Bedtime Songs

8:47PM. My 5 yo is not asleep yet. Or rather, she’s woken herself enough to realize that I’m standing by the door to her room and that she hasn’t heard me sing her song yet.

I sang their songs out of order tonight. Usually I sing the sillier one first, to get it out of the way. It’s “Hush Little Baby”. I’ve come up with an inordinate number of rhymes. In my version, Papa buys them coats of wool, bright red Chevys, shiny pots, puffy clouds… you get the idea. After that I go for “the closer”, a slow lullaby that usually puts them right asleep, and if not, awfully close. Tonight for whatever reason I sang the slow one first, and now the silly one hasn’t settled them down.

“I didn’t hear you sing my song yet!” she wails. Close to tears, my youngest daughter tells me that I can’t go, she didn’t hear me singing, and I have to stay. I weigh my options. If I go now, she won’t fall asleep, upset as she is. If I stay, am I being weak, giving in, a soft touch? Will I be easy pickings when she’s seventeen and wants to take the car for the weekend?

I decide to stay. Kneeling by her bed, I sing my silly song, quietly, sotto voce. She’s asleep before I reach the end. It must be one of the sweetest moments as a parent, sitting beside your child as they sleep. The time will come soon enough, when they won’t want me to sing lullabies to them, or read bedtime stories, or have anything to do with them at all.

Soon enough. For now, I still get to be Daddy.

“Hush little baby, don’t you cry… Mommy loves you, and so do I.”

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