Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That lulling thing . . .

Sleep deprivation!

Beautiful was in prodromal labor for 3 or 4 days before finally getting to active labor. Neither she nor I had slept much during those days. By the time baby was finally born, we had both been up for the better part of 48 hours--with very little in the way of rest before that.

You could say my thinking wasn't quite crystal clear. You could say my thinking had the clarity of chocolate pudding . . .

I was holding Lily in the hospital, trying to comfort her while her mama filled out a ream of paperwork, and thought maybe I should sing to her like I used to sing to my own babies.

I knew there was a special kind of song. Songs just for babies. Songs to lull them to sleep. But I couldn't remember what they were called. The nearest I could remember was nursery rhymes. But that wasn't quite it.

After singing to Lily "Hush Little Baby" (which was Beautiful's special song) my mind went blank. I just could not recall the other "baby songs" I knew.

Number One Son used to have a teddy bear that, when squeezed, hummed out the tunes of several children's songs. The first one was "Ten Little Indians." That was the only ditty I could come up with.

"One little, two little, three little Indians . . . " I began. And then realized that was somewhat unPC. "Four little, five little, six little Native Americans . . . " That didn't have a good flow. I gave up.

But the song about ten small members of the indigenous population reminded me of a different counting song. I began:

"One bottle of . . . . ummmm . . . . milk? on the wall?"

Beautiful looked sideways at me. "Mom, how about we don't teach my daughter any beer drinking songs just yet, k?"

Fine. But still I couldn't come up with any "baby songs." Nor the term for them. So I thought perhaps some mellow, cheerful '60s folk songs would be acceptable.

"I love the flower girl," I started, "something, something, something, something, la la, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm . . . "

D'oh! Stupid unrememberable lyrics!

"Hello, lamppost, what cha knowin'? I've come to . . . something about flowers growin. Ain't cha got no . . . something for me? Doot 'n doo doo. Feelin' groovy!"

Close. But no cigar.

This went on intermittently until 4:30 this morning when I was rocking her back to sleep.

Think . . . think . . . think . . . 60s folk songs . . .

"War! Good gawd, y'all! What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'! Say it again!"

Not quite.

Baby songs . . . baby songs . . .

My instinct was to sing her the ABC song. I knew that wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it sounded kinda close.

Then "This Land Is Your Land" floated through my head. Again, I knew it wasn't exactly the song I wanted, but it was almost like something I remembered . . .

Finally my brain was able to make the connection it had been trying for since Sunday afternoon. The songs I wanted to sing that are for children and are especially for the purpose of lulling them to sleep are lullabies. Yes! That's the term!

And once I remembered the term, I suddenly remembered all the songs. Including "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" (the ABC song with different lyrics) and "You Are My Sunshine" (sorta close to "This Land Is Your Land.")

Oh yes, and I remembered "Rock-a-bye Baby." The granddaddy--and most obvious--of all lullabies.

By that time, Lily was fast asleep and didn't care.

But she knows a few things now. Like what to sing with her mates in a pub. And a bit about protesting the war. And that this land was made for her and her grammy.

bonding with grandpa


Whitenoise said...

What, no Iron Butterfly..."inagodadeeva babeeeee..."

jenontheedge said...

I can remember being so desperate once that I sang lots of college drinking songs to one of my girls.

Lily is beautiful!

Miss Got Wings said...

I sing my goddaughter Aerosmith's power ballads. works all the time - makes for a very happy baby :)

"Tell me what it takes to let you go! . . . . "

Storybook Woods said...

Hey I sue to sing to Auberne` a stupid Chiquita banana song I made up. Lily is just sooo beautiful. Clarice

ajooja said...

I remember a time when my daughter wouldn't fall asleep without cartoons. That was before Disney and the Cartoon Networks. The only thing we could do was start a video tape and pray that she didn't wake up when the tape ran out and rewinded (very loudly) when it was over.

It's tough dealing with a little one in the house again after so many years without one. I just pray your daughter is better about getting up than mine.

My daughter sleeps like a rock and it annoys me to no end to hear that baby scream his head off trying to get her attention.

[quitely steps off soapbox]

Anonymous said...

I think that's really funny that you couldn't remember what nice little baby songs are called because I was having the exact same problem and the closest thing I could come up with was also nursery rhyme

ShallowGal said...

When my son was born, the only songs I could think of were Happy Birthday and the opening number to OKLAHOMA.

xoxo, SG

countrymouse said...

Yay--we're not the only ones! You guys have made both Beautiful and me feel so much better. And so much less stoopid . . .

Glad we're not the only ones! Kate, I'm never going to hear power ballads in the same way : ) And thanks, Whitenoise, now I've got *that* song stuck in my head ; )

Mary said...

Angie and Clarice told me that I had to read this post as soon as I got home today since I hadn't read it yet. They were cracking up as they told me about it.

After reading it, I don't feel quite so bad that I forgot the lyrics to Brahms' "Lullabye" when Susannah had a fit of nostalgia several months ago and asked me to sing it to her. I tried to cover my tracks by smiling and acting like I was waiting for her to accompany me - you know, like in a duet. She did, thank God, because I had *no* clue what one of the verses was until after she chimed in.

Good God, it's only been 12 years, but apparently that's long enough to forget lyrics - without the sleep deprivation! I think you did pretty darn good.

Besides, *everyone* needs a good drinking song now and again.

CheekierMeSly said...

Beatles songs work in a pinch as lullabies. So do show tunes - Brigadoon or Sound of Music, anyone? Even "Soon her Mama with a gleaming gloat heard lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo" sung softly would do the trick, right?

Congratulations on becoming a grandma. Lily is lovely.