Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Lullaby Gone Wrong



I've always enjoyed singing to my kids.



When the Snood was first home from the hospital I would sing John Lennon's classic "Beautiful Boy" to him every night as my husband and I gave him a bath, then again as I laid him in his crib at bedtime.




In case you are not familiar with the song (hi Mom!), it is a lovely lullaby that Lennon wrote for his son Sean. The lyrics feature the famous line, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans," and the chorus that repeats the phrase, 


"Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful / Beautiful Boy."


The song has remained in heavy rotation at our house. I continued to play it for Snood as he grew, and I sang it anew at bath time when we welcomed our second son 19-months later.


In the final line of the song Lennon sings,


"Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful / Beautiful Sean."


Taking a cue from this I began inserting my own kids' names into the lullaby as I sang it.



As it turned out, letting my boys know that a lyric change was an option for my sweet little lullaby was a mistake of epic proportions.

It started out innocuously enough when my flight-obsessed two-year-old stopped me as I sang before bed with a request,

"Buuu-fulll Airplanes!"


I figured what could be the harm in engaging this adorable suggestion? And so I sang, 

"Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful / Beautiful AIRPLANES!"

He smiled brightly, clapped his hands and immediately requested:

"Buuu-full Helicops!"

I sang "Beautiful Helipcopters", "Beautiful Supersonic Jets", "Beautiful Boats", and even "Beautiful Monster Truck Tires".

The real trouble began when my older son overheard the evolution of my beloved song. Immediately he had some requests of his own:

"Beautiful Thomas the Tank Engine!"

"Beautiful Cheeseburgers!"

"Beautiful Mommy!"

So lulled into happiness was I by this last request that I didn't see where this game was so obviously heading.

"Beautiful Poo Poo!"

My horror at this suggestion only fueled my sons' fire. 

"Beautiful Boogers!"

"Beautiful Butt on Your Nose!"

"Beautiful Poop in the Kitchen!"

Control, at its most basic level, had been lost.


As my kids laughed themselves silly I took a moment to acknowledge the end of a favorite nightly ritual.

Later that night I rocked my newly minted baby girl and sang to her softly,

"Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful / Beautiful Girl" 

I figure I've got at least another 18 months left and I'm going to make the most of it.

2 comments:

  1. I used to sing that Land Before Time song to my daughter..."Don't lose your way, with each passing day..." and she really liked it for a long time. But sometime in the last couple months, she's decided she's done with it. Okay, so that's a little sad, but what's even worse is that she no longer likes ANY of the songs I used to sing, and actually doesn't want me to sing any I KNOW. So we end up with huge crying bouts at bedtime, because she wants me to sing some song only her mom knows, or that she heard on the radio. Sigh.

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  2. For our DD, Dan sang Goodnight, My Angel (from Billy Joel). I never really had a lullaby for her.

    For DS, Dan sings Snuggle Puppy (from a Sandra Boynton book and musical), and I sing Dona Nobis Pacem. (He cried a lot as a baby, so I figured Give Us Peace was the right sentiment.) At this point (5 yrs old), some nights he requests the song, some nights he says no singing.

    Of course, I'm not allowed to sing, hum, or whistle any of the Star Wars songs that he runs around singing as he plays his games.

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