So You Can’t Sing Lullabies

As much as I’d like to think so, I do not have a great singing voice. I love music, but I can’t carry a tune. Oddly enough I always found women with good singing voices to be quite attractive. So it’s of no surprise to me that my wife sings like an angel. She’s sung professionally on and off throughout her earlier years and I’d like to think that you could have given any Diva pop or R&B star a run for their money. When my son was born, she gently advised me not to sing to him for fear my out-of-tuneness might rub off on him.

An Alternative Contribution

For the most part I have avoided singing to him. Simple, fun songs like “The Wheels on the Bus” are about as far as I get. But when he was just an infant it was clear to me that he responded very well to my wife’s lovely lullabies. Striving to be a responsible father I wanted to contribute to this soothing. My wife, however, made it clear that I should leave the singing to her. After some deep pondering I decided that I could offer him a rhythm and a lyrical lesson that did not involve singing.

So what did I do? I just counted in a slow, steady, and sometimes extra deep voice from one to ten. At first it began as a method to soothe him while I walked him up and down the stairs trying to help him fall asleep. This was great exercise for me, but it wasn’t effective for very long, the stair climbing, that is. Nevertheless, the consistent repetition began to function as an indicator to my son that he was preparing to go to bed. Before long if either of us were carrying him and we counted he would fuss or put his head on our shoulder to indicate disagreement or submission to the imminent nap.

The Triumph of Active Fatherhood over Tone-deafness

Even into his second year my son expects the counting. It became so effective my wife now does it exclusively. Consistency was the key to making it a success, but it started with a good idea for an alternative to singing lullabies. In fact, now when he hears someone counting he actually responds to “one” with a swift “two”. Counting may not be everyones thing, maybe the alphabet, or maybe a spoken favorite rhyme or lyric. If you can sing lullabies you could go with that, but if you don’t want to, or your spouse doesn’t want you to, or you want to try something else then you now have a good alternative that might end up becoming a standard.

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