Lullaby Grab Bag

We all think we have our favorite songs, the ones we know by heart.

But at 3:30 a.m., in the dark, when you’re only half-awake and a tiny person is screaming in your face, and some voice deep inside you says, “I should probably sing a soothing song,” and you open your mouth wondering what will come out….this is when the truth is revealed.

Which songs are actually written into the muscle memory of your vocal cords? That you can sing from your brain stem, when higher functions fail? Probably not the ones you anticipated, eh?

Here, I’ve learned, are my top 10:

10. I Just Can’t Wait to be King Not even close to my favorite Disney movie or Disney song, but there it is. Also, the babe really likes the “bada ba dum bum, bada bum bum” intro. You know.

9. Good Morning I mean, who doesn’t fantasize about waking their charming children every morning with this song? Oh, not you? This one ranks down here only because, bummer, I realized I don’t know it as well as I thought and I got stuck on a second verse loop that I couldn’t find my way out of. Songs you have to think about don’t make the cut.

8. Put on Your Sunday Clothes This is another one where I tend to get stuck in the middle. But for bucking up and powering through those Blue Mondays, it can’t be beat.

7. The Tree Song Sang this one in church choir every year for approximately a decade, though we did not have such jazzed up accompaniment, let me tell you! Are you a downtown tree or a riverside tree?

6. In My Life Clearly, the only song to sing in the wake of a major and permanent life change. Reassuring to all parties.

5. Reel around the Sun Not really singable, but apparently her favorite thing in the world.

4. My Love How was this simple, sweet, image-rich song not designed for parents to sing to/with their children? I can’t wait until she is old enough to sing this one with appropriate hand motions, which I will obviously make up! Replace “I want you more” with “I love you more” if that makes you more comfortable.

3. “Hey little squalling girl, why are you a squalling girl” This, in case you couldn’t tell, is a creation of my own. No Puddles the Clown covers have been posted to YouTube yet, but this is more or less how it goes:

Hey little squalling girl, why are you a squalling girl?

Hey, little squalling girl, why are you a squalling girl?

You don’t have to be a squaller, instead you could be a sleeper

You don’t have a be a squaller, instead you could be a sleeper

Hey, little squalling girl, why are you a squaaaaaallliiiiiing giiirrrrrl?

So, you know, it’s pretty profound.

2. Edelweiss I mean, obviously. Bloom and grow forever, little girl! Frankly, I always assumed this would be my number one, but under pressure, it turns out something else has consistently edged it out.

And, drumroll please…..

1. Wouldn’t it be Loverly Cockney accent optional. Never would have guessed it, but I now sing this song about 100 times a day. I think a combination of factors come into play here: I know it forward and backward. Thanks, 6th grade musical + Big Note Broadway piano book + watching the movie 8,000 times when I was little. The range is pretty small. It’s not a stretch for a normal voice, and it’s easy to sing softly. No belting required. And, frankly, it’s a very sweet song about simple pleasures that was perfect for this first long winter. Who among us doesn’t want an enormous chair, lots of chocolate, warm feet, and to never budge till spring? Right? When I remember, I change the words from “someone’s head resting on my knee” to “Daisy’s head resting on my knee.” Better to paint the picture of a faithful canine friend than an unknown male supplicant, amirite? 

So, what songs have been resurrected from the depths of your soul and called into action in times of need?

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2 thoughts on “Lullaby Grab Bag

  1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to sing a nursery rhyme only to stop short when I realize how inane/awful the lyrics are. Clearly I need to expand my repertoire as the only song that I regularly sing is Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

    • I can just never think of any nursery rhymes/songs when I need them! Although now we have a “sleep sheep” that plays Twinkle Twinkle on repeat until infinity (or until the timer stops it). We went to storytime at the library last week and I learned that she likes “Shake your sillies out” and “Where is Thumbkin” better than most of my picks. Sigh!

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