The Power of Lullabies

There are a number of things you can do to make a child cry. Steal their toys, perhaps. Give them a wallop around the head. Leave them in the snow.

But, if I ever want to make my eldest son (Isaac, 4) cry, all I need to do is sing. (I should hastily add that I don’t ever want to make him cry, it’s just sometimes needs must.)

‘But it must be your awful, tone-deaf singing voice!’ I hear you cry, grasping the germ of a joke in your brain and thinking you’re completely original for saying it. Well no, actually, it’s nothing to do with my singing voice, which in reality sounds angelic, like the voices of Susan Boyle, Ronan Keating and Chipmunk have throoned on a plush fur carpet in front of a roaring log fire.

It’s lullabies and sad songs he doesn’t like. He sobs at ‘Rock a Bye Baby’. He wails at ‘Little Man You’re Crying’. He even cries at the ‘Goodnight Veggies’ song from CBeebies’ Mr Bloom’s Nursery, which, after the rowdy trumpets a few seconds before, means he switches from euphoria to crippling sadness in the space of a moment.

Why he does it is beyond me. It’s a little bit girly to be honest. But now and again I find it useful, like I have some kind of superpower: not quite as impressive as flying or invisibility, but useful nonetheless. He’s getting a bit loud and screamy? I sing something, softly softly, until he twigs, starts crying, and eventually calms down. Wait a minute, what’s he doing? Reaching for the remote when the footy’s on?

Goodnight veggies…sleep tight veggies…

Wails, cries, job done. I may have a quivering wreck at my feet, but at least I can see United score.

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3 responses to “The Power of Lullabies

  1. What a spectacular power! The same works for my son. He doesn’t cry when I sing, but he’ll just stare at me in silence like, “What does she think she’s doing?” It’s a very nice tactic to get some peace and quiet….for seven seconds. -__-

  2. I have sang Old MacDonald to Brooke since she was born and she has recognised it and laughed her socks off whenever I’ve sang it since she was about 3 months old. My husband is continually mocking me for singing it and always groaning “shut up singing that bastard song”. Anyway, in recent days, Brooke has been poorly and teething so EVERYTHING has been a battle. But imagine my surprise when he started joining in… “With a moo moo here and a moo moo there…!” Accompanied by some actual animal sounds. I kid you not. His sheep impression was a massive hit. We could stop singing Old MacDonald and he could just do his “baaaaaa” and she’d crack up!

    So I can completely agree that desperate times call for desperate measures, oh yes!

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