Raising Richmond: Lullaby mix

I’ve been singing to JR ever since he was a tiny, shrimp-like creature snuggled up in my belly. To give you a glimpse into our daily life, I thought I’d share some of our favorites here. Hopefully you’ll share some of your go-to songs, too.

I’m not much of a singer. You’d think coming from a family where the majority of its members are paid actual dollars to sing in public, I’d be upset by this. But I’m not. I’m perfectly happy to let my dad and siblings have at it while I sit quietly in the audience and listen.

It’s not that I have a particularly bad voice (although I’ve never ventured to find out if it’s particularly good either). The issue is this: the thought of singing in front of other people makes me want to run for the hills. And then throw up. And then die a whimpering death.

I won’t sing in front of my husband. I won’t sing in front of my friends. I won’t sing audibly in church if there aren’t a lot of people there to drown me out. I even roll up the windows in my car if I’m singing along with the radio.

But there is one person for whom I will sing: my son JR. He’s three and he thinks I’m the most beautiful singer in the “whole, big, huge world”. At least this what he tells me when I sing to him at bedtime each night.1

I’ve been singing to JR ever since he was a tiny, shrimp-like creature snuggled up in my belly. Most days of my pregnancy I would take long walks and sing the same little ditties over and over again. It was a really, really sweet time for me, especially when he started to kick in response to the songs.

After his birth, most of those songs stayed in our regular rotation, and we added in a few that seemed to help calm him during his squawky days as a newborn. We still sing most of them three years later.

Well, I sing them; he either shouts them in my face or rambles on about Lightning McQueen as I will him to fall asleep. But regardless, they’re kind of our “thing.”

To give you a glimpse into our daily life, I thought I’d share some of our favorites here. Maybe they’ll come in handy the next time you’ve got a little one crooning “But I just need one more song…” as you turn out the light.

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Baby Mine

Yes, the scene below is heart-wrenching (Pixar’s got nothing on those Disney execs of the 1940s), but the song is simple and sweet–and perfect when someone’s feeling a bit blue, too.

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Distant Melody

My sister would have to confirm this, but I think we watched the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan approximately 56,129 times when I was a kid. It wasn’t even a legit version; we taped it off the TV, commercials included. So maybe that makes it even MORE legit? I dunno. But I do know what IS legit: this song. Learn it, love it, live it (or just sing it, whatevs).

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Ice Cream

Wanna blow your kid’s mind? Tell him that he’s better than ice cream AND chocolate.

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Moon River

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my favorite movie, so when I found out this song was successful in getting a days-old JR to chill the eff out, I was stoked.

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Down to the River

I have a thing for traditional Appalachian music (as shown by my tendency to openly blubber when we sing it in church) so I’m always thrilled when JR requests this song. Plus, it’s super mellow and repetitive which helps with the lulling.


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Beautiful Boy

John Lennon’s love song to his younger son will always remind me of this current period in JR’s life–teetering between baby and boy. It’s just…augh it kills me. Incidentally, JR prefers to change the line from “and your daddy’s here” to “and your family’s here” because he’s all about being inclusive. And of course we swap out “Sean” for “JR” because it’d be weird to be singing about some kid we don’t know.

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JR is still a bit young for a viewing of The Sound of Music, so I’m using this song to begin the indoctrination process–even though I was recently devastated by the news that Christopher Plummer did NOT do his own singing in the movie. Captain von Trapp, say it ain’t so!

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Rainbow Connection

A popular choice, I’m sure, but this was the first song JR tried to sing along to (I mean, other than those of the “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” variety). So naturally I can no longer listen to it without thinking of him. And maybe sobbing.

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Found a Peanut

I don’t know either. But it works, so I’m not going to question it.

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I’d love to hear which songs you sing to your wee ones–your favorites and theirs (because I realize they aren’t necessarily the same things). Leave them in the comments!

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  1. Kids. They are sometimes quite good for your self esteem, you know. 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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