I am writing these down mostly for posterity’s sake. When Alyce and Shira are teenagers they ought to be able to roll their eyes at the ridiculous songs they were subjected to as babies and toddlers (and still even as kindergarteners). When they are adults they will be reminded that their Mama loved them so much that she was willing to embarrass herself publicly just so they could have a record of the silly things they enjoyed as children. When they are adults with babies of their own, they will finally thank me for all my hard work, since the work will already have been done for them. I am offering a few parenting cheat-sheets, if you may.
Sometimes I change song lyrics because the originals are cruel and completely lacking in joy. Others are not only joyless, but chock full of child abuse. Rock a baby in a tree? Don’t secure her? Watch the cradle and baby plummet to the ground below? No, thanks, I’ll make up my own words, rhyming or not. This is the case for the first two examples below. I assume you’ll know the melodies.
Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
And down will come baby, and Mama will catch her.
You are my sunshine...
The other night dear, while I was sleeping,
I dreamed I held you in my arms. And when I woke up, you were beside me.
And I gave you lots of hugs and kisses.
Other times I create new lyrics because I just have no idea what the originals are, shy of the first line or two, and I’m forced to improvise at three in the morning. If I’m being honest, I have to admit that if I had needed the lyrics while nursing Shira I would have just looked them up on my iPhone, since I always had it with me while nursing. So let us be thankful that I was forced to be creative when I made this next one up for Alyce, because now I can share this gem with the world.
Hush little baby, don’t say a word.
Mama’s going to show you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s going to show you her diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring won’t shine.
Mama’s going to grow you tomatoes on a vine.
And if those tomatoes on the vine aren’t red,
Mama’s going to build you a brand new bed.
And if that brand new bed’s too big,
Mama’s going to give you three chubby, little pigs.
And if those chubby, little pigs aren’t fat,
Mama’s going to show you three singing cats.
And if those singing cats won’t meow,
Mama’s going give you a dairy cow.
And if that dairy cow won’t milk,
Mama’s going to give you some Chinese silk.
And if that Chinese silk’s not soft,
Mama’s going to build you a Brooklyn loft.
And if that Brooklyn loft’s just right,
Mama’s going to hug and kiss you goodnight.