Lullabies

September 17, 2012

Last night, as Ben Blair and I were going from bedroom to bedroom, turning off lights and tucking in kids, it occurred to me that the only room where we still sing a lullaby is June & Betty’s. Each of our children was sung to nightly for years and years, but the ritual has faded for all but the youngest two.

The lullaby we use is one that was sung to me by my own mother, and as I was going through the melody last night, I wondered if there were other parents around the world singing the same song. I realized I’d sung the song thousands of times but I’d never thought to look up the source. What I found was predictable but interesting. Both the tune and words I inherited are different than the ones I could hear in online samples. And of course, we decided we like our version best of all. It’s so familiar to us it’s practically tattooed on our souls. : )

The lullaby we sing is called Tender Shepherd. I’m not brave enough to sing you the tune we use, but the lyrics we prefer are:

Tender shepherd.
Tender shepherd.
Watching over all his sheep.
One in the meadow.
Two in the garden.
Three in the nursery, fast asleep.

Repeated until eyes are droopy…  If we need backup lullabies, we pull from our favorite church songs, usually this one.

I was thinking about it, and I can’t figure out when we stopped singing to the older kids. I don’t remember making a conscious decision about it, or acknowledging this was one of the last times I’d be singing a lullaby to Oscar or Olive or Mimi or Ralph. I assume it happened slowly. The thoughts made me a feel tender-hearted as I wondered how many nights of lullaby singing were in my future.

I’d love to hear: Does your family have a preferred lullaby? And if you’ve stopped singing, what age were your kids?

P.S. — Image here. Plus, newborn Baby June, fast asleep.

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{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth September 17, 2012 at 9:25 am

I have stopped singing to my kids who are now 17, 14 and 11, but I sang an entire list of lullabies and songs to them for years and years. They included an old Burl Ives song called “I wish I was an apple on a tree,” “Blue Bonnets, Blue Bonnets,” “May the Long Time Sun,” “Hush Little Baby, Don’t You Cry,” and more! Thank you for bringing back these sweet memories.

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2 Brooke September 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

I sang “I Will” by Lennon and McCartney. Such a sweet song for my sweet little baby boy! He’s 7 now.

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3 Amanda September 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

What a beautiful lullaby.

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4 Stephanie September 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

Singing lullabies is one of my favorite mama jobs. Each of my children has their own personal favorite…some are songs from my own childhood; others I’ve made up on my own just for them. Those are the most special. My son is 5 and still likes his nightly playlist. My daughter, who turns 12 next month, has mostly outgrown her lullabies…but sometimes when she’s had an extra tough day she’ll ask me to sing for her. And I am all too happy to do so…knowing my “little” girl is still in there somewhere!

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5 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Your comment made me teary, Stephanie! I love reminders that my “little” kids are in there somewhere too.

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6 Amber, theAmberShow September 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

Isn’t that the lullaby from Peter Pan? It’s always been a favorite of mine.

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7 Kimberfly September 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

That is where I learned it! I sing that and “You are My Sunshine” to my kids every night. (And “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” though they sing it on their own now.)

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8 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Can I confess: I’ve never seen the play Peter Pan and had no idea that it was the song source until I was searching today. Isn’t that crazy?

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9 Erin September 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

It is from Peter Pan! I still sing my children the lullaby Peter Pan himself sings near the end of the play…”Distant Melody.”

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10 Robin September 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

My 5 kids are ages 9, 6, 5, 4, and 5 months. I usually sing to them each night still. The 9 year old doesn’t ask for it, but since he shares a room with his brother he gets sung to by default :) I usually sing one of the songs they are working on for the Primary Program or they often have requests which include – I will Follow God’s Plan, Jesus is my Shepherd, and my four year old asks for “the bird one” aka
My heavenly Father loves me

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11 Malia O. September 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

Seems like a perfect Olive Us episode, big kids singing to the two little ones, that way we still get to hear your version too ;)

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12 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Oh Malia! What a sweet idea. I love it.

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13 Renee September 17, 2012 at 9:44 am

Although I don’t have children of my own, I have been a nanny for many years. It seems a lullaby grows straight out of my heart for each precious child. First, I find myself humming the tune as I take care of them. And then one day when they are fussy, I sing it and it helps to calm them. Soon it is ‘our song’, something soothing and refreshing to wake up to, to go to sleep to, to help smooth our day. Kaylob had “You Are My Sunshine”; Connor’s was “Daisy, Daisy”; Bethany had “Hush Little Baby”; it was a tradition that started early for me since my own little brother who is six years my junior, had “Twinkle Twinkle” as our song. Thanks for bringing back such lovely memories Gabrielle!

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14 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

“It seems a lullaby grows straight out of my heart for each precious child.”

What a beautiful description, Renee.

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15 Erin September 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm

That’s how I feel. The lullaby just comes to me, and it’s a different one for each child. Our daughter has “I am a Child of God” (“Teach Me to Walk in His Light” is a backup for us, too), but our baby, I will admit, I haven’t found the perfect one for.

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16 Cerise September 17, 2012 at 9:44 am

Our kids are 4 and 2…we always sing You are My Sunshine, I See the Moon, I Will and Somewhere Over the Rainbow :o) We’ll probably stop singing when they stop asking…but I hope that’s not for a while. We all enjoy singing as a family. It’s like a mini pre-bedtime jam session.

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17 patricia September 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

How beautiful is your lullaby. I was sung was a kid too, up until I was around 7. I sing to my daughter too, for naps and bedtime. I sing all the Spanish lullabies my mom and grandmother sang to us. There are so pretty progressive ones, but the traditional ones are lovely too. In the Spanish speaking world we have a strong tradition of singing to our kids that’s soon eroding with modern parenting.

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18 Ashley September 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. One sleepless night when my first was restless and I was frustrated, it was all that came to me. She settled down and it has been our song ever since. She is 7. Her brother somehow got a medly of Twinkle little star and the itsy bitsy spider. I wonder what sone our incubating one will want.
Plus, thanks a lot… I’m crying at everything with these pregnancy hormones!!!

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19 Beth September 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

I’m 18 and don’t have kids of my own, but my mom always sang “Country Roads” by John Denver and “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” (which I think was a Peter, Paul, and Mary song) when we little. She stopped singing it when she stopped tucking us in at night (I think I was around 12), but recently my sister and I asked her to sing it to us again.

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20 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Beth, I’m sure your mother was over the moon that you asked her to sing to you again!

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21 melissa September 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

I don’t sing traditional lullabies to my girls, and we definitely have a rotating schedule of songs. But, the usual ones my girls request (who are 4, 3 yrs) are:

1. “When the Starts Go Blue” by Ryan Adams
2. “A Child’s Prayer” LDS children’s songbook
3. “A City Called Heaven” old spiritual http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4TviRbI8Tc (this version is of a chorale and obviously can’t do that all myself, i just love this version!)

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22 Megan September 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

We sing that lullaby too, its the Peter Pan lullaby and was sung to me as a kid as well! We also like “Love is on Your Side” by Eve Selis. We’ve got a 6, 5 and 2 year old and luckily all three still like a little song before bed. I’ll be sad when the tradition fades away.

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23 Ashley September 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

There’s a couple songs I sing regularly to my baby girl – she’s almost 3 years old and I’ve been singing to her since she was an infant. Every night she picks one or two songs for me to sing to her. Usually it’s “Rock-a-bye-baby” and “Hush, Little Baby.” I sing the one right after the other as I rock her. These are the songs she always picks when she’s sick.
Sometimes she’ll ask me to sing her Edelweiss. This is one of the earliest songs I ever sang to her. I have very dark hair and my daughter got her daddy’s light golden hair. She’s my beautiful white flower. I change the lyrics to this song at the end to say “bless my baby forever” instead of “bless my homeland forever.”
Sometimes she’ll ask me to sing her “Baby Mine” – when I get to the part that says “dry your eyes” she always lifts up the bottom of her pj shirt to wipe her eyes (even if she isn’t even crying).
I’m pregnant now and our new little baby will be joining us hopefully around the end of December. I’m hopeful that the night time lullaby with my little girl won’t end when the new baby joins our family. But I have to admit that I’ve been clinging to my daughter a little tighter each night as I anticipate the lullaby sessions might not last forever.

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24 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Edelweiss was one of my father’s favorite songs and I always get emotional when I hear it or sing it. It’s such a great lullaby.

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25 Heidi September 18, 2012 at 12:34 am

My Mom also sang Edelweiss to us as a lullaby. she said she didn’t know any other lullabies when she became a mother and that one ended up being the one that she sang to us. I walked down the aisle to it at my wedding and now sing Edelwiess along with ‘Jesus loves Me’ every night before bed

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26 Heather September 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

We have a whole roster of bedtime songs, and my girls each choose one and I choose the last. But the one we actually call “lullaby” is the one my mom sang to me as a child. I don’t know the actual name, but by 6 year old sometimes refers to it as “Over in Kilarney” and my 4 year old calls it “trura lua,” both of which are lyrics in the song. Sometimes I am impatient for a shorter routine (once you count in stories, etc.), but the thought of moving on from nighttime singing makes me wistful, indeed!

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27 Christine September 17, 2012 at 10:01 am

We rotate through Stay Awake (from Mary Poppins), my daughter’s favorite, Sylvie (Elizabeth Mitchell’s version), and Rock a Bye, Baby, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. My daughter has begun to add one about stars she learned at preschool, which is very fun.

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28 Lauren September 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

My little boys both love “I have a song to sing-o” from The Yeomen of the Guard (almost anything from that score, really), “Til There was You” from The Music Man, and “Neverland” from Peter Pan. Thanks for the reminder about Tender Shepherd! They will love that one.

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29 Crystal September 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

My kids are 6 & 4 and still ask for songs. I sing ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, ‘You are my sunshine’, ‘Hush Little Baby’, or ‘ Jesus Loves Me’.

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30 Laura September 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

While I sing them different songs, Frere Jacques always gets sung at night. My parents both spoke French as children (French Canadian families). They never taught my siblings and I the language, and I don’t think my mom ever sang us this song. But I feel like singing a french lullaby is a small way I can help them know about their heritage.

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31 Lamchops September 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

So funny you brought this up because just the other night I was thinking the same thing about my own children. 2/4 get regular singing. We have been trying to mix it up lately & sing a bit with them all. Each one of my kids has liked different songs sung to them. Since we let them choose so little during the day we give them this (kidding). Oldest- “You are my sunshine”, 2nd- “Teach me to walk”, 3rd- “How much is that doggie(or duck or others) in the window” & Last One-”Twinkle Twinkle”/”Rock-a-by Baby”. Got to LOVE it! The best time of the day is bedtime calm down! Usually so sweet. The wild monkey chills out!

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32 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm

So sweet that they each have a particular favorite.

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33 hillary September 17, 2012 at 10:12 am

We had a regular rotation of several songs. My daughter particularly liked “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music, and some silly songs I learned at Girl Scout camp, and the first verse of Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight. I also sing a lullaby my mother used to sing to me, which goes something like:

Sleep my child,
let peace attend thee
All through the night.

Guardian angels
God will send thee
All through the night.

I think there are other verses to it but I only know that one! We don’t sing every night anymore now that she is coming up on seven. I think it’s because we read longer books so there isn’t as much time.

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34 Lamchops September 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

After thinking a bit I have realized just how much music plays a part of our everyday life. Our children love to sing in the car all the time. I don’t do radio too often. Not because I don’t like it (sans commercials) but becaused I always recognized the importants of good music & it just seems fitting that my kids have exposure to the good stuff too! We love it.

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35 amy September 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

The two I sang where not typical lullabies. This Land is You Land and Baby Beluga.

I recently learned the whale the song was written about died. Brought me right back to the rocking and singing of that song in a endless loop.

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36 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Baby Beluga! It’s June’s absolute favorite. It’s the number one song she requests. Sometimes she’ll let me hold her while I sing it, and she’ll rest her head on my shoulder and it’s heavenly.

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37 lilcg September 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

I have a horrible singing voice. I have accepted this about myself and never sing in public (I try to even avoid happy birthday). I did sing to my daughter when she was little–summertime (from porgy and bess which my mom always used to sing to me as well) and skylark (which was stuck in my head for the last few days of my pregnancy) and lucy in the sky with diamonds. I actually enjoyed singing to her since I never do it, but when when she was about 18 months she made it clear that the singing was to stop–”no song. more book.” I miss it. but I do read well even if I don’t sing well…

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38 mattie September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

tender shepherd! my favorite. my grandma sang it to my mom, my mom sang it to me, and now i sing it to my kids. such sweet memories. our version is a little different, too. i want to know how you sing it though! my son loves to sing lullabies so we sing that one and about a million other primary songs. his favorite is “my heavenly father loves me.” my daughter, who is 14 months, loves to blab along to “i am a child of god.”

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39 Mary September 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

Don’t ask me why, but I sang (or hummed, depending on the time of night-such as late night breast feedings) “Edelweis” to all four of my children.

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40 Connie September 17, 2012 at 10:41 am

My mom always used to sing “My Favorite Things” to me, and “Silent Night” to my sister.

My husband and I don’t have any children of our own (we hope that changes soon), but we are both music folks-our house always seems to have some kind of music/singing happening-so I can’t wait to find out what songs we gravitate to as lullabyes someday.

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41 Becca F September 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

Gabby, my eyes welled up with tears when I saw what lullaby you sing, because that is the very same one that my mother sang to me and that I now have sung to all three of my babies!

In June, we were at my mom’s house and she put on the soundtrack to Peter Pan and when Tender Shepherd started to play, you can imagine how it was for me to watch my two big boys singing quietly along as they played with legos on the floor! Here’s to another sweet night of this lullaby where we are in Connecticut and where you are in France!

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42 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I really need to listen to that Peter Pan soundtrack!

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43 Michelle A September 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

Ah, singing lullabies, it’s one of my favorite moments of the day. I treasure it. All three of mine (ages 1.5, 3 and 5) share a room so all three still are sung to.

I sing Baby Mine, which is in part from Dumbo. The first and last verses are always the same, but I make up a different verse each night about each child. It’s usually something funny that makes them laugh.

Baby Mine, don’t you cry
Baby Mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head, close to my heart, never apart
Baby of Mine

- then a verse about each child

Then the verse I made up to close:
Baby Mine, rest your head
It’s time to sleep, go to bed
Dream of the moon, stars and sun,
We love you, little one.

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44 jo September 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

michelle, your comment made tears come to my eyes, because this is the song i sing to my children all the time! i sang it to my 9 year old when i was pregnant with her, and i sing it to my 6 month old now. but i never thought of adding our own verse, what a good idea!

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45 Andrea Jay September 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

We are an “eensy weensy spider” family with accompanying back tickles. If I have done that enough times I reach into the catacombs for primary songs :)

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46 Laura September 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

My husband sings a song to our 11-month-old daughter that’s been in his family for a long time, “The Wise Old Owl.” But I sing “Soft Kitty” from the Big Bang Theory show! She likes them both. :)

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47 Jela Webb September 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

Check out Mark Erelli’s CD ‘Innocent When You Dream’ for a gorgeous collection of lullabies (not ones you might immediately think of as lullabies)
http://markerelli.com/index.php?page=cds&family=music&display=394

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48 Andrea September 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

What a sweet lullaby! I’d never heard it before.

In our family, it’s been different with every child. My current bedtime rituals are with my two youngest. My four-year-old likes me to sing a couple of songs (usually “Twinkle, Twinkle” and his current favorite song from church), and my six-year-old always likes to hear Eugene Fields’ poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.” We just do the last stanza:

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head–
And the wooden shoe that sails the sky
Is a wee one’s trundle bed.
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three–
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

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49 Liv September 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

I sing Moon River to my babies. It’s one of my favorite all time songs/Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie. I walked down the aisle to it at our wedding. I also sing Coldplay’s Fix you, because I’m a big fan.

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50 Design Mom September 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Fix you is my favorite Coldplay song.

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51 julia September 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

Every night we sing “there’s just something about that name” (they call it Jesus, Jesus). My Mom sang it to me, and now we sing it to our kids. My brother in Florida and other brother in Kenya sing it to their kids too.

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52 Sarah September 17, 2012 at 11:55 am

mine requested “the wheels on the bus” (well, a version of it i made up) when he was about three, and that has been the only bedtime song he’s wanted for the last 4 years, along with twinkle twinkle little star. i wonder whether that song will be his madeleine…

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53 jo September 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

i sing “baby mine” from dumbo, primary songs, and pretty much all of the lullabies from the innocence mission’s album “now the day is over” which is amazing. it has “moon river,” “edelweiss,” “stay awake,” “what a wonderful world,” and tons of other amazing lullabies.

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54 Gina September 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Enchanting photo. Oh, I can relate and the youngest seems to grow the quickest. I too, miss the ritual which now only happens for novelty… I do still come in the night to kiss ALL of the kids on the cheek … and test their breathing…

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55 Miggy September 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Well we used to sing I Am a Child of God to my first…but she hated it. Seriously, HATED it. So we stopped singing it. We later found out than whenever they’d play that song in nursery, she’d burst into tears. We had stopped singing that song to her when she was about 7 months old… but apparently it still haunted her.

My second has liked a few favorites–the song in The Land Before Time
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGXtC5Qk0as&feature=related
to A While New World from Aladdin and finally Help me Rhonda. Although she too is out of the singing before bed phase…. and she’s only 2, no fair!

Such a sweet post….loved this.

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56 Louise September 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Miggy, my oldest daughter did exactly the same thing with ‘I am a Child of God’! She hated us singing it and didn’t like it in nursery either! I really thought we were raising the only child in the world who didn’t like that song! Her baby brother on the other hand, loves it!

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57 Annie W September 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I have a new baby and have been cycling through a few lullabies to figure out which one works the best for us. I asked my Mom what she sang to me as a baby, and wouldn’t you know, it’s exactly what works best for my little baby girl too.

We sing in the morning when we get up too, “Oh what a beautiful morning” makes my girl smile and giggle like nothing else!

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58 steph t. September 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

this is a great little post.
how sweet are the lullabies from a mother to her child?
i love this!
you might laugh at me but the lullaby that i sing to my littlest is a song from a barbie movie, of all things!
you can tell i only have girls, huh?
anyway, here’s the lyrics… they’re too sweet not to share:

Sun goes down, and we are here together
Fireflies, glow like a thousand charms
Stay with me, and you can dream forever
Right here in my arms.

It’s magic, when you are here beside me
Close your eyes, and let me hold you tight
Everything, that i could ever need is
right here in my arms tonight.

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59 Sophie September 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I love that song! That’s on my list!!! (sometimes, I even sing it to my teddy bear ;)

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60 Sarah September 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

We sing a lot throughout the day, so when it’s time to settle down for the night, I rock my little girl (20 months) and she’ll make requests, singing the tunes of each song she wants until I take over. Her favorites are “You Are My Sunshine,” “I Love to See the Temple” and “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.” But lately she’s been wanting The Star Spangled Banner a lot too. So cute to hear a 20 month old little voice punch out the national anthem. :)

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61 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

The Star Spangled Banner as a lullaby has me grinning.

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62 Sophie September 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I’m a singer, and my daddy sang me Roller Derby Queen by Jim Croce for years. Kind of a raunchy song, really, but I was his tough girl, and with his soft, raspy croon, it sounded much more melodic than it really is ;)

I have a whole host of favorite “sweet” songs that I hope to sing to my future kids, but your lullaby is the one they sing in Peter Pan (musical, particularly with Cathy Rigby), and hearing that you use it makes me all kinds of giddy :3

Thank you for sharing!

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63 Katie September 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I sing “Do, do my baby” to my girls over and over while we cuddle. I asked my Mom why she sang it to us as littles and it’s the only lullaby her mother sang to her. My Grandmother didn’t like to sing because she didn’t like how she sounded so that one sweet lullaby was as much as she could muster. It’s great for little kids. My girls both started to sing it to their dolls before they turned 1.5 years old. Singing it brings them immediate comfort and helps them to settle. I cuddle with my 3-year old and sing it to her over and over every night.

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64 Homa Lewis September 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

These songs are being used for the third generation – Bessie the Heifer, You are my Sunshine, and A Bicycle built for Two. Sing in that order and repeated as necessary. My singing voice is not the best but my granddaughter loves me to sing to her.

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65 Maria September 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I sing “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” by the Dixie Chicks to my oldest (4.) And my little one (2) always gets “You are my Sunshine,” only it’s “Tegan is my Sunshine” She sings it with me now, which is SO darn cute. After the usuals, I tend to sing whatever comes to mind. Typically some Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin and/or Alanis. I also love Coldplay and occasionally some Beatles (In My Life.)

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66 Maike September 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

2 Songs from Germany that I am singing for my little girl.
The first is a traditional German one in a dialect that my mom taught me. I sang it for my baby when she was still inside my belly and later when she was really small.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4WTn4QBp38

Then, when she started to understand words (and she didn’t understand the dialect), I switched to this one, it is only a few decades old by a singer/songwriter who only writes kids songs. And you can replace the name “Anne” with your kid’s name. she loves it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY0FFDZaYw8

Do they sound funny to you? Does anybody have German family parts and knows them?

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67 Jodi September 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

what a fun post. I also sing the lullaby my mother used to sing to me, but I never thought to find the source. Now I have! It’s “That Little Boy of Mine” by Bonnie Owens (though for me it was girl). I also love Edelweiss dearly.

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68 Emily September 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Every year at my school the little Lower School kids have a concert at Christmas time and the kindergarteners always sing your lullaby.

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69 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 12:56 am

That sounds so sweet, Emily. I love hearing a chorus of children sing.

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70 Amy September 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I always sang/sing two lullabies: one choice song and one special, personal song that didn’t change. My son got “Sweet Baby James” every night, and my daughter gets a version of Madonna’s “Dear Jessie” but using her name (it’s the sweetest little girl song ever). At Christmastime I mix in carols, and in July I sing stuff like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”! I wish I knew more folk songs to throw into the mix — the comments are giving me all sorts of good ones.

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71 Corrie Anne September 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Awwa.. this makes me want to start singing lullabies. Maybe I can practice on my dogs for now! Haha.

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72 Audrey September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

A soft, slow version of Raffi’s “All I Really Need” is King of the Lullabies in our house.

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73 Valerie September 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm

My niece and sister moved in with me when my niece was about 16 months old. For reasons her mom never understood, if she was fussy, upset or tired – signing Barney’s “I love you” would calm her in moments. While part of me truly cringes when I hear that song, another part of me can’t help but enjoy the memory.

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74 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

Good old Barney. He was a staple at our house for Ralph and Maude.

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75 the Inveterate Optimist September 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm

My sons and I were just talking about lullabies over the weekend. They call them ‘comfort songs’ because they like me to sing them ‘even in morning’ – and especially when they’re ill.

Each has his own ‘soundtrack’, and we’ve written them down so that I won’t forget whose is whose! Topping our charts are ‘Edelweis’, ‘Summertime’, and ‘You Cannot Lose My Love’ – by Sara Groves.

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76 Deborah September 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I have many good memories of walking around the kitchen with the lights on the dimmer while James Taylor’s greatest hits played on our cd player with our son. (How sweet it is to be loved by you, You’ve got a friend, Shower the People. I’m getting teary eyed too, thinking about his future wedding and dancing to You’ve got a friend with him at his wedding.)

With our daughter, I sang Brahms Lullaby (lullaby and Goodnight….) Well, I mostly hummed it until she fell asleep. I think we stopped by the time she was in Kindergarten, because she had learned to read and we’d snuggle and read together before bed.

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77 Cathy September 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Last night I watched the new “Once Upon a Christmas” DVD from the December 2011 Mormon Tabernacle Choir annual celebration. One of the guest artists, Nathan Gunn, sang a beautiful Basque Carol I have never heard before: “Sing Lullaby.” He said he chose it especially because it is not only about Christmas, but also about Easter. It has beautiful words – probably not something you want to sing to your children at bedtime, but a nice addition to favorite Christmas music. If you go online to YouTube (I should have checked this out before I commented here), and type in “Nathan Gunn, Sing Lullaby” you might be able to enjoy it also.

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78 Cathy September 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

PS Nathan Gunn’s version isn’t there, but if you type in “Sing Lullaby” there are several options to hear the words and music. Enjoy.

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79 Janan W September 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I was a lullibier (actual word?) for years. My kids are now 15, 13, 11, 9. And sadly the singing has ended. It just kind of faded away for each of them. They stopped asking for them and I guess I stopped doing it automatically. We’ve had silent nights for almost a year. sad.
As for songs sung…broadway, Les Mis was a favorite! Sound of Music. Popular Ballads. and church songs.

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80 MBMeadows September 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

We still sing to our little ones but they’re still pretty small, 5 & almost 2. We sing a medley of church songs + You Are My Sunshine. We do tell various versions of Goldilocks upon request as well. I love it. Such a loving, special time with our little ones.

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81 bdaiss September 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I had to sing Hush Little Baby (Sylvia Long version) to my son overandoverandoverandover when he was 6 months until about 2. It was the only thing that would calm him down sometimes. With my daughter, I sing You are My Sunshine most of the time. My son is 5 and would rather have long stories than songs, but every once in awhile he requests the lullaby song. My daughter is only 2, so we have a bit longer there. : )

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82 Mrs. LIAYF September 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

My son’s lullaby was “Twinkle, Twinkle,” including the second verse “when the traveler in the dark, thanks you for your tiny spark . . .” I sang it to him every night.

One night when he was 2 years old, I left his room after the lullaby and went downstairs to finish up for the night. My husband and soon heard over the baby monitor his sweet chirrupy little voice singing the song to himself, line by line. I about melted!! He’s 5 now and he still loves the song!!

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83 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

Oh! That just melts my heart.

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84 Kyran September 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Each of my boys had a special lullaby. The Mockingbird Song for my firstborn. Twinkle, Twinkle for my Littlest Who. For my middle son, it was the lullaby my own parents sang to me. A few years ago, I got curious about where it came from, and discovered it’s a well known French lullaby, Fais Do Do. Maybe you’ve heard it. There’s a lovely version of it by Lisa Loeb here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY2j9PmGjXs

The words my parents sang were English and very simple: Go to sleep, my little one darling, go to sleep, my little one love. Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Go to sleep, my little one darling. Go to sleep, my little one love.

I hope to pass it on to grandbabies someday. :-)

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85 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 12:59 am

I haven’t heard of Fais Do Do, but I love the idea of singing a French lullaby to little June who has spent most of her babyhood here. Thanks for the link!

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86 Darci September 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I didnt know any lullabies, still don’t. When my kids, now 7 and 4, we’re weeks old I sang the ABCs, twinkle twinkle little star and a figured out how to spell their full names to the tune of ABCs- sense a theme here ;) they learned how to spell their names this way and my 4 yr old will still ask me to sing her name song.
My first daughter was collicky, the other song I had for her was one I made up, sung kind of quickly while I tried to swing,rock,dance- what ever I could do to get her to sleep
“Evan imarhia
Yes, you are my baby
Love you very very much
But you drive me crazy”

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87 Sarah September 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I love the French hymn Souviens-Toi, and I hope to sing it to my little babes one day. It’s a beautiful melody, the lyrics speak directly to the child, and the concept of the parent asking the child to remember heaven and describe it to them is beautiful.

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88 Amanda September 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I’m expecting my first baby in late January. I already have a list of lullabies to sing to him:

You Are My Sunshine (Johnny Cash)
Songbird (Fleetwood Mac)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
Hush-a-Bye (Peter, Paul, and Mary)
Early Morning Rain (Peter, Paul, and Mary)
Baby Mine (Alison Krauss)

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89 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

Coming up with a list of lullabies is such a great way to prepare for baby. You can add as many songs to the list as you like!

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90 Design Mom September 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

Oh. Wouldn’t that be a fun theme for a baby shower? The guests can share their favorite lullabies…

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91 Amanda September 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

That is a great idea!

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92 K Feeney September 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Sleep Baby Moses, Sleep
At the Door of Heaven (the angels are sleeping)
Follow the Gleam
Tell Me Why
Down in the Valley
The Water is Wide
Summertime, and then the ones my mom sang to me:
Toora Loora Loora (it’s an Irish lullabye) & My Old Kentucky Home. Every child should be sung to be his or her parents as much as possible. (Note, your children do not care whether you can carry a tune, which is a relief since I LOVE singing.)

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93 Lori September 18, 2012 at 6:04 am

Each child has had their own bedtime song since they were born.

Emma – MLK (U2)
Ben – Baby Mine (from Dumbo, Alison Krauss sings my favorite version)
Josh – Slumber My Darling (found on a Yoyo Ma CD, also sung by AK)
Lydia – The One Who Knows (Dar Williams)
Afton – Sweet Afton (Nickel Creek version)

The only ones who we regularly sing to are our youngest two girls as well…but the older kids still request to be sung to now and then. :)

I don’t have a good singing voice, but I’ve always thought it would be nice to record myself singing each of their songs for a keepsake.

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94 Sally Cage September 18, 2012 at 7:17 am

Ooh I LOVE this topic!

I am not a mama yet, but my mother sang to me for years and years (and still does often when I see her; she is a singer).

Two songs in particular that she sang very often for me were:

James Taylor & Carole King – You’ve Got a Friend
James Taylor – The Water Is Wide

And I love, love love lots of beautiful old folks songs, especially Barbara Allen.

Can’t wait to have my own sweet babes to sing to! Thanks for the lovely post xx

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95 Cheree September 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

Every night we sing “Goodnight” by Laurie Berkner – snip-it of the lyrics are “I’m a little frog and my daddy loves me… I’m a little frog and my mommy loves me… and when they tuck me in to say goodnight, they say ‘ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, goodnight.’” Then we finish up with “Jesus Loves Me.” I will be sad when we no longer sing to our little one before bed.

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96 Sally Cage September 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

Ooh also, there are two gorgeous others…a beautiful song from Tanzania called ‘Malaika’ (angel), and a divine Australian Aboriginal lullaby called Inanay, found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xGWMFBfKi8

xxx

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97 MM September 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

What a sweet post. My husband (French) usually sings the darling “J’ai descendu dans mon jardin” (the “Gentil Coquelicot” song) and also the heartbreaking “Les Feuilles Mortes” (Autumn Leaves) that makes me teary every time I hear it. I usually make up a short and funny little song per kid on the fly.

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98 Meghan O'C September 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

I sing a combination of a lot of the ones already mentioned (Baby Beluga, You Are My Sunshine, etc.). My husband sings “Don’t worry ’bout a thing” by Bob Marley to both of our kids. There is something about him singing that song in a low, hushed voice that makes me feel at peace, even when it is accompanied by a crying baby.

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99 hyzen September 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

I have a few less traditional ones, since my main criteria for picking lullabies when my kids were really little was finding a soft and slow, pretty song that could pass as a lullaby, and that I already knew most of the words to (I did not learn or remember a lot of lullabies from when I was a kid, so, faced with a baby who needed immediate soothing, I defaulted to what I knew). So, some of our first go-to lullabies were Danny’s Song and House at Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins, Iowa by Dar Williams, and Blackbird and Hey Jude by the Beatles. Our most common traditional lullabies are All the Pretty Horses, Hush Little Baby (the mockingbird song), and Lullaby and Goodnight (Brahms’s Lullaby).

My kids (4 and almost 2) seem to go with phases with lullabies–sometimes they want or even demand them, other times they aren’t interested. My daughter went through a phase when she was 2 where she would only go to sleep happily if my husband played the guitar for her. Very sweet and awesome, except he’d sometimes have to work nights for weeks at a time, and nothing I could do would satisfy her at all in his absence.

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100 UK lass in US September 18, 2012 at 9:38 am

I used to sing Taps to my two:

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.

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101 Design Mom September 19, 2012 at 2:23 am

Taps is so beautiful. What a perfect lullaby.

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102 Sally September 18, 2012 at 9:58 am

Edelweiss is our fave. I notice that when I sing it to the littlest one, kids come out of the woodwork and stand by her door for a listen. They sometimes join in, too, and ask for it at their bedtimes.

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103 Kim September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

I sing whatever they ask me to right now. My 8 year old doesn’t typically ask me to sing to him anymore. That has changed in the last 6 months. My girls want me to sing whatever Primary song they are learning at the moment or Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
I sing a variety of songs to my baby – primary songs, lullabyes that I know he loves (Hourglass by Mindy Gledhill) and other songs that I love – Smile, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Rainbow Connection….

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104 TracieMcOB September 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

I love the questions you ask of your readers – It always brings back such wonderful memories! I sung to both of my boys, and like you, I don’t when I stopped. (Though even now, at 21, my oldest son asks me “to tuck him in” rarely, but still…) When he was little, he would touch a finger to my lips and say “sing me”. Even writing this, it makes me tear up! I sang Mocking Bird to him and “Lullaby and Goodnight to my younger one. sigh – I do miss those days :) Thank you for giving me that moment

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105 Miranda September 18, 2012 at 11:34 am

I started off singing James Taylor, because it was what I knew all of the words to! One of his songs, Close Your Eyes, is Milo’s lullaby. He calls it “the morning song” which makes me smile, and requests it as the last lullaby every night. I’d like to have a different lullaby for Eliot to connect to, but so far haven’t learned one…so the morning song may be it for everyone!

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106 Design Mom September 19, 2012 at 2:24 am

James Taylor songs seem to be the most popular lullabies mentioned!

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107 LeeAnne September 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm

The only song I remember my mom singing–and teaching me to sing–is “White Coral Bells.” I’ve never asked her where it came from, but doing some Googling just now, I’ll bet she got it from camp. She was a Campfire Girl (similar to Girl Scouts). It’s a lovely song, and I’ll definitely sing it to my future children.

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108 Anna September 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm

My mama sang “Cotton Fields,” a Leadbelly song, to me and now I sing it to my sons. I also rock them in the rocking chair she used to rock me and my siblings in.

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109 NellaBean September 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Our lullaby story is very sweet and precious to me. I learned a little song in church when I was a teenager. Years later I was looking through my fiancé’s Grandmother’s scrapbook and discovered that she was the author of the little song I loved (I’m from a different state as well as a very different church than she – it was such a starry surprise). Now I sing it to our boys – to hear their little voices repeat the words of their Great-Grandma (and continue to request it) is a highlight of our bedtime routine.

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110 Design Mom September 19, 2012 at 2:25 am

Wow! That really is a starry surprise. I love stories like that.

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111 Mrs. LIAYF September 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm

@Lori – I LOVE Sweet Afton by Nickle Creek!! I am definitely adding it to my lullabye list.

I also love “Out of the Woods” by Nickle Creek. My husband and I suffered through 4 years of infertility before we became pregnant with our little Lukas. The day after Lukas was born, we were moved to a private room at our hospital’s birthing center and my husband went to forage in the cafeteria for food for the new nursing mom. :) I turned on Nickle Creek and danced my first dance with my baby boy to “Out of the Woods” by Nickle Creek. It is one of my happiest memories . . .

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112 Heidi September 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm

There was an old woman tossed up in a basket, seventeen times as high as the moon. And where she was going I couldn’t but ask it, for in her hand, she carried a broom. Old woman, old woman, old woman said I, oh whither, oh wither, oh wither so high? To sweep the cobwebs off the sky. May I go with you? Aye by and by.

The most beautiful lullaby every written.

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113 Design Mom September 19, 2012 at 2:26 am

I’ve never heard that one, Heidi. I love the image of sweeping cobwebs from the sky. Does it have a name?

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114 Angela Noelle September 19, 2012 at 1:10 am

Even though we are in New Zealand, my eldest daughter preferred Edelweiss for a long time. “Hush, Little Baby,” was another favourite. I’ve noticed my 3.5-year-old already opts to listen to an audio book over being sung to.

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115 Mills September 19, 2012 at 2:14 am

Lullabies, what a wonderful post, Gabrielle. Singing them is such a pure expression of love. It’s so touching to read what everyone is singing to their little ones. We’re a twinkle, twinkle little star family. But some nights, I sing the chorus in Danny’s song by Kenny Loggins. It’s a favorite of mine.

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116 Sarah September 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

My kids are getting older too, but a multi generation family favorite goes like this:

“Little birdie in the tree, in the tree, in the tree,
little birdie in the tree sing a song for (child’s name)
Sing aobut the flowers on the garden wall, sing about the birdies in the tree top tall, little birdie in the tree in the tree in the tree, sing a song for (childs name)

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117 Holly September 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

That’s our song too! When my son was born three years ago, I started singing to him as he fell asleep from the time he was brand new. I didn’t even really think about what I was singing, I just began to sing Tender Shepherd. It is what my mother sang to us every night growing up and must have been deeply programmed into me. We also sing Silent Night a LOT. It started during the holidays and just continued as my son kept requesting it. Luckily it is my favorite Christmas song, so I don’t mind hearing it – and singing it – year-round!

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118 Sarah W September 20, 2012 at 1:13 am

Every night we sing my daughter two little songs that I made up when she was a baby. The words are really simple and the tunes are somethng I’m sure I’ve heard before but I can’t remember where. We also often sing our variation of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW7N64zsrs0. We do the names of people in our family instead of just the letter names, and then we do a theme each night, like big words (where we do the biggest words we can think of), or things around the house. Star Wars, stinky smells, and other funny ones have also made their way into the rotation. Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children are often sung, as well as regular ABC’s, or the Super Why version of ABC’s.

My mom always sang Brahms lullaby to me growing up and I also love singing that to my daughter. My Dad wrote a song for me before I was born, and I was delighted to find that it fits for my daughter as well so I love to sing that to her. Finally, for her second birthday I wrote her a song of her own and I love to sing that to her. I find I can hardly sing these last two songs without tearing up because they are so special to me. Music is powerful and emotional and I’m so glad I have these songs to share with my daughter.

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119 Anna Kitchens-Culp October 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I sing my daughter a classic Finnish lullaby (“Nukkumatti” [The Sandman]) that my mother sang to me and her mother sang to her. We also have a “family version” that differs from the one printed in songbooks. After two-and-a-half years of singing it every night, I can’t imagine not singing it. I can’t remember how old I was when my mother stopped singing to me… when I sing it, I can still hear my mother’s voice and picture the way I imagined the blue car going to the sleepy blue land with the blue tree looked. I have been thinking, lately, that I’d like to record me singing it to my daughter, since it is a precious family heirloom, otherwise intangible.

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120 kim January 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Gabby, you have inspired me to keep this tradition alive! We have four kids 7 and under, and all too often we rush through bedtime because we are tiiiiired. But before too long they will be “too old” for lullabies, and our hearts will long for those simple sweet times. Thank you for sharing!

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121 kim January 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Oh and I can’t help but add one more comment….don’t you think, deep down, all children (even adult ones!?) love to be sung to!? What a comforting ritual that stays with them always.

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122 Rebecca January 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I have sung the song “Edelweis” from “The Sound of Music” to all three of my girls. Naturally, it started with my first daughter, but I changed the words to personalize it for her and to set to music how much I adore and cherish her:

“Willa-bean, nice and clean,
you are my pretty baby.
You’re so sweet, tiny feet ,
I can’t believe you’re my baby.
I love you more than you’ll ever know,
ever know my baby.
Willa-bean, nice and clean,
I am so glad you’re my baby.”

Then, in +/- 2-year increments hence, when Adelaide and Lucia were born, I morphed the words for them too. So each girls gets her own version every night. When they first saw “The Sound of Music”, two of them immediately stopped and looked at me, wide-eyed and said, “Mom, that’s my song!”

I love this song, as did my maternal grandmother, who couldn’t bear to hear it without crying.

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