Parenting is a Made Up Song

Tonight I took a peek in B’s room while Glen was putting her to bed. She was sitting behind him with her little arms wrapped as far around him as she could, rocking him back and forth, back and forth, for all she was worth. She was singing “lullaa-byyyy an good-niiiiight. i loooove you. good sleep daaaaady. naaa-night” She then proceeded to rock and sing a personalized song to both her blankie and her stuffed Pluto.

Most nights we sing a few songs with her before prayers and good-night kiss. Twinkle, Twinkle and Jesus Loves Me are the perennial favourites. For the past month she’s also insisted on the “Lulla-bye Song” which, apparently, requires us to scoop her into our laps and rock her vigorously back and forth. There’s only one small hiccup…

neither of us know the words.

We know the tune and the opening line, but that’s about it. I tried to entice her with other songs, funny songs, sweet songs, songs I know the words to. I even tried the somewhat disturbing Rock-a-Bye Baby where the baby is strapped to a branch in a windstorm and is sent hurtling to the ground – very relaxing.

No dice. It’s the “Lullabye Song” or bust. So we did what parents have been doing since the dawn of time: we faked it.

We make up the words as we go. It’s become an intensely personal experience. I’ve included such phrases as “no more snotty nose” and “I hope your hic-cups get bet-ter”. Mostly we sing that we love her. We serenade her with our hopes for a good sleep and a fun day the next morning. It’s as much a blessing as the prayer that follows.

I’ve often lamented the confusing state of modern parenting. We no longer have the clear standards and uniform expectations that families in centuries past took for granted. Everything is up for debate:

homeschool, private school or public school

babywise or attachment parenting

limited screen time, immersed in technology or Amish

healthy food, vegan food, gluten free, organic or whatever you can scrounge off the floor of the McDonalds play structure…

There’s such a wide range of “good parenting” practices, with each one claiming to be the most successful/psychologically sound/biblical way. Usually there is some value in that particular philosophy. Usually I know at least one family whom I respect that embraces it. Usually I am left feeling confused and overwhelmed.

I don’t know the words to this song. And it kind of freaks me out.

We’re making it up as we go along. The harmonies change from one child to the next, because they are each so different. We find what fits the rhythm of our family and each situation. And most days the melody works.

Parenting is a made up song. It is a one of a kind composition. The tune is familiar, but each family is unique. So why should I worry if mine isn’t exactly like the book or that Stepford family at church? It’s not supposed to be.

So here’s me, a little bit off key most days, but still singing.

About So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

I'm a bookworm, nature lover, kick-boxer, candy fiend, sci fi geek, home body, progressive Christian and part-time student. I love my crazy life and the messy, fun, stubborn, silly, brilliant people who populate it. View all posts by So Here's Us.... life on the raggedy edge.

3 responses to “Parenting is a Made Up Song

  • Margaret

    I love this! I do not have kids, but I am very involved in my niece and nephew. I’m not sure if it is an original thought, or something she heard somewhere, but she said a brilliantly simple thing. “You have to parent the child you have, rather than the one you thought you were going to have.” She has gone against some of the things she thought were “absolutes” before she gave birth. I truly wish people (in life and not just parenting) could be supportive of differences rather than try to convince others that their way is the only way.

  • Nine Years Old | So Here's Us...

    […] percentile on the Down Syndrome version. But each night when you climb into my lap and we sing our made-just-for-you-that-moment lullaby, you are all lanky arms and legs. When you dance with arms akimbo, they seem to stretch so far and […]

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