“A la Nanita Nana” is one of my favorite lullabies. It was originally a Spanish Christmas Carol, but it has become popular as a lullaby in Spain and South America. Can you imagine a Nana singing this to an infant? I used to sing this to change up our lullaby routine when my children were very little and the bedtime routine was much longer. I always found this song very calming. Did you ever feel the need to change from your usual lullaby? Were there songs that go you through comforting a tired and cranky infant in the middle of night? Were there songs that you sang more for yourself than for the baby?
Whether you consider your household very musical or not, you almost certainly have lullaby time, especially when children are very little. Lullabies and the memories of their singing stick with us to adulthood because that time is such a special part of parent-child bonding. Every culture has lullabies and they share many of the same characteristics. If you want to read an interesting article on lullabies, check this one out: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/many-lullabies-murder-ballads/
I remember fondly my mother always singing “Rockabye Baby” to me and “Twinkle Twinkle” to my brother. It never bothered me that my mother is, in her own words, tone-deaf (and while I admit she’s not a very good singer, I don’t know that I’d go that far). As a parent, I found that I chose to give each of my children their own lullaby, although we sing many different songs at bedtime.
Lullabies needn’t have words, and sometimes it’s even more soothing when you hum them. My daughter often asks me to “hmm hmm Rockabye Baby.” My singing songs with words would often keep my son awake, his eyes glued to my face while I was singing, so I found myself using words less and less.
When my children were particularly fussy as infants and singing the same short melody wasn’t working on only chipping away at my own sanity, I’d often sing Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” The melody and its length seemed to calm them, and the prayer uplifting and fortifying for me.
What are your favorite lullabies? Favorite memories of lullabies? Do each of your children have their own lullaby that is especially theirs?