When my oldest daughter was a baby, we tried all the things to see what worked to calm her down and get her to fall asleep. Some of them to our own detriment. Though video clips on YouTube calm them down, they are the toddler equivilent of crack. We seriously had to ween her off of Simple Songs vidoes. And God help us if she wanted to watch….*looks over both shoulders to make sure no kids are watching*…baby shark, or the trash that is Cocomelon. If you think all little kid videos are the same, you are sorely mistaken. Simple Songs is to Cocomelon like Oreo is to Hydrox.
Anyway, we tried a few different things but for now at least we’ve found something for each kid that works. The key is music. Perhaps it is a holdover from her various past routines, or maybe she just has a broader musical taste, but my oldest daugher works a variety of music into her bedtime routine. She has a radio in her room, which she will listen to until she falls alseep, or we’ll play her a preselected mix of songs – mostly from Disney movies, some 80’s and 90’s pop. She really likes Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” and Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love.” So far her musical taste is pretty good, and I consider it part of my parental duty to keep her unaware of K-Pop until she’s 32.
My younger two however, appear to be much more set in their musical ways.
My Baby Loves 90’s Country Music
Part of the experince of bonding with a new baby is figuring out what they like, and it turns out me and my baby boy are bonding over a shared appreciation of country music made between 1992 and 1997. It started with him being very whiney and needy while teething. He needed be to soothed completely to sleep and my wife wasn’t having any luck. One of her great joys in life is to have a baby fall asleep on her, but this litte guy doesn’t go for that. He needs to move. He has litterly fallen asleep in his jumper. So I picked him up, walked him around the living room, and sung him the first mellow song that came to my head – the Garth Brooks version of “Night Rider’s Lament” Of course.
Little bugger was out like a light.
It worked then and it has worked over the last month or so, every damn time. He could be beside himself in tears when I pick him up, and sound asleep before I get to the second verse of “Texas Tornado.” Generally I find the more meloncholy the song, the better it works. Sing that little guy a song about a girl that done somebody wrong and he won’t make a peep for the next twelve hours. At first I though if these songs are the right kind of impression I want to give. Should sad bastard drinking songs be absorbed by a spongy little baby brain? Then I sung him “Rockabye Baby” once and realized how terrible that is, and decided that a song about rodeo cowboy whose woman leaves him for another man is way better than a song about a baby plummeting to their death.
I have tried other calm sad music too, but he really does prefer country. Much to my disappointment, Phil Collins only seemed to get him more upset. Under normal circumstances that would be a deal breaker on our friendship, but he’s my son so I guess I’ll let it slide….for now.
“The Rainbow Connection” Is the Ultimate Lullaby
In stark contrast to my oldest daughter, my two year-old daughter has a much more specific musical taste. And not just one genre like the boy, but only one song – “The Rainbow Connection.”
I am in no way exaggerating when I say that she had demanded this song every single night for the last month. Though she hasn’t picked up on the fact that the name of the song is repeated several times, so she calls it “Da-de-da-do.” Apparently the last five seconds of a three minute song are the ones that really resonate. I mean, it works for “Stairway to Heaven” right? Know a couple of words at the begining and couple at the end and you’re all set.
The only thing she has changed, is that she now asks for a back rub while I sing it. If that last sentence doesn’t make it clear, she is something of a princess. She asks for it every night, and it works every night. A few days ago she didn’t specifically ask for it and I thought I’d see what happens if we didn’t do it. About a half hour after I tucked her in, she came out of her room and reminded me that I need to go back in there and sing it to her while I rub her back. I did. She slept.
The song also extends beyond just her. Twice last week my oldest asked me to rock her and sing her a song, which she hasn’t done in at least six months, and do you know what song she asked for? The Rainbow Connection. Though, she couldn’t come up with the name either, but at least she was closer asking for “Songs About Rainbows.” I am tempted to try on the baby boy, but I fear it won’t work as nobody in the songs drinks themself to death. What can I say, he likes what he likes.
I’m not here to give advice, but if you’ve got a kid that has a hard time settling down for bed I suggest you try something by a sad cowboy or a whimsical muppet. I mean, what else do you really need in life anyway?