pants?” (J*** in My Pants) are favorites at our house. We also do variations on “Who Wants a Clean Butt?” sung to the Clean House trill by Niecy.

  51. Amy in StL Feb 17 at 10:47 am Reply Reply

    One of my first memories is of my dad holding me and singing The Irish Lullaby (Tu ra lu ra lu ra) He’d sing a verse then hum then sing. I have no idea where he learned that since I’m his only child and his mother was Swiss.

  52. Rhia Feb 17 at 12:07 pm Reply Reply

    We used to do a medly of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, Jan Arden’s “Good Mother” then the Beatles’ “Goodnight” and “Golden Slumbers” with the Weakerthan’s “Plea from a Cat Named Virtute” thrown in now and again.
    Christmas time there was a lot of Twelve Days because he was NOT NAPPING.
    These days he usually conks out nursing and gets one round of “Goodnight” to make sure he’s good and done so I can put him down, but if he won’t settle then “Daisy Daisy” is good big guns.
    Wow, I had a lot to say about that.

  53. Lindsay Feb 17 at 1:08 pm Reply Reply

    I sing what my hubby and I call “The Boobie Song” to our little guy:
    You love the boobie
    it makes you happy
    it has the warm milk
    that fills your belly
    and makes you chunky
    just like a monkey.
    Dumb, I know. But he loves it!

  54. Linda Feb 17 at 1:49 pm Reply Reply

    I am envious that it seems all of you can SING to your babies!
    …mine prefers whistling. And Daft Punk. For serious.

  55. Angela Feb 17 at 3:23 pm Reply Reply

    I am terrible at remembering the lyrics to songs, so my stand by was “Good Night Ladies” (I think that is from The Music Man)except I sang “Good Night Baby”. I would also try to sing Hush Little Baby, but I didn’t know the verse after “if that diamond ring don’t shine…” so I sang “Mama’s going to buy you a porcupine” and would then get stuck trying to come up with more rhymes. I would also sing my own lyrics to “Are you sleeping?”. I don’t know about then, but now my son is not a fan of my singing. The other day he asked me to “please let the song on the radio sing by itself, Mama.” Sigh.

  56. mir Feb 17 at 7:52 pm Reply Reply

    “I will”, by the beatles. “Who knows how long I’ve loved you/ you know I love you still…” It’s sort of the baby sleepytime song. And of course pop goes the weasel but sometimes the “lords of acid” lyrics will sneak in and I’ll sing about half a pound of heroin…
    The english duke of york is another favorite “the english duke of york… he had 10,000 men… he marched them up the hill and he marched them down again…”

  57. Beeeee Feb 17 at 11:12 pm Reply Reply

    I sing a lot of Barry Manilow too – my fav is “Can’t Smile w/o You”, I also sing “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” – Lauren Hill’s version.
    When my son was first born, and was really jaundiced, I would sing him Coldplay’s “Yellow”. Oh – I also sing the Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of my Life”, and Ray Charles “Come Rain or Come Shine”

  58. Ashley Feb 18 at 11:22 am Reply Reply

    So we sing show tunes. Lots of Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, and anything else I can remember the words to. My husband thinks I’m a FREAK because for some reason I can remember most of the words to any song i hear… so it’s made for a great repertoire.
    We definitely have adapted a few for the bath tub –
    SCRUB SCRUB HERE
    SCRUB SCRUB THERE
    and a couple of tra la la las
    That’s how we wash the boogie clean
    in the Merry Old Land of Oz :-)
    And every morning when I go in to get him it’s Singin’ In the Rain
    Good Morning
    Good Morning
    You slept/screamed/woke up mommy/the whole night thru
    Good Morning
    Good Morning to Drew!

  59. Adelas Feb 18 at 2:06 pm Reply Reply

    At a 3-4AM feeding one night in the first weeks with my first baby, I decided to turn on the TV music channels to keep me awake. I was really distressed from lack of sleep etc, so I ended up on this channel that played old church hymns while showing nature scenes on the screen. One of the songs was Great is Thy Faithfulness.
    The next night, it was the only thing that my foggy brain could dredge up, so I sang it. And the next night, until that (and How Great Thou Art when I need extra material) became the main lullaby I use.
    However, when I put on CD’s, I have one called Come To the Cradle that is full of singable, hummable lullabies (and wake up songs) and another called Classical Praise Piano (apparently discontinued but it’s gotta be out there somewhere). That was one of the first CDs our family ever owned after we got a CD player. Although it doesn’t have any lyrics on the CD, I knew the words to the first song: “You are my hiding place” [you always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, whenever i am afraid i will trust in you] and when I was afraid of the dark, that song helped calm me down. so now I play it for my kids.

  60. Della Feb 18 at 2:21 pm Reply Reply

    Oh yeah. There is also an AWESOME sesame street episode where Oscar the Grouch wants to make ugly music, so they round up everyone and decide to sing those three songs (ABC, baa baa, and twinkle) at the same time. He is rubbing his hands in anticipation but – bwahaha – the joke’s on him!
    I just wasted 30 minutes of my life looking for a link to the thing on youtube and muppet wiki, and can’t find it. grrr. but anyhow if you find it, it’s funny.

  61. rachel Feb 18 at 6:46 pm Reply Reply

    We tried them all for our sleepless boy– at first the Thermos song from The Steve Martin classic movie “The Jerk” did the trick, but he got wise and it stopped working. One night my husband took a turn pacing around the house with the little screamer, and I heard him humming the refrain from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” (Daa-dum da dum-dum dadadadadadadada daa dum-dum). Boy Wonder was asleep in two minutes. That little snippet, over and over again, did the trick until he started learning to settle himself at 6 months.

  62. helenel Feb 18 at 10:04 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, I kid you not – after I ran through all of my camp songs (4 of them), My Bonnie, and Bobby Shaftoe, it was “Copacabana” for MONTHS. Over and over. Because it tells a story, and is kind of racy and tragic, and is looong.
    Then, later, the Laurie Berkner version of “There’s a Little Wheel A-Turning in My Heart” with variations like “There’s a little girlie trying not to sleep.”

  63. Kimberly C Feb 19 at 4:08 pm Reply Reply

    Some of the stuff that I sang to my daughter in the beginning was made up, but suffice it to say that they lyrics weren’t kind even though it was sung in a lullaby type manner (the words “you are lucky you are cute” MIGHT have been included) but as far as lullabies go these days, our favorite is either Twinkle twinkle or All the pretty little horses- but Horses is sung with the odd soprano 2 harmony that I learned it with back in choir class. I had a friend that swore by the punk cover of Build me up buttercup, sung at high volume and rocking like you are about to tear the house down. It worked for her son, so… different tastes, right?

  64. kimberly c Feb 19 at 4:13 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, I forgot about baby magic, aka Red Sky by Thrice- we discovered it one day when we had stupidly taken our girlie out during the hours of doom, aka 6pm-9pm when she SCREAMED. My husband popped in the cd and the drumbeat hit (it DOES sound like a heartbeat, kinda) and the kid STOPPED SCREAMING. The song played on repeat until we got home, and until she grew out of the ??? screaming.

  65. bella Feb 19 at 7:15 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks Amy, you have given me new dedication to my cause! I’m a children’s librarian, and in addition to early literacy skill building during storytime, I passionately believe in singing. I don’t have a great voice and am very insecure about singing in front of people, but I refuse to use cd’s during storytime and instead focus on simple fun songs that parents and kids can sing together! This post made me think that I’m on the right track.
    Here’s a favorite that always gets giggles, it’s sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know it” (Just wait until you realize how many songs use that tune–it will blow your mind).
    There’s a little ____(elf, mouse, whatever) sitting on my________(head, arm, nose) UH OH!
    Repeat 2x
    I don’t know what to say, and then he runs away.
    Now there’s no little _____ on my _______
    Not a lullaby, but a great one!

  66. radiem Feb 19 at 10:18 pm Reply Reply

    We’re preggers currently, and we always sing random stuff to each other. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when the baby gets here! Our current favorite is to the tune of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and goes “in the mamma’s a fetus, baby. Don’tcha know that I love you…”

  67. Darcy Feb 20 at 9:55 am Reply Reply

    I heard this once on Pandora (FYI you’ll get lots of ideas if you start a channel with children’s music). I don’t know if the lyrics are exactly correct, but this is how we sing it (also to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star):
    Stinkle, stinkle little skunky
    Tell me why you smell so funky
    Walk around with tail held high
    You’re so stinky, you make me cry
    Stinkle, stinkle little skunky
    Tell me why you smell so funky
    Great for baths and diaper changes!

  68. Dan Feb 21 at 9:41 pm Reply Reply

    From the first night in the hospital, I sang “Fix You” by Coldplay to Abby. Now, she’s 2 1/2 and it is her soothing song. She calls it “Daddy’s Seffal (special) song.” Over the years, I used a number of Joshua Radin songs. I also sang “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor for about a year, then she didn’t like it, and now she sings it herself.

  69. Joy Feb 21 at 9:44 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter Maya has a swing….and I have used the melody of “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers to make a nice “Swingtime for Maya” jingle that will get her in the mood for going in there (if you don’t have it the SweetPeace swing from Graco is AWESOME!!!) – I also use the Lullaby tune to sing…Lullaby, Say Goodnight, it is time to take a nap (or go to sleep depending), close your eyes, say good night, it is time to take a nap!).. my iPod is set up in her room (or it can plug into her swing..I did say it was an awesome swing!) and she really likes Depeche Mode…so I will sing her those tunes, morbid as they might be some of them! Maybe she will turn out to be a goth.

  70. Kat Feb 23 at 1:28 am Reply Reply

    I don’t have kids yet, but one song I know I’m gonna sing to them is “You’ll be in my heart” from Disney’s Tarzan. I have a feeling they’ll be hearing a lot of disney music. :-P

  71. samantha Jo Campen Feb 25 at 10:21 pm Reply Reply

    I could only remember Christmas songs. In my sleep deprived state all I could bust out was Jingle Bells, Frosty The Snowman and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. And now, right as he turns two, his favorite night time song is Jingle Bells. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN :-)

  72. Leah Feb 26 at 1:15 pm Reply Reply

    I sing You Are My Sunshine to my son, and I knew that there were verses to it, so I looked them up. Talk about depressing!
    Oh, and we do Old MacDonald with about 100 verses, including a pizza delivery guy (“With a ‘Here’s your pizza’ here, and a “Here’s your pizza’ there…”
    And Stairway to Heaven makes a pretty good lullaby, too, as long as you skip air-guitaring the guitar solo and don’t rock out too hard on the last verses. ;)

  73. Vera Feb 26 at 7:09 pm Reply Reply

    My first daughter has her own songs, but my second daughter has two, Here comes the sun, but the beatles, and Edelweiss. I can’t explain either of them, but I could remember the words while I was half asleep at 3 AM and that’s what mattered.

  74. CE Mar 01 at 4:46 pm Reply Reply

    “Let it Be” by the Beatles, “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell, if I feel like crying and singing.
    Usually it’s musicals, “Bushel and a Peck” from guys and dolls, “Defy Gravity” from Wicked, random and inappropriate stuff from RENT and Once Upon a Mattress.
    Theatre nerd training begins at home.
    The hubs sings “Oh my Darling Clementine”, with all the Boy Scout verses, and that song is really macabre when you listen to it.

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