To some, a lullaby is just a trick to get a fussy baby or stubborn child to sleep. To others, however, it's a true love affair with one purpose: to soothe the angelic gift from God into a blissful slumber.
About a week ago, I was at my mother-in-laws for our Sunday dinner. My 23-yr. old niece wanted to know what lullabies I sang to my four children. As you may have guessed, she's expecting her first, sweet bundle with her husband (in the fall). She is now on a quest to learn or use as many beautiful lullabies as she can. (And she plays the piano beautifully). So, I gladly shared. I sang dozens of lullabies to my four infants from classic Christian songs (like Jesus Loves me) to Primary songs from my faith (like I Am A Child of God). But each child had their own special song, which I sang to them often.
My oldest child (about to get her permit in 2 weeks) had a simple lullaby which I'd learned from Walt Disney's Lady & the Tramp. When Lady finally meets the thing that turned her world upside down, the mother was singing "La La Loo". I really like the part of sweeping the star bells and the wandering angel.
My second child loved music from the start. She wouldn't take a binky (pacifier) and had colic, so the lullabies were literally a God send. Around the time when she was born, the Christian movie "The Prince of Egypt" came out. So, I fell in love with "Hush Now, My Baby." I really get into that song since I love soul music. The emotional part of the song (when he drifts off down the Nile) is very beautiful to sing and recreate. Of course, I sang my oldest daughter's song to her too, so a kind of chain began. I even remember hearing my oldest daughter sing her song to her little sister.
My third child (the first boy) was given the song "All the pretty little Ponies" (or Hush-a-bye, Don't you Cry). Besides a good lullaby, he really loved having his back rubbed and still does at 11 years old. I remember that I fell in love with this song from my Kenny Loggins CD. Remember those? They are these flat, silver discs that we once could put into a boom box. The CDs replaced cassette tapes, which I won't bother to explain...
My fourth and last child (now about to turn 9) had an unusual lullaby. His sister graduated from kindergarten the year he was born, so we remade the "We Love Peanut Butter" song she sang at her graduation performance (and always sang at home) into a lullaby.
You may or may not know the tune...Peanut butter, we love peanut butter, peanut butter that's what we love best. Do you love it on your head? Yes, we love it on our head-whoa oh, oh, oh. Well, you get the idea. So we changed it to Baby Dylon, we love baby Dylon. Baby Dylon, that's who we love best. Do we love his little eyes? Yes, we love his little eyes, etc. We'd sing it to him in the car when he was fussy and I'd sing it sweetly and slowly at night as a lullaby. He loved this song so much that when he could talk, he asked me to sing it every night for months on end.
A favorite memory of mine was a camp out once when he was about 10 months old. My children had heard an owl or some scary sound and could not fall asleep in the tent. So, I talked about how they each had a lullaby and suggested that we sing each one. It worked like magic and they soon met the sandman.
Following our stroll down Memory Lane, we of course had a good laugh that Sunday dinner. My adopted (relative), now a teenager, was very intrigued by the story of the lullabies and proceeded to ask his mother what his lullaby was when he was little (he knows he's adopted by the way). Though it would not be the first time, her answer and reaction broke my heart.
With a look of disgust, she reminded him that he was three years old and not a baby when he came to their family. So, she didn't sing lullabies to him. As the oldest of his siblings, he is one of those "problem" children who has been grounded for misbehaving for most of his childhood. I wanted to stand up and shout at her, but I kept my cool. It is not my place to judge, but what a buzz kill and a cruel response. Whether he was 3, 7 or 10, she should have sang to him. In fact, he needed the lullabies more than any other child I know. If anything, she could have changed her response to "I don't remember" or something less resentful.
I was blessed to have a mother who sang to me, even with her vast array of faults. I'm also blessed to have a handsome best friend who sang to our children on many nights and early mornings. On the nights when I could barely stand, he would take over the maternal duties and be a tender father. Although I'm grateful to have passed through the diaper and crying years, I still miss their angelic baby faces and watching my husband sing or play with them. Sometimes, when no one is looking, one of the two boys asks me to sing their lullaby once more. Just like it was yesterday, I sing their song and scratch their weary backs. Sweet dreams, little soft, fluffy sleeper...