Weekend Question Thread

A few years back when a friend was having her first child, we went through all the lullabies and children’s songs we could all remember and realized they were all horrifying. Rock A Bye Baby? Bough breaking, baby falling, scary as fuck. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Prompted an explanation of interstellar light and travel. Ring Around the Rosy? Just … no.

We finally settled on singing the Indigo Girls to the little thing. Another friend raised her son primarily on early U2 and he’s doing fine. I tend to sing Dylan to the ferrets. They’re unimpressed.

What do you sing to the small things in your life? Or, what was sung to you?


17 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. “You Are My Sunshine” is the only song I have sung to all of my kids. I only sing the first stanza and I change the word “only” to the name of the kid that is in my arms at the time. No matter how old they are, they all seem to still like hearing the song from time to time.
    My oldest daughter was (and in some ways still is) very difficult to calm down when she is angry or tired. India Arie’s first album had just been released the year she was born, and as I was in a neo soul phase, I happened to own it and love it. One fitful morning I tried playing that album for my girl. It worked! She spent most of the first year of her life sleeping to Acoustic Soul.

  2. older son got a lot of “Tommie” by The Who. he’s 44 now and turned out fairly normal.

  3. My mother tended to sing weird songs that I can never seem to find – at least not in the form I remember them – on the internet. For example, “The cannibal king with the big brass ring fell in love with the dusky maid / and every night in the pale moonlight, he’d sing this serenade.” There are versions out there, but none seem quite the same. What’s a “green wood tree” anyway? My guess is she picked them up on the street in the late 20s or early 30s.
    When I tried to look up some of the lyrics at the local library, all I could find were the Little Willy rhymes: “Little Willy, dynamite / Couldn’t understand it quite / So with blasting caps he plays / It rained Willy seven days.” That was when I stopped looking and started waiting for the internet.

  4. My mother used to sing “Doggie in the Window” and “Bushel & a Peck” around the house, but I don’t remember her singing them as lullabyes.

  5. Geez…all sorts of songs to my cat when he’s whining (which is often, unfortunately)…but I try to change the words or make up words…songs like the Sesame Street Theme, The Rite of Spring, the Star Trek theme…Hit the Road, Jack by Ray Charles.
    The challenge is to make it through a stanza without having to hum.
    Occasionally it even works. The cat calms down. Or maybe he’s just gawking.

  6. I sing the Mean Kitty song to the ferrets all the time, too, changing the words to “itty bitty ferret” or the name to Bucky or Claire:


  7. I prefer the pre-bowdlerised versions myself.
    Little Robin Red breast,
    Sitting on a pole,
    Nidde, Noddle, Went his head.
    And poop went his Hole.
    What kid wouldn’t like that?

  8. I sang along with Laurie Anderson’s Strange Angels to my youngest, and she turned out fairly normal. Also, once the kids were old enough, The Roches. The harmonies are fun to sing.

  9. I’m bound and determined to get my kid singing “Eep Opp Ork Ahah.”

    At 5 weeks, I’ve gotten a couple “ah” and “opp” noises, so I’m sure the rest will follow shortly. When he’s a little older he can graduate to the Violent Femmes cover, then the rest of their library.

  10. As a kid I got a lot of hymns a capella from my mom …
    what did my kids get? An awful lot of KLLL-FM on the truck radio as we commuted 87 miles each way, six days a week …

  11. The ‘Daddies Sing Goodnight” compilation on Sugarhill put our daughter to sleep up until junior HS. But if we were on the road, everything from Wheels on the Bus to Buffalo Springfield was in play.

  12. We did Raffi for our kids. Also Tom Chapin. Good stuff. Our kids eventually grew up to like The Beatles and Celtic folk music, I’m proud to say.

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