Singing my children to sleep….

It’s a routine we’ve been in for over a decade now, me singing my children to sleep. From when they were wee ones to now, when my oldest is 11, they enjoy listening to me sing and it helps them easily drift off to dreamland.
What’s curious, however, is what they most like me to sing: The Beatles. Maybe it’s because I’m a boomer myself and so I am quite familiar with all their lyrics, but I also think that I have the same tonal range as Paul McCartney, so the songs are easy for me to sing.
I mix it up a bit with Elvis, James Taylor and even Jim Croce, but given a choice, we seem to migrate back to Lennon and McCartney.
And the song they most prefer?

In a way that’s now rather poignant, their favorite song is When I’m Sixty-Four. When I sing it I am always struck by the irony of my helping the children go to sleep by singing about how I hope to be in a relationship with someone who will “need me and feed me” when I’m 64.
Don’t remember the lyrics? It starts out:
When I get older,
losing my hair,
many years from now.
Will you still be
sending me a valentine,
birthday greeting
bottle of wine?
if I stayed out
’til quarter to three,
would you lock the door?
In context of going through an amicable, yet still painful divorce, this is not my choice of best nighttime lullaby. Maybe James Taylors’ Shower the People (“Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel…”), or if I have to stick with The Beatles, Yellow Submarine (“And our friends are all on board, many more of them live next door…”)
Other Beatles songs the kids like include Penny Lane (“In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs…”), Blackbird (“Blackbird singing in the dead of night…”) and Ob-la-di Ob-la-da (“Desmond has a barrow in the marketplace, Molly is a singer in the band…”).
Special mention for our old favorites too: When you wish upon a star (all three kids like that one) and two more for K-, 4yo: Twinkle, twinkle little star and This old man came rolling home (“This old man, he played one, he played knick-knack on my thumb…”)
Do you sing your children to sleep? What songs do they particularly enjoy??

9 comments on “Singing my children to sleep….

  1. My boys all time favorite is “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. I’ve been singing a lot of Mo Town lately though, and my youngest really loves that. The oldest has sensory issues and too much singing is a disturbing thing for him (ah, the irony of all ironies for a woman who has always soothed herself by singing). Little boy loves “Joy to the World” and “Heard it through the grapevine” right now. Another odd favorite is the theme song from Fat Albert. 🙂

  2. The first song that really worked.. out of desperation with a screaming infant.. was Gilligan’s Island! .. and at 5years.. it still works… that.. and My Bonnie Lies over the ocean… my 2yo often asks for Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer.. wife can’t remember any lyrics to any song (something I can’t fathom).. but she heard my gilligan.. so she managed to butcher The Brady Bunch.. poor kids.

  3. I do the same thing with my 5 month old 🙂
    I actually went to a local band who did a night of Beatles covers here in Asheville last Friday and 1/3 of the audience were under 15. At the end of the show, the band had all the kids come up on stage and did “Hey Jude”… i was balling! I could only imagine my little girl knowing all the words by heart when she’s old enough to sing along.
    Great post-

  4. True, and we also branch out a little bit to include songs from their solo careers – “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison, “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney (they especially like the “I-Love-You” chorus) and “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon (I’ve since changed “boy” to “kids”, but I still have a hard time completing it w/out getting choked up).
    I also branch out a bit and use other artists – some From Bob Marley’s “Legend” album (“One Love”, & “No Woman, No Cry”). Some nights we just have “Dance Night” when we put on one of the music channels from Comcast & dance ’til we can’t dance no mo’! 🙂

  5. I didn’t inherit Mum’s singing voice – matter of fact when I sing along with the radio it shuts itself off.
    Rent the musical ‘Across the Universe’ – good Beatles cover. Not for the kiddos though.

  6. My kids’ favorites are Kumbaya, Brahm’s lullaby (Guten Abend…), Two Little Boys, Grandfather’s clock, and Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Quite a different selection from the more “modern” (?) songs everyone listed above. Maybe this is because my kids are still kindergarten age (and younger). The last three are songs that my dad sang for me!

  7. I have to give parents credit that sing to your kids. What a great skill to have! I will stick to reading. 🙂
    Mark Salinas, MN

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