life, music that moves, personal

Musical Monday: Sing

 

Bedtime can be a difficult affair for a kiddo. My daughter is no exception, and so I’ve recently tried to ease the transition from zipping around and playing to sleeping by rocking with her in the dark and singing to her.

It doesn’t sound like an earth shattering fix, every parent is supposed to sing to their child, right? But I realized, she’s at the stage where she is learning to piece words together, say her first sentences, and I believe it’s my job to help her hear positive words in her life. Along with the hymns and traditional songs I learned and loved growing up, I’ve tried to sing happy songs with meaning behind them, that will encourage her and others who listen.

So I chose to sing Sing to her. It was originally written for Sesame Street, but when I sing it, I perform imagination karaoke with the lovely alto tones of Karen Carpenter, half of the brother-sister duo, The Carpenters.

When my girl and I rock together, I sit and sing, moving in time to the beat. Her head nods and often drops to my chest. Then I put her to bed with a kiss and a prayer. It’s a solo show. But yesterday I had one of my greatest pleasures realized: she was playing and singing to herself, as she often does. However, instead of belting Let It Go at the top of her lungs, she turned her head in my direction and said, “Sing, Mama?”

“What do you want to sing, babes?”

“Singasong?”

“You can sing a song.”

“May-a simple, last-awhole-lye-loooong?”

I smiled, she grinned, and kept singing her version of the song, words mixed and mispronounced, and a mess. It was both a proud and sobering moment for me.

She listens to me.

As a youngest child, this isn’t something I’m used to. I’ve never been a role model. And now I am. How exhilarating and terrifying is that? So I’m in search of songs that will continue that positive influence. And I’m doubling up an effort to not let discouraging words escape as I speak, and to not talk badly about myself, which I realize I frequently do, for some reason, in the name of modesty.

I want my daughter to thrive and be confident in what she naturally has to offer to our world. I can’t fully do that unless I remember that I, too, must be confident as well.

I have to sing my song so that she can see how to sing her own.

18 thoughts on “Musical Monday: Sing”

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. We don’t realize how often we are watched, whether its by birthed children or other people. I think the best example of that for me was when I was having lunch with a friend and her young daughter. We were eating pasta, and I was twirling my fettuccine on a fork. I peeked at her, watching me intently as she did her best to copy me. That was a wonderful-life moment for me, and this was one for you. What a beautiful moment, indeed.

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    1. I did that with a couple songs, too! Eh, Grimm’s were supposed to serve as warnings to children about listening to their parents, right? Nothing like pairs of wicked red shoes that will dance you to death. Or was that Andersen? I figured I can try to preserve her childhood for now, since I’ll no doubt scar her in some way later on. 😉

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  2. That was beautiful. I loved your writing and the intimate scene you created. It brought back wonderful memories of those times with my son. More than this, you reminded me of that intense sweetness of watching a little one grow and the daily investment in a child, how that does make for confidence, happiness, and joy in small pleasures, attributes (which once set up) can prevail for a lifetime. I loved your descriptions too.

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  3. I love the song you chose. It is one of my favorites and an easy song for young ones. You hit a chord with me when you said you were the youngest and not used to having someone listen to you or have you as a role model. I had the same feelings when our daughter would sing Sunday School songs with me. It was a real thrill to know she was enjoying what I did for her. Great post and a good voice you have. Yoda would say.

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  4. I love this. Singing is important and enjoyable; why has our culture abandoned this? People used to sing as they worked, to keep cadence or to lift the spirits, without being shy. It’s not a performance, it’s interactive and bonding. That’s how I felt when I sang with my little sons.

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    1. It really is a bonding experience, which is something I never realized until I started doing it. My mom did it with me, and songs I don’t remember knowing have surfaced during our rocking times, but the words are a part of me from my childhood. So glad to know you had that experience, too. Thank you for reading.

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  5. I got so sidetracked by the song–man, I love Karen Carpenter. Did anyone do it better? Such clarity of voice, and she could take the worst cheese and make you love it. What a delightful song to pick for your kiddo. And I have to say…anything that can make a little girl stray from “Let It Go” is MASTERFUL! #parentingwin

    As to the role model stuff…as a teacher, I’m acutely aware of this, but lately all I’ve been able to model is being real, being myself, warts and all. Oh well, I guess it’s at least honest. Glad your awareness of her eyes and attention is helping you monitor your self-deprecatory language. If you can break that habit and model positive self-talk for her, THAT would be a huge gift to her (and to you). Lovely reflection; I enjoyed reading.

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    1. Isn’t her voice the best? And “Let It Go” is still a solid part of our lives, but I get merciful interludes of “Wheels on the Bus” and now “Sing.”

      My goal is to be more authentic, like you. I should have reiterated that the positive words are a major work in process, baby steps that I’m not sure will ever equal full strides. But at least there is some acknowledgment and effort there. Thanks so much for reading.

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  6. Your reflections summoned up some of my own with my littles, who are all adults now. When my oldest can’take sleep, he still listens to Dan Fogelberg. Those were some of my chikdren’a favorite lullabies. Thank you for the happy trigger of mommy memories. You are doing a wonderful job with your daughter.

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  7. I so loved reading this. So well written and filled with tenderness and sensibility and intimacy. And some very important food for thought about our culture. I was always read to but am now delving into my memory – was I ever sung to as a baby? I can’t remember.

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