A Goodnight to Lullabies

This post may be more for myself than for anything else.  Still, you’re welcome to read it if you want to.

A couple of months back, my youngest son climbed into bed and announced that he would quite like to read this new book he got until he was ready to fall asleep.  This seemed like a very good idea and so we ran with it.

And so ended my fourteen-year-long career of singing to my children.

In fairness, it went on much longer than I thought it could.  With the youngest, it was going on so long that you’d have to wonder where and how it would end.  As with all these lovely childhood things, it finally just fizzled and died in a sweet moment and that was fine,.  It was how it should be.

But, while my memory still holds a little of this, I thought I better set down something about it, for myself, before it slips away.

When my elder son stopped requiring his bedtime song, after his bedtime story, I let it go without a mention but now I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was I sang for all those years.  It is gone from me, which is kind of sad.

So here, for my own benefit, is a record of the two songs I sang each night for Sam for over eight years.  You’d think I would never forget them but, if I don't write them down, I will.  I’ve done it before.

So, after a chapter or two of the current book (God, how many books have I read aloud?) there would be ‘turning ‘round’ and ‘cosying up’ and then we would have two of the oddest, most inexplicable lullaby choices in the history of tucking-in.

First up, a song hijacked from a ‘Barney’ video tape:  “If All The Raindrops Were Lemon Drops and Gum Drops’.  God knows why.  None of us ever liked Barney all that much and we only had this one video.  I think that early on a large variety of songs were tried out and that one seemed to stick.  I hasten to add it was a reflective slow version of the song, of my own devising, rather than the sickly-sweet panderings of Barney’s eclectic crew.

Then, bringing at least a tad more ‘Street Cred’, came a little Bob Dylan… or not, as the case may be.  You see it was that first song off Dylan’s album ‘Self Portrait’ where he didn’t really sing on it at all.  You know the one?  ‘All the Tired Horses in the Sun, How’m I s’posed to get any Riding Done?   Hmmmm Hmmmm mm hmm hmmmmmm…”

Two choruses of that and that’s it.  A little spiel about doors being left open and teddy being in place - never changing, a set routine for all those years – and off to sleep with satisfying ease.  I often wished I could do it on myself.

So an era passes… and, as I think about it, it wasn’t just bedtime that brought opportunities for songs and fun.  Guys who aren’t dad’s won’t believe this but one of the great opportunities for a bit of banter was at changing time.  Think about it – once the ‘offending material’ was bagged and tagged and everybody cleaned up, you had a wide awake little feller just itching for a bit of fun.  I can’t remember what songs came out in those sessions but the bits I remember, I remember them fondly.

The song that sticks in my head from the baby-fun era is actually the ‘Baby Rice’ song.  When the guys were moving from milk onto solid foods, they were both subjected to the ‘Baby Rice’ song on a regular basis.  It may have scarred them for life.

Sung to the tune of ‘Baby Love’, lyrics by yours truly, it went something like… this:

Baby Rice, Oh Baby Rice
I eat you, oh how I eat you.
When I eat you like I do.
Then I go and do a poo.
Then I feel as good as new.
Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby...

(and around again until all the food was gone)

Yes, yes, I know…

… but they were simpler times.


Dave said...

What a lovely piece. I can't wait to sing to my children.
Metallica might be off the menu though :)

Jim Murdoch said...

I was never one for singing to my daughter. I suppose I must have. I sing to our cockatiel though. Every night just before his cover goes down I sing the ‘Night-Night Song’ after which he usually does ‘wings’ – which, if you’re unfamiliar with avine body-language, is actually the equivalent of giving me the finger. Ah well.

Cellobella said...

I think my lullabies consisted of:
Go to sleep
Go to sleep
Go to sle-eep my baby.
Go to sleep
Mummy's tired
And I want you to
Go to sleep...

Loved your story.

hope said...

It must be "Dad day" today. :) I did some "thinking out loud" myself.

I think your singing is sweet and traditions are something we hold dear, even when no one else understands. Although I fear I shall be humming the Baby Rice song at today's 4th of July festivities.

You're a good Dad...and they'll remember you for it. Trust me.


WiseMóna said...

This was a lovely piece Ken. My eldest child still seeks me out for a lullaby when it suits her and swears she can remember me singing her to sleep when she was a baby. I still hum the tune to myself sometimes, and it brings me comfort too. Thanks for sharing.

Kat Mortensen said...

Oh, that is such a charming and reflective post. Isn't it funny how we all have our little habits, our catch phrases and asides and inside jokes with those in our lives.
We have no children (sad, I know) and even sadder that we make up goofy songs to sing to the cats. We have "The Wet Food Song" and the ever-popular, "Feed the Beasts" (sung to the tune of the chorus of "We Are the World"). See. I told you it was sad.

That is the sweetest picture, I must say.


Thanks for the visit and the comment.

Jenn Ashworth said...

I sing my daughter a song she knows as 'Mucky Kid' but is actually Cilla Black's Liverpool Lullaby. A truly miserable song of misery, domestic violence and poverty that I have a slightly edited set of lyrics to so as not to give her nightmares. She loves it.

Anonymous said...

Great post Ken.

Made me sad and happy at the same time.

One of the strongest memories i have of being a child is every night kissing my dad and mam good night before going to bed. Now i don't know what age this went on until but i distinctly remember the night it stopped.
I remember my dad, for want of a better word, wincing when i went to kiss him on the cheek and give him a hug and he said 'no no you don't have to kiss me anymore' and that was that. I remember how sad i felt when that happened and it must have stuck with me because it's one of the childhood memories that has stuck with me.

Sam said...

sigh, this is such a lovely post. you wrote it for yourself but also thanks for sharing. it's one of those posts that make you smile :)

hope said...

Just checking for a pulse. :)

Ah, you mischievous man...you of the subliminal suggestions. I bought a book the other day and had no idea why I was drawn to it. It was Stephen King's "Under the Dome".

And then I remembered who mentioned it. :) I'll let you know if it's thumbs up or down when I'm done.