As someone who didn’t grow up babysitting, there was a lot about being a parent I expected to not know. I didn’t know how to change a diaper, or prepare a bottle, or get a baby to burp. What I didn’t even realize I didn’t yet know were the words and melodies to lullabies. Poor little man has heard several (off-key) renditions of Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; and You are My Sunshine.
It was our first night home from the hospital and to say little man did not like the change of scenery would be an understatement. He spent the whole first night either nursing or screaming, both of which were painful. At 4 a.m. I found myself in the rocking chair, trying to sing to soothe him. I quickly realized my lack of lullaby knowledge and fell back on the one thing I did know: Disney songs. And so I began singing him every Disney song I could remember that was slow: A Whole New World, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Reflection, Part of Your World (bonus points if you can name the movies each of those songs belong to in the comments section). I was home alone, as my poor husband had made a mad dash to Wal-Mart to try to find formula, since we thought he was screaming because he was hungry and wasn’t getting enough milk from nursing (we later learned that many babies have a terrible first night home, simply because they’ve suddenly realized they are no longer in the womb and that everything they know is gone and now they’re in this new scary place. It makes sense. Birth must be just as terrifying for babies as it is for mothers.).
Finally I remembered a song my dad used to sing to me. I began singing my own little baby to sleep with the same song my dad used to sing me to sleep with while he was traveling. His deep voice would echo across the hundreds of miles of phone line, and I would drift to sleep with the cordless phone pressed tight to my face, the numbers leaving little indentations on my cheek. Because of the mere presence of the word ‘Tennessee’, one memory always sprang to mind of my parents playing tennis at a park we once visited (it had an amazing playground. The wood was that worn dark brown that driftwood often takes on, and if I recall correctly, it was shaped like a castle). The song is an old Mac Davis song entitled Dream Me Home. It’s not really a lullaby, as it involves dissing the man and spending bus fare on booze, but the meaning behind it is sweet and I know all the words, so I look past it.
For nearly 3 months, I’ve relied on Dream Me Home to soothe my baby to sleep. But last night, it failed me. He stayed awake through two renditions. Finally I remembered my favorite song from Cinderella: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. I began singing, thinking I knew only the first few lines. But as a I sang, all the words returned to me. After just one full run through, little man was asleep in my arms and ready to be gently laid in his crib.
I doubt I will ever learn the traditional lullabies, because my son is just like me: he prefers Disney.
|Asleep and rocking his Lion King pajamas.|