Nanny needed for one half hour per day

So we’re think­ing about what to do for our babysit­ter-enabled evening this week­end, and we real­ize that what we real­ly want most is to have some­one get our kids ready for bed. The bed­time rou­tine of prod­ding, cajol­ing, and (usu­al­ly) threat­en­ing the kids into their paja­mas is a bru­tal gaunt­let at the end of a long and tir­ing day. Can we hire a nan­ny to just get the kids ready for bed, then we’ll come in and sing or read to them? That would be awe­some.

All the verses of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

As not­ed in anoth­er post, I sing Twin­kle, Twin­kle, Lit­tle Star to my baby boy when I am putting him to sleep. All I know is the first verse (well, and the strange one about a bat up high like a teatray in the sky, but it turns out that’s from Alice in Won­der­land) and singing that one verse over and over gets pret­ty bor­ing, pret­ty quick­ly.

I’ve tried my hand at mak­ing up more vers­es (as have count­less oth­er par­ents, I am sure). I came up with vers­es that get clos­er and clos­er to the ground, going from start to comet, the Sun, a satel­lite, and final­ly a fire­fly. Then I dis­cov­ered from Wikipedia that the orig­i­nal song has five vers­es of its own, and is rather love­ly. Now I am try­ing to mem­o­rize this:

Twin­kle, twin­kle lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a dia­mond in the sky,
Twin­kle, twin­kle lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are.

When the blaz­ing sun is gone,
When he noth­ing shines upon,
Then you show your lit­tle light,
Twin­kle, twin­kle, all the night.
Twin­kle, twin­kle, lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are.

Then the trav­eller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twin­kle so.
Twin­kle, twin­kle, lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my cur­tains peep,
For you nev­er shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
Twin­kle, twin­kle, lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are!

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav­eller in the dark,—
Though I know not what you are,
Twin­kle, twin­kle, lit­tle star.
Twin­kle, twin­kle, lit­tle star,
How I won­der what you are!

Source: Wikipedia on Twin­kle, Twin­kle Lit­tle Star

I sing to my boy, badly, but creatively

With our first child, when I was putting him to sleep, I used to tell him sto­ries. I’d make them up on the spot, with him in my arms, head down on my shoul­der, in a low, monot­o­ne sort of voice. I don’t even remem­ber what they were about (well, there was one, a run­ning sto­ry about a lit­tle prince and his four sis­ters), and some­times I’d talk in Span­ish, just to keep myself awake.

With my sec­ond son, I sing to him. Now, I don’t have a sign­ing voice, but worse, I don’t know any songs. I like a lot of music, but I can’t recite lyrics to save my life. As a result, my boy heard a lot of fron­tier songs in his infan­cy, stuff like Oh, Susan­na, I’ve Been Work­ing on the Rail­road and Home on the Range. As he’s got­ten old­er, I’ve set­tled on a few main­stays, by way of estab­lish­ing a rou­tine, and now I reg­u­lar­ly sing these songs:

  • Rock­abye Baby (you know, the one where the baby falls at the end)
  • Twin­kle Twin­kle Lit­tle Star (in a med­ley with The Alpha­bet Song and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, as they all share the same melody)
  • I’ve Been Work­ing on the Rail­road (it remains a reg­u­lar selec­tion, and is one of the songs old­er boy and I can sing togeth­er)
  • Sil­ly Lul­la­by (from San­dra Boyn­ton’s song­books that come with CDs, so total­ly worth buy­ing)

But now these songs are start­ing to get bor­ing, too. And so, I have begun to look up/make up vers­es to extend the songs. It is sur­pris­ing­ly easy to make up bad vers­es. Luck­i­ly, he’s eigh­teen months old, and does­n’t know the dif­fer­ence. The best song, though, is Sil­ly Lul­la­by, because it is just plain sil­ly, but well struc­tured. The orig­i­nal goes like this (here’s an mp3 clip of Sil­ly Lul­la­by sung by Natasha Richard­son, so you can get the tune, but real­ly you should buy Philadel­phia Chick­ens):

(cho­rus) Go to sleep my zoo­dle, My fib­ble­ty fit­sy foo, Go to sleep sweet noo­dle, It’s time to say achoo. The chick­ens in the bath­tub, The clos­et full of sheep, The sneak­ers in the freez­er, Are all drift­ing off to sleep. (cho­rus) Go to sleep my zoo­dle, My fib­ble­ty fit­sy foo, Go to sleep sweet noo­dle, The owl is whis­per­ing moo.

Adding on to that is actu­al­ly fun, but hard to do on the fly. First you have to come up with new vers­es between the cho­rus, and then you have to come up with new end­ing lines for the cho­rus, and those have to rhyme with “foo.” Luck­i­ly, since it is a self-pro­claimed sil­ly song, it does­n’t have to make sense.

(orig­i­nal cho­rus about sneez­ing) The books out in the gar­den, The dog­gie dressed in red, The ele­phant on the rooftop, Are all going off to bed. (cho­rus, ends with…) Your broth­er is bathing in goo. (orig­i­nal verse about chick­ens) (orig­i­nal cho­rus about owls) The let­tuce in the ham­per, The chairs so busy snor­ing, The bas­ket­ball in the oven, Will have some more fun in the morn­ing. (cho­rus, ends with…) Your Mom­my and Dad­dy love you.

Sniff. So sweet.