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Question of the Week - That's Not a Kids' Song

I've always loved to sing. I was in chorus in high school, and I even made the chambers singers group. I took voice lessons through high school and college. And over the years, I was asked many times if I wanted to be a professional singer. Not only was I honest with myself about not being at that level, but I knew that even if I was good enough (which again, I wasn't) I wouldn't want the life of a professional singer. But when I said no, then people would want to know why I kept up with taking lessons. Aside from the joy of singing learning new songs and techniques, my answer was always that I just want to be able to sing pretty lullabies to my future children.

Now that I am a mother, I do indeed sing my babies to sleep. I spent years singing the Pumpkin to sleep, and occasionally still do. I sing the Pookie to sleep every time I put him to bed or down for a nap. If you think about it, that's a LOT of songs. A LOT of the same songs. Over and over and over again.

I have to admit, I get tired of the same old songs again and again. Don't get me wrong, I love the lullabies and even kids' songs. I sing a lot of Rockabye Baby and Twinkle Twinkle and Frere Jacque. But I've got to stay sane, so I also sing some of my favorite jazz and blues standards and some rock songs too.

I remember reading in Jenny McCarthy's book Baby Laughs that she didn't really know any lullabies or kids songs, so she would sing Brittany Spears (I think it was Baby One More Time). And when The Office had that episode with Jan bringing in her baby and she sang Son of a Preacher Man, I didn't think it was really inappropriate of her to sing that to the newborn. After all, at a certain point you've got to sing what you like or you're going to hate singing.

So this week's Question of the Week is:

What song have you sung/do you sing to your kids that borders on or flat out is inappropriate?

This past summer, right after I weaned, I was craving margaritas. In fact, I was walking my son and bouncing him, trying to get him to sleep for his nap, thinking about a nice, cold margarita with salt on the rim of the glass... and I started singing Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. And wouldn't you know it? The boy calmed down and fell to sleep. He really liked the tune, and I imagine he will become a Parrothead like his daddy was.

And Margaritaville isn't that bad, right? I mean, it's not like it's Let's Get Drunk and Screw!

What about you? Do you sing to your kids? What adult songs to you sing, knowing they don't understand the words? What do you sing or listen to to keep you sane at bedtime?


-goofydaddy said…
we have rockabye baby! versions of Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Radiohead.

Aria loves it when I sing any of those songs along with the music. I try to stay away from NIN, cause then I'm just mumbling instead of singing the words. her favorite is "today" by smashing pumpkins. not too bad, aside from the burning my eyes out, or tearing my heart out or turning you on parts. ;-)

again mumbling now cause she'll repeat the lyrics.

Emmett, the only song we've ever had to sing is "This is the Day" and I only sing it now cause it's part of my routine to put him to bed. he loves to sleep!
Becoming Mommy said…
I remember during Sasha's 3 yr Campaign Against Sleep I couldn't for the life of me remember a Lullaby. So I started with Silent Night, because it seemed appropriate to a little kid and "lullabyness". I then moved on to The Butcher Boy. Which is not at all appropriate. Then Weelia Weelia Wallia. Then The Tinker Song. Then several other Irish songs that are about drinking, dying, and general bad behaviour. I think it's because they were a staple growing up so in severe sleep deprivation they popped up.
SarcastiCarrie said…
I sang Metallica's "Enter Sandman" to the kids at bedtime. If you don't sing it in a scary voice, it's not inappropriate. Also, Bon Jovi's "Born to Be My Baby (and baby I was made to be your mom)". They also always liked "We Will Rock You" sleep.

And there is a Friends episode where Rachel sings "Baby Got Back" to Emma.
Cloud said…
We were in a restaurant in Wichita when "They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab" came on. Pumpkin latched on and loves that song. Sings along. Loudly. Asks for the Rehab Lady.

It is my payback for the times I'd burst out in Arlo Gutherie's "Lightning Bar Blues" while grocery shopping with my mom. I apparently really liked the line about Ripple Wine.
Melba said…
Nothing inappropriate really. But I do find that I sing a lot of Christmas carols. They're easy to sing, I know the words, and there are lots of them. Sure I cycle the more traditional lullabies in there too. But mostly its Christmas carols!

My absolute favorite lullaby that I've sang over and over to both my children the most is "Baby Mine" which is from the Disney movie Dumbo. It's from that heart wrenching scene where baby Dumbo goes to visit his mama in the slammer, and she lowers her trunk through the bars and rocks him while he cries big elephant tears because he misses her so much... (gawd I'm tearing up just thinking about it - he's just a BABY and they TOOK AWAY HIS MAMA).
Jac said…
Singing is definitely a part of the bedtime routine at chez Jac.

My song repetoire is fairly limited to show tunes so I guess the most inappropriate song that the boy loves me to sing at night is "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Yes, the one Mary Magdalene (reformed lady-of-the-night) sings with the line "I've loved so many men, in so many ways..."
Lisa F. said…
I sang him a couple from O Brother Where Art Thou, "Down to the River to Pray" which was fine, and the song the Sirens sing, "Didn't Leave Nobody but the baby" but changed a few of the lyrics! also "Molly Malone" for our Irish heritage! (Becoming Mommy, I laughed out loud at your comment!)
Jac said…
@Melba - Baby Mine is our favorite too! I love that song.
paola said…
Similar to Cloud, I was in a shop a while back when Lily Allen's ' you very very much' came on. Being such a catchy tune, it wasn't long before my (then) 3.5 year and I were singing along with the song. She the chaste version, ''Thank' you very very much', I, the original (although sotto voce).

With Noah at a time where I was seriously depressed, I remember rocking him singing Lucinda Williams' 'Joy' (....don't want you anymore 'cos you took my joy'). Honestly I don't think that was even conscious! I think it was simply a Lucinda Williams phase as 'Can't let go' was part of the repertoire too.
Zenmoo said…
Umm, when Moo started walking we sang 'what shall we do with a drunken sailor' quite a bit... Recently when I was casting about for a pre-nap song I came up with the NZ national anthem 'God Defend New Zealand'. It's actually quite a nice, slow song - and I've watched enough rugby to know it in both Maori and English.

Then I had to sing the Australian anthem - just to be balanced y'know.
hush said…
DS loves Lady Gaga, so I have been known to bust out "Pokerface" and "Bad Romance" a time or two. And even watch her videos on YT... the one with Alexander Skarsgard ("Paparazzi") is v. nice eye candy for mama. I'll be honest, the usual kids' music drives me insane, so we stick to the radio, so that's what the kids know.
MommyEm said…
What I have learned about about myself, which I kind of knew, but parenting brought it into full focus: I cannot remember song lyrics. I also misunderstand music lyrics, and usually can't remember which verse comes first or second. The songs that I can remember from beginning to end are the basic lullabies, Lavendar Blue, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, some Girl Scout songs, and Home on the Range.

I was also a singer in my past life, and I can't believe how my memory for music has diminished. Ahhh...aging...isn't it fun?

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